Keeping a reign on spending during the holidays can be a big challenge, and the convenience of shopping online is incredibly tempting as we try to stay ahead of all that we need to manage this time of year. If your family happens to be growing this holiday season, you may feel a little additional pressure to get all the pieces to come together. We are moms, too, and we feel you. But in the midst of all of the holiday madness, Gina and I want to offer a gentle reminder to shop small.
You are probably familiar with a little annual occasion called Black Friday, which takes place in the US the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday can be a great opportunity to grab some big-ticket baby necessities at a discount, so it can definitely be worth checking out (if you’re like me, you’ll be checking it out from the safety of your bed on your laptop, and not out braving the crowds of shoppers.) But, this year, we urge you to save some of your holiday and baby budget for Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday, as you might have guessed, takes place the day after Black Friday. It began in 2010, during a recession in the US, as an effort to support “main street” – in other words, to help keep our local businesses open by spending our money in our own communities, rather than sending it somewhere else by buying online. There are so many reasons why this is a good idea, from the sales taxes that help keep services going in your town, to the tangible benefit a local retailer or service will get from your purchase. You help real, face to face people, put food on their tables and pay their rent.
You might wonder, when baby shopping can be such a commercial event, how you can shop small for the products and services you need for your pregnancy, birth, and baby. It’s easier than you think! Here are a few ideas:
Find a Local Kid and Baby Resale Shop
Chances are, there are one or two locally owned resale shops for children close to you. These stores are often mom-owned, and if you haven’t been in one before, they’re adorable! I have found so many treasures – unique, well-made, even designer clothing items for my babies. Some of my favorite clothes for my young children have come from stores like this. The great thing is, you can come back and consign these clothes again when your kids outgrow them, continuing the cycle of reducing and reusing, all while supporting a local business.
Baby and Maternity Boutiques
There may be some items on your list that you just don’t want to buy used, and that’s okay, too. For example, I don’t like to purchase used car seats. There are likely small baby or maternity stores somewhere in your town, and making your purchases there will give you the comfort of knowing that you are using your retail and tax dollars to breathe life into your own community.
If you dig a little deeper, you will probably find that there are quality products being made right there in your own city, by small producers, even stay at home moms in their own sewing rooms or kitchens. You might find these types of items at your local farmers market, or in those small boutiques mentioned above. I love finding clothing items such as hats or shoes that are handmade, or baby wraps. A dear friend of mine weaves baby wraps on her loom in her home, and they are the most beautiful wraps you’ve ever seen, I promise you. If you haven’t tapped into the local-makers resource, you will be amazed at the quality of the unique treasures you can come across.
Independent Service Providers
This may seem like a no brainer, as you will clearly have to use local services for your pregnancy and birth care, but hear me out – there are ways to shop small for these types of services, too.
When you are planning your baby shower, look around for a local party planner, rather than buying all of your supplies on Amazon. If you are hiring a doula, consider an independent one, or one who works for a locally-owned service, rather than going with a large, commercial company or through a hospital system. Hire an independent, professional birth photographer to document the birth of your baby. Consider going to a small childbirth class, taught in the educator’s home, or talk to local, independent providers of services such as belly casting or art, placenta encapsulation, or pregnancy massage. You could even choose to have your baby with a small provider, such as a free-standing birth center or a home birth midwife (like us!).
Dedicating some of your baby budget to small retailers and services such as these are a great personal service to your community. Instead of contributing to a billionaire’s next private jet, you are helping a parent pay for their child’s dance lessons. Instead of bringing more products overseas on a barge, you will be helping a local, single mom make her rent, and pay for her child’s dental procedure. Instead of putting all of your money into big retail and consumerism, you are sending the message that you want to support the makers and those who serve in your neighborhood, which improves the economy of your own corner of the world.
So, this Small Business Saturday, remember to shop small. We will do it too!