Why shop small?
When I first started making jewelry, I did so out of necessity. I was buying $4 earrings and $5 necklaces that would pop, tarnish and have to be re-purposed. One day I had an allergic reaction to a pair of earrings I bought and was grumbling to myself about what a waste of money they were. It hit me then that I had no power in that transaction, that I had no one to complain to, no one to hold responsible. The store policy made sure: ‘NO RETURNS, EXCHANGES OR REFUNDS’. They knew they weren’t selling quality and they didn’t want to hear from me once i found out, either.
A short time later when I began making jewelry to sell, I thought about that experience…And similar ones: Leggings that start to rip after the first wash, that cute party dress which begins to unravel when you tug at that one thread.
As a consumer, I was sick of it. There was no pride in the work, no pride in what the store owners were selling and marketing- just cheaply made products marked up 200% more than what they cost and so much more than they were worth. After re-buying the same hoop earrings, re-buying the same black leggings over and over, I realized the cost of buying cheap was quite high.
When I started my business, I told myself I would operate like I was my customer. I still do. I think to myself, “if I paid $25 for something, what would I want it to come packaged like? how long would I want it to last? How would I want the store owner to treat me?” and that’s how I make my decisions. I take pride in my work, in what my jewelry looks like, what the packaging looks like, how they still look after three years. I take pride in how my customers feel wearing my jewelry and how they feel about the entire transaction.
I love that they know who made their product, where it comes from. In the off chance that something goes wrong, they know exactly who to talk to. I love that.
And I’m not alone in that. I buy small. There is a sense of responsibility these small business owners have to their customer’s that makes me feel cared for. I’m not just another transaction, I am a valued customer. It’s a great feeling. I feel edified knowing my purchase will be of quality and that I’m supporting another small business own.
That is why I shop small.