• Hayley

Why I'm supporting small business and avoiding the malls

Since the birth of my third baby 10 months ago I've been pretty busy so haven't had many occasions to pop down to my local shopping mall other than for a quick trip to pick up something specific. Online shopping has become a life saver and by scouting out businesses for our Sustainability Shop I've come across some of the most wonderful and creative small businesses.

A couple of weekends ago though I needed to head down to the mall with my eldest two children in tow to pick up a couple of birthday presents for some kids parties. This was a stark reminder to me about why I typically avoid shopping malls. It was horrendously busy, terrible to find a carpark in and as you'd expect pretty hard going with a 2 and 4 year old.

I had ideas in mind of what I wanted to buy so it wasn't aimless wandering like many of the people in there seemed to be doing. As difficult as it was taking two young kids into Kmart it was actually a blessing. Their constant touching of things and asking to buy things made me rush through and get out of there as quickly as possible! Even in my quick visit I had an overwhelming urge to spend money. There's something about the atmosphere in a mall and Kmart in particular that gears you up to overspend and buy things you don't really need. I know if I was on my own I would have ended up with at least a couple of things that I hadn't gone in to buy.

So to avoid the traps of overspending and unnecessary buying I've decided to try and buy all my birthday and Christmas gifts from small businesses and avoid the malls altogether. I've got all three of my kids with birthdays in the six weeks prior to Christmas so it's a busy time in our house. I don't want to go crazy as there's not really a lot they need and they are always given a lot by family so I'm trying to keep my list small and make suggestions to family for things they really need.

The added benefits of buying from small businesses are that the items are typically unique and not mass produced. They're also often made by a fellow mum trying to make a living doing something she loves in an effort to avoid going back to work and allowing her to spend more time with her kids. I know exactly how this feels so I love supporting these people.

I've mostly finished my shopping now and have got some amazing things for my kids. These are not the kind of things you would find in a mall and the quality of these products is fantastic.

Here is a shoutout to the lovely small businesses I've come across and which I've made purchases from. You can find all of them on Facebook;

Karin's creations - beautiful hand made doll clothes. Karin custom made several outfits for my girls' baby dolls including some dresses and pjs. She has so many options to suit all kinds of dolls and I may be very addicted to her site now!

RosEmily Boutique - an upcycled woollen vest. Not only is this gorgeous but that fact that it's upcycled makes me happy

BrushT - a personalised bamboo hairbrush. They also do toothbrushes so no more getting the kids mixed up

Liv & Addy - gorgeous handmade clothes for under 5's. I've ordered tops and dresses.

Little Hummingbird NZ - lovely organic cotton pjs. These are so incredibly soft and the kids love wearing them (I caved and gave them to them early as they needed them ahead of their birthdays).

Wooden Creations - wooden signs and boards. There are lots of cool things on this site. I've ordered a board with all the grandkids pictures and birthdays on for my parents and an inspiring wall art with Winnie the Pooh for my daughter.

Wee Wooden Wonders - personalised peg people. These are super clever and lovingly hand-painted. I've ordered a personalised set of our family but they also have cute pre-made sets including characters from The Gruffalo and The Wiggles.

The Sewing Room - a beautiful handmade fabric doll. My kids love playing with dolls and I searched high and low for a lovely fabric one and I'm so happy with this one.

Gorgeous fabric doll from The Sewing Room Darfield

If you're keen to support small local businesses then I'd recommend the following online sites which have a range of small businesses;

* Live Love Lend's Sustainability Shop

* The Hive (a collective of small NZ businesses) - thehive.co.nz

* Made By Mum (MBM) Buy/Sell NZ Facebook page - many of these items are easily customised and you can post what you're looking for e.g. a first birthday present for a girl and businesses will comment with what that offer. It really helps take the stress out of thinking of great ideas

* She Owns It Marketplace (a directory of small businesses owned by women selling all sorts of amazing products) - https://www.sheownsitmarketplace.co.nz/

Checking out these places will give you a huge range of options and make sure you find something special for those you're buying for, as well as supporting a small business.

If you buy something from a small business and love it please remember to support them by leaving a review on Facebook page or website and telling your friends/family about them. This will make their day and helps them to grow.

Hayley x