Handmade and local shopping is something which I have been around forever and a day. My first ‘job’ was serving customers at my mum’s market stall which sold her handmade doorstoppers. This was how I spent most of my childhood Sundays at Berry Markets on the NSW South Coast, Moss Vale in the Highlands and many others.
To this day I still love a good market because you are buying something made with love and supporting someone’s dreams. You get the chance to find things that ‘spark joy’ (to borrow Marie Kondo’s phrase) – and not just nick-nacks but functional things that are beautiful as well as useful. Surely that’s preferable to putting money in the pockets of a faceless suit running a factory? And the money you spend when you shop small and local is generally staying in your community, helping your little part of the planet to tick along.
The surge in popularity of farmers markets makes me smile too – sometimes you might pay a smidgen more although often if you buy what is in peak season you’ll get a bargain! The food you are getting packs more flavour, is fresh and seasonal and usually local and means farmers are getting a good deal for their hard work. You cut down on food miles too so it just gets better and better!
Of course markets aren’t the only way, if you get away from the malls there are lots of quirky and amazing little businesses which I find provide an experience and product way better than the big-box stores. There are ‘mum and pop’ stores, collectives, co-operatives and all sorts of other little gems, it’s just a matter of exploring.
And of course you can bypass the big guys online too – many handmade businesses have an online presence too – check out sites like madeit.com.au to find a treasure trove of handmade goodness!
I definitely am not an advocate for buying things for the sake of it, there’s nothing worse than stuff for stuffs sake BUT ever since I’ve committed to shopping more locally I’ve ended up finding things I love and treasure. Shopping minus the guilt and minus the need to toss things away and replace them because they weren’t exactly what you wanted is a win win I reckon!