The global pandemic has been detrimental to people all over the globe in many different aspects and smaller businesses especially have taken quite a hit. If you have followed our own story on Instagram or through some of our blogs, you’ll be aware of the communities who work with us who have needed support in this time and are doing their best by their communities in whatever way they can from setting up funds to creating masks of their own to sell and take care of the livelihood of their workers.
It’s been a tough time for us all and today we wanted to talk about how supporting smaller businesses or shopping local (as you may have heard) is not only beneficial for the businesses themselves but for us all. This short quote from Nicole Snow encompasses how we view the effect small can do:
“A small business is an amazing way to serve and leave an impact on the world you live in.”
We have always strongly believed that no matter how small the action, big change can come out of it and the way we support each other definitely counts.
Our community spirit
In our experience, we have loved nothing more than engaging and collaborating with our local communities. When it comes to our values, being active with them is how we keep giving back and building up the places we live in and are intrinsically connected to.
So far we have been honoured to work with Bagru Textiles, a block printing community in Jaipur; WomenWeave, a weaving community in Maheshwar; and Pins and Needles, an NGO located in our home base Delhi. All three work hard to support the communities they are surrounded by, and the latter two especially dedicate their efforts in supporting underprivileged women, providing them with the means of taking care of themselves and their families through various projects. Other than these we also actively work with Herbal Fab and BOHECO who provide us with sustainable fabrics all produced within India, and Truetone Ink that herbally dye our fabrics.
(Seen here: WomenWeave on the left & Bagru Textiles on the right)
Through these partnerships, we’re able to be more sustainable than we could ever be by ourselves while also cultivating businesses in India that encourage more like them to grow and prosper that is beneficial to us, our country’s economy and our environment.
Why supporting small is sustainable
Being human, we’re social creatures and oftentimes our communities become our extended family, and we want nothing more than what’s best for the people we care about. Overcoming and prospering is easier when we do it hand in hand and so supporting small businesses can be a big part of helping our communities flourishing, it also helps that doing so is beneficial in many ways like these...
Good for the economy…
- Small businesses provide jobs, and being closely connected to those in their towns means they are more willing to create jobs as well. Often, they are also created for those in their community who are in need and may be shunned by bigger corporations who hire on strict terms and requirements.
- Small businesses keep money in the community. When citizens buy from a small business, their money goes to pay for a local employee, who goes on to spend his or her money locally too. It’s a chain reaction that serves the entire community - you can read more about the multiplier effect that goes in more depth.
Good for the people...
- Small businesses are often invested in their communities. They seek to do better by the people they provide to and care always innovating on how to do more that is beneficial for their villages/towns/cities.
- In saying that, small businesses are also more likely to support nonprofits that affect their communities and are motivated to give their time and resources in benefitting them. After all, this is their neighborhood and they would want to see it flourish.
Good for the environment…
- Customer service is more personalized, hands-on and noteworthy from smaller businesses, this means they often look to make sure your particular needs are met and that you are left satisfied with what you get in the end. What does this ultimately mean? You’re going get exactly what you need and will then most likely use/keep your product for longer i.e. less waste!
- Speaking of less waste, smaller businesses also operate ‘smaller’. As they would be sourcing from local manufacturers as well as producing on a smaller scale, they will inevitably use less energy/electricity and leave a much smaller carbon footprint than their conglomerate counterparts.
- Smaller businesses often reflect and amplify the culture of the community. Take us for example, India is rich in textile history and our array of crafts are unique and easily accessible by us so why wouldn’t we incorporate traditions like handweaving and herbal dying to create our garments? The crafts are what make our culture unique as well as uses less mechanical forms of method that use a ton of energy. We stay true to our identity while being environmentally responsible.
Now that you know just what investing locally means, let’s move on to how to put that in positive action.
How to be a conscious consumer
Being a conscious consumer is all about knowing what you are buying and making sure you are investing in things or services that align with your green values. And if you don’t know where to look or how to go about your local business exploration, here are a few tips that will be handy in getting you started on your journey!
- Start by being active in your community and check out what’s nearby, this can be done simply by walking around our neighbourhood. You may stumble across a little store you never had any idea existed!
- Opt to shop at small, locally-owned grocery stores that sell goods that are from nearby manufacturers or producers.
- If your locality is known for something, whether that may be a particular craft, good, cuisine, or activity, take that extra step in supporting it. This way you are helping the longevity of that thing stay alive for more people to experience and nurturing a special part of your unique community culture.
- Volunteer/donate to your local charities and NGOs that look to help those who are in need directly within your vicinity, whether that be to support underprivileged people, endangered animals, or threatened environments.
- Encourage others to invest locally! Tell your neighbors, friends and family about your discoveries and, when asked for suggestions, recommend brands and establishments that are right around the corner (so to speak).
All in all, we ask that you be aware of the wealth of small businesses that surround you that, without your knowing, do a great deal for your community.
Who you can support
As our team is based in India and Mahima is in Singapore, we have our own recommendations on who you can support and get started on your slow, local experience.
- WomenWeave - our artisan partner and a handweaving community.
- Pins and Needles - NGO that creates hand embroidery.
- Bagru Textiles - our artisan partner and a hand block printing community.
- Bare Necessities - a sustainable, zero waste personal care and lifestyle brand.
- Shuffling Suitcases and IKKIVI - both are platforms that champion and showcase multiple sustainable fashion brands within the region.
- The Aurora Creatives and Toss the Coin - both are media marketing business dedicated to lending their services to other small brands.
- Olio Stories and Real State Jewellery- sustainable accessory brands that hand-makes all its pieces, both with their own unique stories.
- The Bloomerie - in their words: "Terrariums, Succulents & Indoor Plants. Our handmade eco-systems bring the serendipity of an outdoor garden into your home."
- Dhora - a sustainable accessories brand.
- SUSS - a sustainable fashion community and platform.
- Himêya - a sustainable bedding and bath brand.
- Mason and Co. Chocolate - an organic chocolate brand, all made and produced in India.
- Zerrin - a resource platform to discover sustainable fashion and beauty that also hosts an online store of those products.
- Baliza - a sustainable resort-wear clothing brand.
- left-handesign - a sustainable stationary and lifestyle brand.
- Shop bttr - a shopping platform that brings together an array of sustainable brands.
- The Green Collective - a platform that brings together conscious communities and businesses.
- Muta Wear - a sustainable accessories brand who make "upcycled wearable art".
- Bamboo Straw Girl - a sustainable lifestyle brand.
- Lost Guides - a travel guide brand that is "Empowering people to have authentic and inspiring travel experiences".
On that note, we would love it if you would take the time to really get to know what’s right in your community. Businesses like these gain enormously from your support whether that be investing in their products/services or talking about them with friends or online. Share the green love as we always say and we can build a better, more conscious community!