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Just a Card - 5 Reasons to Shop Independent

Lily Cameron

In 2018 51% of people said they prefer to shop online rather than in a bricks and mortar store. There are many potential reasons behind this - lack of time to wander around shops and not necessarily find what you're looking for is a massive one.

The problem comes when independent shops, run by artists and makers selling their own products, are overlooked in favour of giant corporations (who may not treat their thousands of employees very well, or pay taxes in your country).

Just a Card encourages people to buy from independent shops and small businesses by reinforcing the message that even small purchases, even 'just a card', are completely vital for small businesses to survive and thrive.

The campaign came about when Artist & Designer Sarah Hamilton saw the quote "If everyone who'd complimented our beautiful gallery had bought 'just a card' we'd still be open" by store keepers who'd recently closed their gallery. This prompted a call to action!

Green Fig's Lily first came across Just a Card at a craft fair when she was browsing a stall of beautiful paintings and pottery and feeling guilty that she couldn't stretch to buying either. After reading the Just a Card leaflet she bought two lovely cards and came away happy - leaving a happy artist behind! And yes, those cards are still framed on her wall.

Supporting the local economy

When you buy from a local business you are pouring money straight into your local economy. That business owner is paying tax in your country (it's highly unlikely they'll be involved in tax avoidance schemes. I definitely don't have accounts in the Cayman Islands, anyway). They may have some employees, bringing down unemployment rates in your area (they're also much more likely to treat those employees well because they'll be relying on them).

Small business owners are also more likely to utilise other small businesses in your area, so the cycle continues.

Supporting individuals and families

When you buy from a small business you're supporting an individual, probably the very person who's serving you. Maybe you're helping that person stay afloat, save to buy their first home, expand their business, support their children.

Each sale matters to that person. You are genuinely important to them. Doesn't that make you feel warm inside?

Breathes new life into YOUR high street

When you buy from a bricks and mortar independent shop, you're telling your local community that this shop matters. This shop won't become another boarded up waste of space on your high street, because this shop is valued.

If we want to stem the ever increasing tide of betting shops and generic £ saver type shops taking over our town centres then we have to support the alternative - small, locally owned, independent shops.

Supporting artists, creatives, designers, makers and artisans - and the crafts they practice

The long and short of it is, if we don't support artists, designers and artisans then they will not be able to work, and that means the crafts they practice will die out.

We won't be able to buy those sourdough loaves, hand thrown ceramics, handmade soaps, or artisan jewelry because there'll be nobody to make them.

Receive excellent quality goods and personal service

Small business owners genuinely value you and your custom because their work is their passion and their pride. They love what they do and want you to love the results, so they'll work hard to achieve that.

When you buy from a small business you get a service which is personal and tailored to you.

The quality of the products is, in my opinion, head and shoulders above anything mass produced.

You know that painting, hand sewn dress or bar of soap you're buying has been made with love and care, probably by the person you're buying it from!

They haven't got hundreds of faceless employees simply following instructions, or machines grinding away making huge batches of product.

It's just one person with a vision, seeing it through.

So the next time you're wandering around a farmer's market, or browsing in an independent shop, don't worry if you can't afford much. Buying just a cake, just a pin, just a soap, just a scarf or Just a Card will help more than you know

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