During times of economic uncertainty, it is crucial to support local business owners and independent Canadian artisans. Throughout the year, local shops have been hit hard by the COVID-19 lockdown and government regulations. This holiday season, we have an opportunity to shift our consumer power towards local and independent makers. Every time we buy from a small business, we make our community more prosperous. Even a small spending habit in our daily life can make a big difference. This holiday gift guide will help you discover great products by local brands and makers so that together we can get them through this unbearable lockdown.
Discover local Canadian products from curators
North Built Collective is a curated showcase of Canadian makers focusing on craft, design and sustainability. Their recent Gift Guide features natural soy candles, organic lip liner, cruelty-free fragrance and many other environmentally sustainable products. If you are looking for unique gift ideas, a curated shopping list is a great place to start.
Support local makers on Etsy
Etsy offers various tools to enhance your shopping experience, including the Shop Location filter along with a Product Category and Special Offers. These features make it easy to shop handmade goods close to home. Additionally, Etsy saves all the recently viewed products and suggests similar local sellers based on your browsing habits.
Explore local shops through visual stories
Localhood is an online community where locals and business owners can share visual stories about their products and experiences. From handcrafted jewellery and home decor to local flower shops, Localhood has a great selection of small businesses that offer store pickup and delivery. The platform is currently available in Toronto and plans to expand to other Canadian cities in the future.
Support Canadian craft at OOAK Online
The famous One Of A Kind trade show just launched a digital exhibition to connect buyers with over 700 Canadian makers from across Canada. Here is a quick guide to navigating #OOAKOnline and tips on discovering Canadian craft and its makers.
Shop from a local directory
Not-Amazon is a new local directory of small businesses in Toronto, Halifax and Calgary. Initially, it started as a shared Excel sheet with a list of local shops organized by categories. Then it quickly grew into a directory of independent businesses and was recently featured in NOW Magazine.
Make shopping local a habit
Signing up for a subscription box is a great way to support multiple Canadian businesses on a regular basis. Acre75 is a family-owned online shop that offers a seasonal subscription box. Each delivery is filled with handcrafted goods from makers who live in small Canadian towns. To look for deals and coupon codes for various box subscriptions, join the private Canadian Subscription Boxes Facebook group.
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Share your local finds with friends
Today, artisans and local makers mostly rely on social media channels, user-generated content and word of mouth. One of the best ways to support local business or your favourite maker is to combine all three tactics and help them boost sales. You can create original content on social media and share your purchases or product experience with friends and followers.
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We have entered a critical point; if small businesses vanish, our life will never be the same. During this time, it’s more important than ever to make the best efforts and become the biggest support for local businesses.
“Inspired by the free spirits and creative souls,
By the artisans who create the alternatives to mass production,
By those who discover the unconventional ways to help us live sustainably,
By those who choose to make fair trade and cruelty-free,
By those who escape the ordinary to make our lives authentic,
By those who stay true to themselves and yet listen to our hearts,
By those who are born to create,
And those who create our every day a little history.”
– Lidia Vijga