I always do a bundle of present shopping at the Tasmanian Craft Fair with my fellow makers. I love being able to find something beautiful, different and well priced. But one of the things I love the most is the circle of money moving; I spend the money I earn from what I make with other creative creatures on what they’ve conceptualised and created. And then they go and spend the money within the local communities too.
Even better is this money stays local. It doesn’t disappear off overseas to some corporation without paying tax or anything else useful. Instead, it does keep working, it is spent buying presents, groceries, in cafes run by families, some goes to the ATO and all of it stays working again and again within our communities.
Money with Small Makers Gets Working Locally
I must admit, I have been caught up with the thought that the $100 I spent with the local maker (let’s say the Gotland fibre lady at Violet Town, Vic, on the fleeces for mum to spin) has the same financial impact with her as it did with me when my treasured customers spent it with me in the first place.
When she spends it in her small community it will have the very same impact with that shop keeper as it did with her and me. And it just continues, isn’t that amazing? How many things in life keep their value, their impact and don’t shrink?
Making beautiful things gives my life meaning
It is really easy for me to feel the economic value and emotional impact of people choosing to shop with me and take home my designs as presents for themselves and loved ones. Without their choices to come to the places that support local artisans like The Rocks Markets and the Tasmanian Craft Fair to shop with us stallholders then I simply couldn’t do what gives my life meaning – make beautiful treasures.
If everyone wanted to do all their shopping in big shopping centres and at stores like K-Mart and co or get their coffees from Starbucks then life for so many families would be so much smaller, and not just those of us who have our own micro or small businesses. It would have such a big flow on effect – who would the creativity bloggers be inspired by? How would you be able to find something original and different to the mob? Who would demonstrate to children that you can make your living in this country from what you make? Where would the amazing abundance of creativity be show cased in this city (or any city really)?
What’s more fun?
So if you’re thinking what’s the difference of whether I make the effort to find a car park at Westfields or head off to the local market or fair to do my shopping take a moment to think. Do you want your hard earned money to quickly leave the country or to stay local and be spent again and again, staying at it’s full value and making a big difference in the lives of all the small business owners and employees it nurtures? Plus, going to markets and fairs is way more fun, you might even end up being the creative inspiration for new designs when you have an interesting conversation with the maker.
Those who do care
As for us markers, we feel very nurtured and supported by our treasured customers. I know I find the positive encouragement and discussions really inspiring. When I hear people complain about the lack of real life social engagement, that everyone wants mass produced crap from China and nobody cares that I have really solid grounds to get into a discussion to defend the thousands of women and men who do care, who do purposefully shop local with little people like myself, for without them I, and thousands like me, couldn’t make our livings from what we create. There is a direction correlation there – my customers who shop with me let me be a fully self supporting artisan. And I’ve done that for over 15 years now. I have heart felt thanks and appreciation for that.
Who are your favourites?
So who are your favourite makers, what are your favourite markets and fairs? Tell us about them in the comments below.