I've always kind of grumbled my way through Cyber Monday. Isn't EVERY day "Cyber day" now? As if it isn't hard enough for local businesses already without the constant lure of online ease pulling people away from the face-to-face experience! However, this year I decided to try and use it to our advantage, or at least give those who love shopping online some alternatives.
Why Shop Locally?
Here's a great (and short) piece on WHY it's important to shop locally--how it affects the very fiber of your very real community and shapes its everyday economy. This is very practical stuff that really does effect each and every one of us. Take a look at what they have to say: http://www.independentwestand.org/what-happens-when-you-shop-local/
Some Places to Shop Online & Still Support "Small Shopping"
So you still want to browse all the pretty pictures and click on things? I get it (me too!). But here's a list of places to start that will put the money back in SOMEONE'S actual community, and in the hands of a small business owner who most likely pays taxes to a locality:
1. Stray Cat Studio--This CUTE little gift shop (wink, wink) that has a big heart for it's neighborhood. We sell exclusively handmade artwork from Western PA (for the most part), as well as lots of the beautiful pottery that comes out of our own studio. Check out our new Online Shop: https://squareup.com/store/stray-cat-studio
2. Tiger Lily Dress Shop: -- An online only upscale designer clothing shop for "curvy" women. This new little shop has a big heart for empowering women to find contentment in the beautiful shape they were given. All the work is handmade, high-quality, and absolutely gorgeous. They also have great sales and amazing personal attention for those who do want to treat themselves to a special piece of "wearable art". https://tiger-lily-dress-shop.myshopify.com/
3. Trades of Hope: -- This online direct sales is one-of-a-kind when it comes to buying through home parties and vendor shows. All the products come from people all over the world working their own way out of poverty. These folks are anything but "charity". They provide beautiful, well made products
and in turn earn money for their families & communities. Check out my favorite local Trades of Hope "Compassionate Entrepreneurs":
Shelby Black: http://www.mytradesofhope.com/ShelbyBlackCouch
Christi & Maggie Townsend: http://www.mytradesofhope.com/maggiechristitownsend
4. Alyssa Clifford Artworks: --Alyssa is probably better known to most of you as our beloved Shop Manager, Alyssa Young. But she is also a working artist and does a great job with commissions. She can do just about any medium she sets her mind to, so check out her Etsy Shop for unique custom items: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AlyssaCliffordArt
5. Etsy: --This is the mecca of handmade makers all across the USA & world. People who have things they've made can come and open up an "Etsy Shop" to sell their wares to anyone anywhere. You can find just about anything you want just by searching. Try it out. It's addicting... www.etsy.com/