INSIGHT : The importance of shopping independent
Independent brands are at the heart of what we do here at Weekend:IN, and with our Pop:IN event just around the corner, we wanted to share some of the reasons why we love to shop small and why you should too!
One of the many benefits of shopping from smaller, independent brands, is that you can see and understand the history of the products you are buying. When we shop in high street chains, we have little idea what journey the products have been on. If we ask ourselves ‘who made this product? And where did they make it?’ (A ‘Made in …’ label is hardly specific), we’d be left stumped. On a more ethical level, we don’t know if the person making these products even wants to make them. Are they being paid enough? Are they working in a healthy environment? These questions have to be pushed uncomfortably aside when shopping from high-street stores. This is not the case with independent shops and smaller brands, however.
From the outset, the faces behind independent brands are visible so we can see who runs it and why. For particularly small businesses, the brand owner may also be the maker, so the relationship between the brand and the consumer is much more intimate. As London-based skincare brand Plenaire puts it, ‘There tends to be far better transparency and accountability with smaller businesses along the supply chain… as well as a more personal approach from founders. This can help users understand how and where their products are being made as well as practices around development.’ Understanding the journey of the product you are buying makes the transaction more empowering as you can say with confidence that you know what you’re putting your money towards.
Getting to know the brand’s story
When we find a brand that shares a similar creative vision to ours or holds similar values, we can’t help but shout about it and share the love! Having unique products is one thing but if a brand has a meaningful message or mission that we can relate to, the business is much more likely to stay in our minds and keep us committed to supporting them.
We can read about the back stories of independent brands by simply clicking the About page on their website, but thanks to social media, we can also keep up to date on the day to day workings of these brands. As outlined by independent homeware founder Bennita Adair George, ‘Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook now allow customers to follow your practice and see first-hand processes, production methods and the maker behind the brand.’ This gives us, as conscious consumers, a great deal of knowledge and respect - we are being let in behind the scenes. By learning about the back story we are on more equal footing with the brand owner; handing over money becomes less of a transaction and more of an exchange, as we acquire a product we have researched and love, and the brand owner gains support and funds to continue their passion...
Supporting brand owners
… what’s more, when you know the face and name of the person that runs the business, you can see first-hand just how important and rewarding it is for them when you shop there. Independent clothing brand Olive & Frank say, ‘By choosing to shop with a smaller independent brand you’re supporting growth, championing creativity and ultimately helping to build a dream.’ Not only that but by supporting your new favourite small business, you yourself become part of the brand’s story and community. Suddenly shopping just got a lot more fulfilling!
One of a kind products
Finally, and it may sound bit trivial to some, but we love the thought of wearing, consuming and using products that are one of a kind! Not only does it remind us of the wealth of creativity that continues to pop up all around us, but it makes us pay more attention to our possessions and regard them with more care. When we own items from brands we support and people we respect, we realise that we get much more enjoyment out of them!
We would love to see you at our first ever pop-up shop, Pop:IN, from 16th-20th May 2019 at Charlotte Street, Shoreditch! Click here to find out more about Pop:IN and all of the dreamy brands you can browse!
Weekend:IN creates innovative ideas to help IN:dependent and IN:spiring brands connect, engage and grow their audiences. We help brands with social media marketing, authentic influencer marketing campaigns, and event organisation. Weekend:IN are based in Bristol, but currently work with independent and inspiring businesses across the South West and in London.