Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Why I Support Local

Why I Support Local Business

Last week I introduced you to my new series "I Support Local". If you missed it, you can read all about it here: I Support Local: Introduction.

I wanted someone very special for the first interview...so I chose me. I thought it would be a great opportunity for you to read a little more about me and why I feel that supporting local business is so important.

Who are you?
I'm a full-time Mum of one beautiful, though somewhat energetic, three-year old. When I'm not rescuing toys from the toilet, I write quilt patterns. In a previous life I was employed in various roles in IT from development to help desk to project management. My experience with delivering training and writing manuals obviously rubbed off on me and has come in very handy for my pattern writing. Lucky for me, the topics I now write about are a little more exciting than in the past.

What is your business?
My actual business, where I make the big bucks (or at least little bucks...one day...hopefully) is with pattern writing. Sometimes I write for myself with my own designs, other times I will write for someone else. It all depends on which opportunity comes knocking at my door. Eventually I'd like to write for more businesses and expand my repertoire to include delivering quilting classes for beginners.

Why do you think supporting local business is important?
Like most people, I think supporting local business is important for employment, the economy, tourism and whatever else is usually added to the list.

Personally though, I just love seeing unique and interesting stores when I'm out and about (or online). Shopping has become a rather depressing experience lately, as small specialty stores are closing down to make way for the big names. I remember when "going into town" was a big deal as it had all the fancy stores that your local area, with it's pokey little everybody-knows-your-name shops didn't have. Now? Suburb, town, visiting a new city...it doesn't matter. They're all the same. Sure, you can always find what you need, but where's the fun? Where's the uniqueness that makes one town stand out from the rest? 

This may not seem like a very important issue, but to me it is. It's the difference between having life and actually living. It's the pink shirt in a sea of beige. I don't want to wear what everyone else is wearing. I don't want to read what everyone else is reading. I want to walk into that corner store with the faded sign and weird smell and know that I'll be greeted with a warm smile and a genuine interest in the reason for my visit. A part of our world is fading away and I would dearly love to see it shine once more.

Do you have any suggestions on how we can support local business more?
I think the number one thing you can do to support local business, aside from simply buying all their stock every week, is to tell people. Yup, simply talk about it. Know of a great fabric store? Tell the Facebook group you're a member of. Friends talking about nothing to do on the weekend? Let's all go to the local markets. Someone complaining about postage from an overseas site? Well, just stop right there buckaroo, You can buy all you need from thisfabulousstore.com.AU. Someone needs a quilt pattern written? Tell them about this fantastic blogger/pattern writer tha... *ahem*...sorry...got a bit carried away there.

The point is, you don't have to be a paying customer to show your support. Word of mouth does wonders for small business. Whether they're suppliers, producers, designers, writers, it doesn't matter. They need your to help to be seen.

On that note I leave you with one very simple task. Promote an Australian business. Buy from them, like their Facebook page, share a link, do whatever you want, but take that one step to keeping our country unique for more than it's crazy looking native animals and killer spiders.

8 comments:

  1. Good thoughts :) I find that so many of our local Australian shops are 'silent'. No social media, no chit chat and therefore they get missed in the great offers and discussions from overseas. Fat quarter shop does it well. So does southern fabric. And some of the smaller etsy stores are great too. But our people seem to not be active for example on Instagram. As a web developer for my day job, I wish I could help all these stores get more vocal in telling people about their great ranges and offers! Maybe we should pick one of our local struggling stores and brain storm some ideas for them to 'get out there' more?

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    1. Instagram is definitely a bit of a black hole with Australian fabric businesses. There are a few are doing great things on Facebook though. The Oz Material Girls is one that comes to mind.

      I'm hoping to put the spotlight on quite a few local businesses, or all different types, through this ongoing series. Both big and small. I'm also planning on doing a few activities like a survey to determine why customers really do choose overseas before local.

      I'm hoping to expand this beyond static blog posts eventually to include advertising and other sponsorship opportunities for Australian businesses as appropriate.

      If you have some great ideas about how businesses can improve interaction then perhaps you'd like to think about a guest blog post or something similar? Feel free to email me (I think you may have already) with more ideas : )
      Rachael.

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  2. Great reasons to shop local!
    Another reason I'd like to add is that buying even inexpensive items locally promotes confidence and motivates the local retailer to keep going! Knowing that their community cares can have a great impact on small businesses.
    Every little bit counts.

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    1. How very true. It's amazing how one tiny act can really change someone's belief in themselves. That's why I think it's so important to not just focus on buying products, but also helping promote through likes, sharing and other word of mouth activities. It's such a simple thing to do and has an enormous impact on the person on the other end.

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  3. Supporting local is a great idea. We have fantastic local designers across the vast amounts of crafts there are out there. We have great shops (most that are hidden gems that people don't know about) I know sometimes it can be cheaper to shop overseas but think of the industry you'll be supporting if you just kept your craft dollar here. If we keep our craft dollars here it will encourage businesses and help them thrive.

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    1. I would love to see people getting as excited about local designers as they do about international ones. You're spot on. There are so many hidden gems here, in all avenues of craft. I can't wait to see them in the spotlight a little more : )

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  4. This is a great post that makes some great points. I'm going to take your advise and do more to spread the word. Belles makes a good point, that many local and small businesses have no or minimal online presence, which makes it hard to keep up,with them and to spread the word. There is a lovely quilt shop in Tamworth, but when I tried to find their address for a re-visit, there was literally no mention of them in Google search after Google search. The shop had just moved premises, and it took me several visits to Tamworth to track them down.

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    1. So true. I am in a pretty small town here and have had some very interesting looks when I've dared ask if they had an email address or website hahaha. Of course, some businesses are quite happy (and successful) without an online presence...but in this day and age it must be becoming harder and harder for them. Belves suggestion of finding a way to help get them out there is spot on.

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