So I’m going to have a little rant here sorry guys! This has all come about after hearing about the 100th person tell me they have either done all their Christmas shopping online or done all of it in a large department store who shall not be named. It suddenly got to me earlier today when I realised I didn’t have a single day off before Christmas and was working so hard in my little independent boutique to keep our head above water, pay our bills and basically stay open in an unstable retail environment. Now should be the time of year with crowds on the streets, people walking around with arms full of bags, Christmas music pumping from every shop and the tills ringing. Things aren’t horrendous for us by any means but being in the fashion business and retail generally it’s a tough old slog at the moment and it seems the great British public on the whole would rather buy their gifts all under one roof or all from one website (who shall also not be named but are in my bad books as all of a sudden have started selling fashion as well as books/DVD’s etc!).
I’m urging you to please think about small businesses this Christmas- those independents on your local high streets, or artisan companies, or those that go to farmers markets/fetes and even small businesses online. Why you say? Well just think about a huge High Street name, the one with an enormous marketing budget that creates a Christmas advert every year that inevitably makes you well up and get all nostalgic, not naming names but you know who I mean! Imagine going in there and doing all of your Christmas shopping under one roof- how much would you spend £100- £600 or even more? It will be busy (really busy!), parking will be awful and it will inevitably be a stressful experience. Now your money will make little difference to their profit at the end of the day, if you decide not to buy that £300 stereo oh well someone else in the queue will. Now think about spending that money on your local high street- how much of a difference a £300 sale would make to an independent business like mine (Coco Marie Boutique) or those local to you. It would pay their staff for the day, or their rates for the week. The staff would talk to you, spend time with you, gift wrap (free of charge!) for you, put things aside so you could make up your mind and help you choose individual gifts for your loved ones.
Information I have taken from the Independent Retailer Month website says: “The results of research about the value of £1 spent locally were compelling, sufficient to convince most people that when they shop locally they are genuinely having a positive impact on their community! For every £1 spent locally around 50p – 70p of that money recirculates back into the local economy. For the same £1 spent out of town or online only 5p trickles back to the local community. When people appreciate the impact that their choice of where to spend can have we believe that more people will make more effort to spend more with local independent businesses”
Please think about putting at least some of your Christmas budget back into your local community by supporting small local businesses as it makes a huge difference to them. It would be churlish of me to say don’t spend anything with the chains and I’d be lying if I said I never bought from them. However owning a family run small business and knowing the story behind those along Old Amersham’s High Street has made me realise there are faces to every Independent business. There are stories as to why they were set up and to speak to the owners and see their passion for what they do is truly inspiring. I know I for one would much rather get one to one service, a friendly smile, presents that are unusual and unique and know that I was helping out a fellow Independent this Christmas than queue for an out of town retail business and fight with the crowds. Shopping independent doesn’t mean paying more, (at Coco Marie we price match for our customers) but it does mean putting money back into your local community, keeping High Street trade alive and potentially making someone’s day with that big purchase of yours this Christmas!!!
OK rant over 😉
ps. a huge thank you to Lola Hoad Design for this fabulous artwork she produced free of charge (if you use it at all please name her in your Facebook post/blog/Instagram etc so she gets credit for all of her hard work)