Back in March this year, I wrote a short article for the Lucky Dip Club Magazine, Girl Planet on the joy of buying independent. Since that published, I’ve certainly been trying to buy more from indie sellers, both online and through events like the Handmade Fair and Renegade Craft fair. It seems that my love of independent hasn’t gone unnoticed by friends and family either. Last weekend, I celebrated my 30th birthday, and I was genuinely touched by how many gifts were not from the high street. In some cases, family had actively sought out gifts from creatives that they know I love. Others had found new independent sellers.
Even though it’s still only November, I’ve inevitably started to think about Christmas shopping. Every year my husband and me set a budget for our Christmas gifts for each other. It sounds boring, but it means that we don’t end up spending loads, and it removes the fear of opening your presents on Christmas morning and realising that one of you has spent way more than the other. I came up with the idea that this year we should only buy gifts from independents, i.e. no high street gifts allowed.
We’ve also taken a similar approach to our Christmas food. I’m hosting Christmas for the first time this year, and I began looking through the food catalogues from the supermarkets. It dawned on me that we have a really good butcher locally, and we already have a veg box delivered regularly, why did we need to go anywhere else?
I still believe that the high street has its place, the majority of my food shop comes from a supermarket and I still buy a lot of my clothes from the big names. Admittedly I get stupidly excited when certain coffee chains release their Christmas drinks and our Christmas stockings will be filled with gifts from the high street, because we have a small budget and sometimes the pound shop does have it’s place. That’s all ok. It comes down to balance, for some things I’m happy to buy on the high street, but other times I’d rather buy independent. When it comes to giving gifts, I’d rather receive something handmade and unique than another generic toiletries set. On a selfish note, I’d also rather avoid the big shopping centres at the weekend in December, as I find it stressful, no matter how many hot chocolates I consume. I can easily browse Etsy in my pyjamas in front of the telly, no stress needed other than ‘where’s my charger?’.
Finding independent sellers can be incredibly easy. If you like to shop in person, look out for local craft fairs, where you can see a wide range of gifts, and actually meet the person who made them! If you prefer shopping online, Etsy and Notonthehighstreet.com are obvious places to start, but indie department stores like Berylune will provide access to lots of indies all in one place.
This Christmas, I’m going to make a promise to include more independents in my Christmas shopping. I’ll be buying only independent gifts for my husband, I’m going to try and avoid the high street as much as possible for my family, and my Christmas dinner will come from local shops where possible.
I’m going to be sharing this message on my various social media, and it would be great to spread the message of independent further. If you’d like to share my ‘I’m buying independent this Christmas’ image on your social media, please feel free; I’d just be grateful if you could credit me for the image.
Finally, a little selfish plug for a local event, the Independent Oxford Christmas Market. If you’re local to Oxford, do head down to the Turl Street Kitchen and The Old Fire Station next Saturday (26 November). As well as a wide range of local designer-makers, I’ll be there selling some Create Craft Kits and also some of my own products! I’m also going to be running a workshop, follow Independent Oxford to find out more.