Did you know that there is a whole month dedicated to independent businesses just like ours? July marks independent retailer month, a campaign that runs annually throughout July to highlight the important role smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve, the local economy they contribute to, and in the retail sector as a whole. We think buying from small, local and independent businesses is truly just magical! Here at Artisans & Adventurers we pour love and care into each and every product you find on our shop shelves and we like to think that's obvious to you, our customers, when you pay us a visit or make a purchase. It's true what they say, "when you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance!" So to mark Independent Retailer Month, we wanted to tell you a little bit more about this amazing campaign and how you can get involved.
Independent Retailer Month was born from the collaboration of two very different individuals who share a common desire to celebrate independent retailers around the globe. In 2003 Tom Shay, principal of Profits Plus, created a holiday, ‘National Independent Retailer Week‘, to show retailers how they could create celebrations for their communities, industries and own businesses. In 2009 Kerry Bannigan, Co-Founder of Nolcha, launched ‘Independent Retail Week’, a week-long, city-wide, shopping extravaganza in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Jersey advancing the business of independent fashion retailers. This initiative worked with over 400 retailers. In 2011 the two began talks as they wanted to be inclusive of everyone that had some form of recognition for independent retailing. July 2011 Independent Retailer Month USA was born highlighting the important role local merchant’s play in the community, economy and overall retail sector. In the same year, retail expert Clare Rayner began Independent Retailer Month in the UK. She is founder of 'Support for Independent Retail' which is a wonderful source of support, advice, ideas and inspiration to help independent retailers and consumer facing businesses to get, and stay, open for business. She is passionate about the future of our local high streets, town centres and villages and the impact that shopping small has on local business-people and economies.
So, what are the benefits to shopping with independent retailers? The value our local, independent traders add to our communities and our local economies has been proven. Stats show that for every £1 spent with a local, independent business, between 50p-70p circulates back into that local economy, rather than landing into the pockets of large corporations who don't often have communities best interests at heart. Not only that, but, since 1990, big businesses eliminated around 4 million jobs, while small businesses added at least 8 million jobs, providing opportunities within local communities. It is also noteworthy that local retailers reinvest 130 percent more of their revenues than large-scale chain retailers and 676 percent more of their revenues than Amazon. They also return 46.9% of all revenue to the local economy while major chains recirculate only 13.6% of revenue within local markets. So, it's easy to see the positive impact shopping small will have on your local economy, thus positively impacting the people you live and work with. Buying from local, independent businesses be they shops, cafes, salons, restaurants, market traders or anything else means we each are doing our bit to keep our local high street, town or village centre open for business. It is genuinely a case of 'use it or lose it'.
Not only does buying from small businesses have a powerful, positive effect on the local economy, oftentimes you will find you get a better product than if you were to shop at a chain retailer. As an independent business, we are responsible for making every little choice when it comes to the products we sell; that means we are able to ensure everything is produced ethically and to high standards. More often than not, smaller businesses are much more conscious of their environmental impact, and because most of us do not work with large-scale factories, we produce far fewer emissions and have a much greener footprint than chain retailers. Buying from small retailers also means you are more likely to be able to trace a products journey and know where it came from, how it was made and how the people who made it are being treated. Transparency when it comes to sourcing and production is usually much more common in small businesses, whereas it can be nearly impossible to find out how and where products from large-scale retailers were made. We also think the magic of finding a unique product is something truly special. Whether you are shopping for yourself or for a gift, buying from a small retailer nearly always guarantees you will find something that is truly special and unique. Many independent businesses sell handmade, one-off, vintage or otherwise special pieces that you just won't find anywhere else. We know our customers thoroughly enjoy hunting through our collection of Kenyan Baskets, trying to find the one that is just right! And when they do find it, they will also find the name of the woman who made it attached inside, a personal touch that we know means a lot to our customers, and makes everything we sell that extra bit special.
Here's how can you support your local independent businesses and get involved with Independent Retailer Month;
- Visit local businesses
We think the best way to discover new independent's you'll love it simply to have a wander around your town or high street, pop in, have a chat! As small businesses, we love to talk to you about what we do, so don't be afraid to have a browse and ask us questions. Another great way to discover independent retailers is through social media, local business directories or by asking other local businesses you already know.
- Share small businesses you love with friends and family
Small businesses usually don't have big budgets for advertising, which means we rely on word of mouth recommendations. If you love a local independent retailer, be sure to share them with your friends and family! To do so you could share the businesses you love on social media, like and engage with the posts they make or write them a fabulous review. Buying and giving vouchers as gifts is also a great way to help spread the love, as it means new customers will discover us too.
- Make the swap to small where possible
Maybe there's a local bakery you've always wanted to try out, or you're all out of cleaning products and a new zero waste shop has opened nearby, or maybe you're simply shopping for a birthday present. Whatever the occasion, try and shift your shopping habits a little and spend more time looking into the independent retailers that are local to you instead of opting for the usual big retailers.
We want to thank each and every one of our customers who have chosen to shop independent by shopping with us. We think you are all fantastic and the change you have made by choosing an independent business over a chain is very real and very humbling. As a small business, we care immensely about everything we do, everyone we work with and the impact we are having on local communities all over the world. So thank you for helping us make the world a more unique, colourful and ethical place! Who are some of your favourite independent businesses? Please be sure to let us know. Happy Independent Retailer Month, and happy shopping!