“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”—Margaret Mead
In my previous post I introduced the concept of Conscious Consumerism, a nifty slogan that characterises a specific desire to shop more responsibly.
So, who is your average Conscious Consumer? Generally, they’re a socially aware person who endeavours to shop responsibly by choosing products from marketplaces they believe demonstrate positive practices. They consider the social, political and environmental consequences of their consumption with a view to effecting social change. This can be reflected in their decision to boycott or ‘buycott’ certain brands because of alleged unethical practices. They will avoid single use plastics, certain types of packaging and may reduce their consumption of meat and dairy products in an attempt to combat climate change.
I think we can all agree that, to some degree, most of us fall into the category of Conscious Consumer. However, the extent of our dedication to responsible shopping will strongly depend on time and budget. Not everyone has the luxury of sourcing and buying high quality, high cost products.
But when we get deep, down and dirty into the nitty gritty of consumerism isn’t the answer simply to get organised and buy less? Make fewer but more meaningful purchases instead of blindly throwing mountains of the fated cheap tat into our baskets two days before Christmas? For more inspiration check out the #giftsthatmatter campaign.
And don’t get me started on Black Friday! It’s certainly not one of the better ideas that we’ve adopted from our American cousins! It’s supposed to be a season of goodwill to all men, so no one wants to see grown adults engaged in fisticuffs over a discounted TV!
Campaigns and companies that encourage conscious-consumerism and support small businesses:
- ‘Just A Card’ is a wonderful campaign initiated by designer Sarah Hamilton, that encourages shoppers to support their local businesses, even if it means buying ‘just a card’. Check out their website here: www.justacard.org. This week is ‘Just a Card - Indie Week’, with special emphasis on supporting local and online marketplaces. Follow @justacard on Instagram, or search the hashtags #justacard and #indieweek to discover tonnes of incredible designers, makers and small business owners.
- The 7th December is ‘Small Business Saturday’ (30th November in the US) and the perfect time to pick up Christmas bits from small businesses on your high street or from independent online marketplaces like Not On The High Street, Etsy, Folksy, (and all the rest!). The gift (ha!) of these marketplaces is that the lucky recipient will receive a thoughtful, unique item they won’t see replicated in chain stores up and down the country.
- #campaignshopindependent is the brainchild of the fabulous Holly Tucker MBE, founder of Notonthehighstreet.com and Holly & Co. She’s turned her shop Holly & Co into campaign headquarters and is currently travelling around the country with her placards, visiting independent towns and campaigning for everyone to shop with their independents this Christmas and to vote with their hard-earned money.
- Notonthehighstreet or NOTHS as it’s affectionately called, showcases the best artisanal products and has helped hundreds of individual sellers make their mark. It particularly champions thoughtful gifts with an emphasis on cherishing family memories, celebrating personal landmarks, and personalisation. And yep you guessed it, Wit and Wisdom is on NOTHS too.
Remember, if you want to make a difference and ditch Amazon (or at least reduce your purchases!), give yourself plenty of time to order from independent retailers: they’re smaller operations and will need notice to craft and dispatch your order.
Not all of us have the luxury of a big budget this time of year but there are still actions you can take to support our wonderful independent marketplaces. Every little helps, just a simple like or share on social media to spread the good word can make a huge difference to a small business who might not have the money to spend on Facebook ads or influencer marketing. Nevermind the Kardashians of this world, save your social media love for your local businesses!
We’re going to be sharing some of our favourite small businesses on social media over the festive period so be sure to follow @WitandWisdomUK on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and enjoy the (sleigh) ride!
I hope this was helpful and offers food for thought at this hectic, ‘spendy’ time of year.
As ever, your thoughts and advice are warmly welcomed!