Article originally published in 2018 updated in 2020 with pandemic information.
Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Over the last few years, there has been a movement in retail trends imploring consumers to have an #IndieChristmas – buying Christmas presents from places other than big business and to prioritise independent sellers.
But 2020 comes with special challenges – the worst pandemic in over a century is sweeping the world and with the autumn now in full swing in the northern hemisphere, it’s all about to hit the fan. We’ve been advised to start early and to shop online as much as possible. This is how you can get hold of unique, wonderful gifts and help the thousands of small businesses at this difficult time.
Online, But it’s Not All About Amazon
For many of us, the go-to place is Amazon. I’m not going to call for you to boycott them for any reason. If you wish to do so, that’s your prerogative and I wouldn’t wish to influence you either way. But I am calling on you to consider other places and help out micro sellers such as myself.
Micro sellers and small independent traders have seen a boom since the economic downturn in 2008. Partly fuelled by loss of jobs and suppressed income, people have set up micro businesses to make a little side money. For most of us, the ebooks, photo prints, hand crafted jewellery, fabrics and other items we make, drop ship and sell, are a side business. That is certainly the case with me.
My main job is as a web content writer, as you may well know. But I also write fiction and have recently branched out into selling photographic prints. I could not survive on this income alone although I would dearly love to.
This is how you can help us get a foot up and encourage us to continue producing high quality alternative products.
Your Local Christmas Market (nb: many Christmas Markets are Cancelled for 2020)
Before you go to Amazon or other big sellers, why not scout out your local Christmas markets? Many of the big markets will open over the course of the next 3-4 weeks and they’ll sell stuff you generally can’t get elsewhere. A good Christmas market features local sellers of handcrafted goods. You may not find everything you need, but when you buy from a small seller, you make us very happy indeed. Besides which, a good market will have a great atmosphere and is a nice day out for all the family. Enjoy your bratwurst and mulled wine, soak up the atmosphere and spend away knowing you’re helping a small business.
Online Market Places and Platforms
I’m talking about sites like Etsy, Red Bubble, Not on the High Street, and so many others. Even Amazon Marketplace and eBay can be great sources for hand made products that nowhere else is selling. Most of these people are hand making every single one of the items that they ship out. You won’t get them anywhere else because the seller owns the design. If you really want to make a difference this year, start with these sites for your web shopping.
Share Our Shops and Products!
Finally, you can help us by spreading the word. We don’t have big budgets to compete with established high street shops or big web sellers such as Amazon. Because we don’t have the sales, it’s difficult to divert such a large portion of our income to spreading the word further. That’s where you come in. If you’ve found a great product or service, then don’t keep it to yourself, tell your friends and family about it! Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and any other social media. But make sure you use the #IndieXmas hashtag. If we have a web presence such as a Facebook page (see links below for both of mine) then leave us a review to help other people considering buying from us.
Vote with your wallets and help independent sellers this year. Many thanks!