I try to shop local, I really do. This is mostly because I used to work at a local, independent store in Los Angeles a few years ago that despite being around since the 1990’s, had to sadly close.
Working in retail comes with its own set of challenges, some of which I wrote about here. I think anyone in retail will tell you that sometimes, the customers are the worst part of the job (sorry, customers! I understand, I am one sometimes!). But I loved the store. The idea behind the store was like a real-life Etsy. It was divided into different sections/booths. Each section had its own vendor/artist. Each vendor/artist rented their own section and sold their work. Work like jewelry, clothing, housewares, art — that kind of thing. All artists/vendors were LA local. Sometimes they would come into the store. We would have street fairs.
When I bought something from that store (and most of my paycheck went right into the store), I knew EXACTLY where it was going. I knew it was going to the artist, and that made me happy. One of my all-time favorite purchases was a heavy sterling silver skull ring I named Keanu. It SO was NOT my style AT ALL, but for whatever reason, I had to have it. And I was happy to buy it knowing where exactly my money was going.
LA is freaking huge, and it’s getting harder and harder to find those supercool Portlandia-type independent stores and restaurants. Unless you live in the supercool area of Silver Lake/Los Feliz that I do. Before I moved here, I would make so much fun of this neighborhood. But now, living here, I love it. I can walk almost everywhere. That’s a crazy talent in LA. To be able to WALK to get to places. And I’ve discovered so many wonderful essential stores, all owned independently, all part of the local community (the essentials being clothing, records, and liquor. But I’m sure you figured that out).
So I urge you to shop local. Sometimes I shop at the farmer’s markets — I’m lucky enough to have 2 within walking distance. I realize not everyone is as fortune, but if you are, dude. You probably see them every week and think, “Oh next week, yeah, I’m totally gonna go. I’m gonna wear my cutest outfit and go to the mother effin’ FARMER’S MARKET and Instagram the HELL out of EVERYTHING!!!” and then the day comes and you don’t go because you’re “busy.” I do that too. But one day, they may not be there.
Do YOU shop local/independent? Why or why not?
How do you make your money matter? You can find out more at MakeYourMoneyMatter.org, which is one of the cooler websites I’ve seen, in terms of many things but especially animation and graphic design. Start local. Join your local credit union. Keep your money in your community. Make your money matter.