Last weekend, the Midlands’ holiday shopping landscape was dotted by Crafty Feast, an annual, one-day retail festival. The juried event featured 100 crafters and artists selling their unique wares in a real-world, Etsy-esque environment. For anyone who cherishes unique and handmade, the event is a one-day haven in a mass produced world.
That it has been a simmering success is no surprise. There’s growing interest in handmade goods thanks to many shoppers’ greater inclination to shop in places where their hard earned dollars mean more than padding the wallets of out-of-state executives.
Online directory eLocal.com, which connects U.S. consumers with local businesses, has studied the economic impact of the buy local trend and found even a small shift in dollars has the power to make a significant local impact.
If the people of an average American city were to shift 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would bring an additional $235 million per year to the community’s economy. — eLocal.com
Today, here in Columbia, we have a great deal of local choice. We can go to restaurants like Rosso that source as much as they can from local farms and producers. We can source our own goods at way more than a handful of large and small local farmer’s markets. We can connect with local retailers who craft exquisite handmade goods that range from beef jerky to hand-sewn handbags.
One such local retailer is Sally Peek. Through Nana by Sally, she makes one-of-a-kind handbags and sells them through local retailers, markets, community events and her popular online Etsy store. Even in a shaky economy, Sally notes her sales have steadily risen.
“I think there has been a steady move upward of people making conscious efforts to support local businesses. My customers appreciate the one-of-a-kind quality of my bags in combination with the attention to detail since they are all hand cut and sewn,” says Sally. “Consumers place a great deal of value in one-on-one interactions with creators of any product.”
The moral? This kind of entrepreneurialism isn’t just for fun. It’s serious business. Modern consumers are proving how serious the impact of these businesses can be.