I am sharing lots of good reasons, all of which will make you question where you choose to spend your money.
There are literally thousands of independently owned online shops in the UK. Selling everything you can imagine.
We should all shop with these wonderful shops when we shop online, it is so important for so many reasons. These reasons apply to all independent shops, those online and those on your local high street.
Independent online shops are being run all over the UK. From big cities to small villages. Garden sheds to small warehouses. Every sale goes into their local economy and the UK economy. So important. So much better than lining the pockets of the already rich or even worse the money going out of the UK. That really scares me.
In turn these small businesses employ locally, use other local small businesses, spend money in their area and will shop online looking for other small businesses to buy from. So many wins for the economy.
You spend money with a big shop or marketplace and in most cases, a majority of what you spend goes out of the UK.
A lot of small independents in your local high street support their incomes with online sales. If it wasn’t for these sales they would either be struggling, or worse still, not there. My local town has lots of little independent shops, the ones that are flourishing are the ones that also have an online shop. Selling their products all over the UK and often all over the world. The money they bring into the high street is so needed.
Poppy Treffry have 2 high street shops. They employ lots of local people who either work from home or from the Poppy Treffry HQ in lovely Cornwall. This independent shops contributes so much to their local high street and economy, it is wonderful.
Independent shops begin from a knowledge of what they sell. Often they start because the founder wanted to buy something for their own use, could not find what they wanted, so they decide there is a gap in the market and open a shop. They already have the knowledge and as they grow their shop they get to know more and more about what they sell. This expert knowledge is priceless.
Every single independent shop owner I have spoken to (I have spoken to a lot!) love their shop and love what they sell. They began from a desire to create their dream and it is the passion for this that drives them to create an amazing small business. What an amazing feeling to be supporting someones dream when they are so passionate about it.
The big marketplaces and massive multi national shops online may have started from a passion. However, I suspect that passion for what they sell has long gone and has since been taken over by sales and how much profit can they generate. Small shops keep an eye on the sales but it is the love for what they do that drives them.
I love supporting a dream.
Quite often the small shop owner does everything in their store. Maybe with the support of a small happy team. Every sale and interaction with an independent shop means a lot to them. They really do a happy dance.
As a customer I feel I am appreciated so much more when I shop with the independent shops than when I shop with Amazon (or any other big name). I really cannot imagine anyone doing a happy dance when I give them my money.
Small shops go out of their way to make sure the customer is happy. There are lots of benefits to shopping with the big names (they can afford a slicker website maybe or can afford to give you shipping for free or faster shipping) but they are not putting in the same level of care as the small shop keeper does when they pack your box or create your order.
Small notes, tissue paper, a thank you, care instructions, etc. All these things can make shopping with small shops so much more pleasurable. I love receiving their deliveries, Amazon has just been literally thrown in!!
The lovely Sarah from Saloukee not only designs her ranges of jewellery, she also makes them and packs them, does all the website and back office stuff and always is so appreciative of every order she creates. Her parcels are the best ever. Gorgeous packaging, little written note and sent with care.
When I ran an online shop (I loved it by the way!) I read every order, name, where they were from. I created every personalised product. I carefully packed every order and loved sending the happy parcel on it’s way. I answered every email, every phone call. I wrote every Facebook update and shared every tweet. I replied to everything and remembered every sale. When there were problems (I am human and I did rely on the Post Office to do their bit!) I was so apologetic and rectified everything personally. So much so I got to know my customers and visitors to my lovely store.
A customer is a person to an independent shop and not an order number. Give them a ring they love to speak to you.
You can’t get much more personable than a shop that sells personalised gifts and keepsakes. The wonderful Julia of Designs on Cushions makes brilliant personalised linen cushions. She also creates school cushions which she sews from a patchwork of materials taken from old school uniform. What a fabulous idea.
Unique, quirky, special, individual. Whatever term you use, every independent shop (online or on the high street) has a unique appeal about it.
The big boys try to emanate this but they just can’t. Quirkiness is what independent shops are all about. They have personality and I love personality, it makes life interesting.
There is no one more quirky than Two Little Boys. I love their products. So many brilliant words on stationery, pin badges, prints and bags. So many great memory books, keepsakes and childrens activity books. Sarah the founder and amazingly creative brains behind this brilliant shop keeps coming up with more and more perfect products. Definitely unique.
The big online store and marketplaces decide what products you see, they are controlling so much of what we buy. They are killing choice and they are not allowing the creativity to flourish. I for one no longer want them to control me and I certainly do not want to affect the creativity of the country.
Now imagine this. You need some new gardening gloves. You go online to one of the big market places and order a pair cheap from China. Or not so cheap but from a UK big wholesaler and they get to you quicker. They arrive, great I have my gloves. OK, not as good as you thought but no worries they will do. You can always go to the hassle of getting another pair when they wear. Are you happy?
Now imagine you go online to a small gardening shop online. They have some really good gloves, not as cheap but sound perfect for what you need. You buy them. They arrive all lovely wrapped like care has been taken. They last a long time, they are exactly what you need, life is good. 🙂
So you feel good that you supported an independent. You feel good because you got a really good product, exactly what you needed.
At the end of the day and independent shop is a real person, a family business, a couple of friends, a mum, a full time worker running an online shop to build a new life and get out of the rat race (do people still call it that these days?), or just out of uni not able to get a job and decides to use their creative talent in a way that builds them a happy life.
They do a happy dance when you order from them. They work hard on getting your order out to you and ensuring you are pleased. They spend money in their own area, their own country. They employ local people who love their job. They love that you are their customer. They love what they do and strive every day to make their small shop as good as it can possibly be.
Cordelia’s House of Treasures is a fabulous shop run by Cordelia and her husband. Cordelia has the best eye for homeware, gifts and accessories, and selects from the best British designs. Shopping with Cordelia’s House of Treasures not only enhances their lives but also those of lots of other British small businesses. Brilliant 🙂
I don’t do it 100%, but every day I always look to shop independent first.
I don’t want to line the pockets of someone who already owns more than I could ever dream of (and not sure I even want!). I don’t want to support a company who never pay taxes in my country and whose profits disappear off to another country. Who treat their staff not as I would want to be treated (at best) or treat them appallingly. Buy products unethically, sell so much stuff they environment cannot cope.
I began Love Our Shops UK because I want to shop independent more. I like shopping at independents but I find it really difficult to find them online. Google always brings up pages of big shops and very rarely an independent shop.
So I began to build up a list of all the independent shops I found and started to share them on my blog. I then created a shopping directory and I am just starting to share them there.
I hope I am succeeding.
Please be aware. All opinions in this blog post are mine. At the time of writing all shops mentioned are members of my shopping directory. None of these shops have paid me to be in this blog post. Though I mention lots of shops here, you must form your own opinion as to whether the shop and their products are for you.