When to Shop Local, When to Source global

It’s a fact that the way our shopping habits have changed has had an impact on the planet. We now ship everything - from food to fashion – across the globe. Whilst this is great for the global economy, isn’t always so great for the environment.

Shopping locally can significantly reduce this environmental impact, all whilst supporting the local economy. Those aren’t the only benefits of staying local either, here are our top 8 reasons for why you should stay local when it comes to shopping:

1. Less impact on the environment

Local items have less of a carbon footprint – they don’t travel as far, which reduces emissions and the need for excessive packaging. It also brings you, as the consumer, closer to the supply chain which makes it easier to understand. It’s much easier to know exactly where items are coming from, and how they’ve been made when you shop local.

2. Keep in touch with the seasons

Buying seasonal produce is a great way to experiment with new recipes, and try new foods. As well as this, local produce its likely to contain less preservatives as it doesn’t have to last as long whilst it’s being brought in from elsewhere.The easiest way we can explain it is the difference between fresh bread from a local bakery, and mass-produced bread that you grab in the supermarket when there isn’t another choice. The fresh bread always tastes better!

3. Support your local community

Money spent in the local economy is more likely to benefit the local area through jobs, events and charitable support. Think about your local football team for example, are they sponsored by a firm in the local area or a national, corporate company? Exactly! Take a chance to reconnect with your local community and improve the quality of life for people living in it, including you and your family.

4. Variety is the spice of life

Sometimes in life you want Ikea. It’s pretty safe, inexpensive, does what it needs to do and is usually ok price-wise. It isn’t going to last until archaeologists dig it up in a thousand years, but it doesn’t usually need to. Of course, there’s a chance that ten people you know personally have exactly the same item, and another ten people you know know exactly where it was from and are thinking about buying it.

We can still get down with a Billy bookcase or a Malm desk from time to time but sometimes you want something handcrafted, unique and so amazing that everyone wants to know where it’s from. By buying locally and stepping away from the mass-market high street retailers you can utilise local knowledge and expertise to create exactly what you want. They can even use local materials, some that might be unique to your local area, and craftsmanship.

5. Service with a smile

Get a more hands-on service and take advantage of great local knowledge and advice. The more you visit, the more those in the store get to know your personal preferences.

Plus how often have you bought something online and felt surprised or disappointed once it’s arrived? By physically shopping, you can understand your items more as they’re tangible, and can be touched, tasted and tried. And if you do experience a problem, or you have more questions? It’s much easier to ask in person than loop around a million online customer support services.You’ll probably get your item quicker too as if it’s there, you can take it away with you right away.

6. It’s not always more expensive

Just like Amazon isn’t always cheapest, if price is important to you then it’s always good to shop around. There are often offers to be had and generous deals to be found at independent retailers and you might just be surprised.

We’re not saying that squeezing local retailers for every last penny is a great idea (after all, they’re trying to earn a living too and you might bump into them at the local pub at some point!), but you may find that they’re more open to negotiating on price or doing offers for regulars. Often, it’s easier to try before you buy at an independent retailer– especially when it comes to food and drink – which can stop you from wasting money on unnecessary items in the long run.

7. Meet like-minded people

Do you have a passion for multicoloured knitted hats? Or maybe you like niche pottery shaped like frogs (who doesn’t)? Perhaps rare and unusual cheeses is your thing? Sure, you can join an online community where you can wax lyrical about your chosen passion to your heart’s desire, but maybe sometimes it’s better for those passions to exist offline too. You could strike up a rapport with your local cheese shop owner who saves the weirdest ones just for you, or you might bump into someone who shares your love of niche pottery. It’s all part of building a local community.

8. It’s a little more fun

Finding out about local gems, and the best place to buy “this and that” can be really exciting. Discovering the perfect quirky, individual item for your living room is amazing.