Big brands want us to forget that we lived without them these past few months. Don't let them pull you back into that old reality.
Just a couple of months ago, we were consumers. We bought what we needed and lots of stuff we didn't.
Material consumption is like sugar, highly addictive. It gives us a false, and temporary, sense of well-being. We always need more.
Big-brand marketers are already brainstorming ways to get us back on that sugary consumer diet, once life returns to normal. They’ll try to make us forget the months we spent sugar-free, and how refreshing it was. They’ll use billboards, social media ads, emails, product placements, and other proven methods to convince us that we were unfulfilled without them, that we can be complete again if we wear their logos and buy their brand of sugar.
But, what if we don’t take the bait this time? What if we support small businesses that share our values and add diversity to our communities, instead of giving our money to big-name brands that flood the world with sameness? What if we buy from mom-and-pop stores as well as from Amazon and Target? What if we eat at locally-owned restaurants instead of corporate chains? What if we buy lifestyle products from independent designers whose work we admire, regardless of brand name?
The pandemic has revealed who, and what, are the real sweeteners of civic life and identity. It’s not Starbucks, BMW or Gucci. It’s the family restaurants we couldn't frequent; the parks and beaches we couldn’t visit; the gyms, schools, and museums we took for granted; and the friends we couldn't hang out with.
Animals have been returning to urban waterways and exploring desolate city streets. When this is all over, let’s explore new territory, too. Let's make responsible choices as consumers. Let's not reward companies with vast production lines and few values. Let's support passionate entrepreneurs who pour their energy and life savings into making things they believe in. Let's fund the authenticity, personalization, and creativity they offer.
Let's cut out the sugar.
Here Are 5 Reasons to Support Smaller Brands:
• Design: Great design was once reserved for the elite. If you wanted beautiful or unique things, you either needed to make them yourself or spend lots of money. Today, small brands are creating everything imaginable in a variety of styles at affordable prices. Fashion, in particular, is experiencing a renaissance in design as independent designers and small brands innovate in ways that large brands won't.
• A.P.C.: Big brands try to appeal to the largest possible number of consumers to maximize profits for their shareholders. Small brands, on the other hand, prioritize A.P.C. - authenticity, personalisation, and creativity. They don't produce a variety of collections every year to reach ever more buyers. They focus intensely on a single, high-quality collection. Each purchase from a small brand rewards those values and supports an ecosystem of independent designers.
• Resourcefulness: Small brands do more with fewer resources. That, in truth, is what the world must relearn to do, too. Abundance turned our consumption habits into a force that has harmed both the environment and our sense of well-being. Buying handcrafted bags from an independent handbag brand's online bag store, for example, is a great way to support a small fashion business and change our buying habits on a small scale.
• Experimentation: Smaller brands are more directional in implementing operational changes and more free to experiment with new business models. That adaptability often offers a blueprint to larger companies, showing them the changes necessary for environmental sustainability and economic health.
• Jobs: Small brands create work for other small businesses and independents. That creates a healthy, diverse economy made up of human-scale enterprises, instead of an economy dominated by large consolidated corporations. Those small business owners are not getting rich. They're doing what they love and are surviving to offer all the benefits listed above.
Love and flow,