The backlash against the throwaway, fast purchase lifestyle has begun! Well, sort of… Realistically, although most of us know that there are several issues with buying clothes which only last a season, we can’t help doing an annual (hushed tones) Primark binge. The same goes for our food shopping; it’s just so much easier to race around Sainsbury’s or do an online order from Tesco than it is to trek around a market or to find independent shops.
Living abroad makes this even trickier, in Saudi Arabia we just don’t have access to a range of small businesses selling handmade or farmed items. So, when I come back to the UK I make an effort to support small companies.
Food-wise this means a bit of planning ahead. No one has time to visit a greengrocer, butcher, baker and an extra store for staples, three times a week. You need to plan meals early in the week which use ingredients that go off quickly (meat and salad) and use more robust items later (root vegetables, nuts and seeds). Independent retailers help with this as they are great with ideas and advice for making things last (or just freeze it). You can also opt for box delivery companies to make this even easier (@riverford @abelandcole). If doing your general food shop like this proves tricky, just support small businesses where you can. While home I have been buying coffee from @welshcoffeeco, beer from @tomosalilford, and Welsh Lady preserves (which is available in supermarkets too).
For fashion, this can be trickier, especially if trying to stay up to date. Look around your local area rather than heading straight to big, known chains. Vintage shops, locally owned fashion stores and boutiques are usually right under your nose (shout out to @pebbleclothing and @king_fox_cf71 if you are in the South Wales area). You might pay a bit more but you end up with items that last longer and fit better. Plus, the shopping experience is great as the staff are always willing to help with second opinions, ordering items in or making suggestions; an inbuilt personal shopper! Supporting smaller businesses doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go without all brand names, just buy from an independent retailer.
Supporting independent businesses can also apply to the beauty market. How many of us impulse buy on-offer mascaras only to have them dry up two weeks later, or just use the moisturiser that was recommended in a mag? I decided to take time for this and make slow, sensible purchases this year. I booked an appointment with a local beautician (@karma_beauty) who took the time to match products with my lifestyle (busy and sunny), my diet (middling healthy) and my skin type (dry and pregnant!). Again, it cost a little more than the high street but receiving that personal care from someone who is invested in what they do, makes all the difference.
Look around you, search online, find small businesses who want your support! There are independent options for everything from hair salons to restaurants, brewers to jewellery makers. Give them a shout out on the ‘gram and not only will you be showing your support but also adding to your own independent style and setting new trends. #supportsmallbusiness
Words By: Lydia Morgan
The UK's first Career & Lifestyle Magazine for women in the Creative and Media industries.