Welcome to a new month, lovely readers! Last week, we focused on how shopping small can create a tremendous impact for communities and eco-friendly practices. Today, I wanted to take this concept one step further and talk about the local, but also the global impact, that we stimulate when we choose to make the switch to shopping small. It’s a new month, so what better time than now to set intentions and make a change!
Every action has a reaction. So, when we actively shop locally, we actively help to stimulate our local economy. On a societal level, this does wonders for the people that share the same hometown as us. It creates an opportunity for jobs that might not have been present or accessible in the past. With the major changes that the global pandemic has presented, small businesses have been able to flourish in ways that we have never seen before, as people pivot towards smaller and more ethical business-making. This allows people like me, to be freelance workers for small businesses and do what we love- from a non-traditional career approach.
With the economic hit that transpired during the pandemic, many small businesses have increasingly prioritized fair wages within their own workers- but also for those who craft their products. At Mimosa Goods, the price of our product is correlated with the wages of those who make them. According to an article from The Guardian, “Many leading brands endorse a code of conduct that includes living wages and sign a commitment to ensure their suppliers meet the basic needs of employees, but when research shows workers struggling to make ends meet, brands often blame the complexity of living wages. In reality, there is nothing complex about the fact that workers struggle to afford decent food, housing, and healthcare”. We believe in paying all workers a fair, living wage. Creating the sustainable and hand-made products that sit on the shelves of our shop, is the livelihood of the local makers that we collaborate with, and they are in full control of their own earnings at the shop. They set the retail price we charge, and our job is to share the skill and craftmanship they've developed with you. When we purchase products from larger companies, we do our due diligence to ensure check that these companies have labor and fair trade practices.
When we support fair wages for people from all across the nation, not just locally, we are stimulating work opportunities for respective communities and are uplifting their financial well-being. This allows for community growth. So, that small town you live in can now have a couple of local shops, instead of being engorged by a massive warehouse. It also shows encouragement for hobbies and finding a passion, not just a career that pays the bills. I can say from my personal experience, that freelance writing and content creation has been so fulfilling. It allows for people like me, who don’t live in a metropolitan area, to be connected to the media industry- where most of those jobs would exclusively reside.
Besides fostering local careers, shopping locally is also more than just a positive for communities, it’s also a sustainable practice that is more “green” than shopping from the majority of retailers. What does shopping “green” mean, exactly? Well, it all chalks up to being an environmentally-conscious shopper, which can be achieved through buying products that are zero/limited waste, energy-conscious, or protective of natural resources.
The Green Business Bureau writes, “Our members have shown that green business practices improve operational efficiency, reduce operational costs, elevate their brand, improve their reputation, retain employees, attract customers and drive sales.” So, why not go green? It’s not only fantastic for the environment, but it’s also the ideal business practice, especially for those who are small/locally based. When you support a business, like Mimosa Goods, that takes into account “green” practices through limited packaging, reduced transportation methods, and more- you’re going to be helping our planet simply by shopping small.
Mimosa Goods prides itself on being a green business, but we know that you can’t really purchase all your goods from us (maybe one day). So, how can you spot green practices when shopping for food, for example? Well, you can start by BYOB- bringing your own bag. A lot of states are banning single-use plastic bags at grocery stores, which is a step in the right direction towards removing plastic waste from the environment. Why not get a jump start today?
You can also buy organic fruits and veggies, buy in bulk only when necessary to eliminate food waste, and avoid plastic water bottles. Switching to farmer’s markets or local grocers is another awesome way to align yourself with small business practices while going for your weekly food run. The best thing is, you can start these practices right away! Even if you live in a major city, far from actual farms, there are farmer’s markets and organic food offerings everywhere.
Alright, so we’ve discussed a lot about how shopping small can create a domino effect towards fair wages, green living, and even environmentally friendly groceries. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, that’s totally natural. I also felt a bit crazed when I started reducing my carbon footprint and shopping from giant retailers. Remember that you don’t have to make a huge change overnight. Start small, like swapping your plastic water bottle for a reusable one today. Instead of looking for a top for your date night at the mall, check out a local boutique or thrift store. When we buy with intention, we can make the product last. When we shop for longevity, we look for quality that is going to give us that pay-off. Becoming a purposeful shopper all stems from shopping locally and consciously!
With the holidays coming up, don’t forget to check out our “Keeping it Local - Supporting Small Businesses this Holiday Season” blog that could steer you in the right direction when planning to make some green lifestyle changes in the long run. We are entering the season where we can become the most wasteful with gift wrap and cards, so let’s be intentional when shopping for gifts this year. Remember that your impact matters, no matter the size of the contribution!