A guest post by Regina Morrison.
getting in it.
When the recession first hit in 2008, I was laid off and by some stroke of luck, quickly found myself in a stable, well-paying job for a government contractor. For the first few months I was relieved – a steady paycheck, no more money worries, the job was so easy an ape could do it!
Then reality set in. This reality was the reality of my brain’s capability and passion for life that was being wasted sitting in a cube doing next to nothing and surrounded by bitterness all day long. I had to do something else – but what? I could not be someone who worked, retired, then died.
The economy was still in shambles and I, unfortunately, needed a paycheck. So, I started to funnel my efforts into things I love to do. I love to write, so I started two blogs and eventually started putting my efforts towards paid gigs. I have always been a “DIYer” so I started an Etsy shop. The idea came to me in about a day, but the process has been much more time consuming and rewarding.
starting to get it.
Through the process of Etsy and building a handmade business I have started to view my purchases differently. Not only have I changed career paths, I have also changed the way I buy.
For years I have been trying to steer my food purchases towards as many local sources as possible and organic. I am not always perfect, but I try and that is all I can ask of anyone. I inherently understand the importance of buying local foods. Not only do they typically taste better and are far fresher, there are economic and environmental reasons which are far more important to me than taste.
Until I forced myself to do something that I wanted to do, I never thought of buying goods local or handmade. I never sat down and thought of the importance of supporting a small artisan, such as myself, versus supporting the big box stores. I never realized the impact it could have on someone’s life to spend ten extra dollars on a t-shirt until these extra dollars started to affect me.
We cannot all run around town and buy everything local or handmade. It is more expensive to do this and most of us have to budget in certain ways. Just as I cannot buy all organic or locally grown food, I can buy what my budget will allow. A food revolution has been occurring in this country for some time now and in my opinion, a “stuff” revolution is also occurring.
Most people have had to do with less these past few years. It isn’t 2004 anymore – ridiculous consumption of super cheap goods doesn’t look like a good deal anymore, it just looks tacky. It was all the rage for a while, the one dollar bins and cheap knock-off designer purses, but I think it might be ending. I think we are moving backwards, in a good way. We are moving back to wanting higher quality goods, better made goods. The kind of stuff our grandparents would have bought.
This might mean that some of us cannot afford as many things, but who needs all that stuff anyways?
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good deal. I love supporting a big box store that I feel makes a difference in the community and supports designers and local vendors (yes, they do exist). But, I also like to not have the same thing as everyone I know. I like to fill my house with antique and thrift store finds. Yes, there’s some Ikea in there too – but there has been a shift. There was a time when my entire house would have been big box store furniture, clothing, accessories, etc….but I am making a shift and I am enjoying it.
Sometimes you don’t see the difference until it affects you, your livelihood, or your deafening desire to escape the monotony of a cubicle.
I was not aware enough to see it, not aware enough to see the importance of handmade, repurposed, local goods, until it was shoved in my face. I admit, I never really thought about it. Have you thought about it? Have you realized that what you purchase makes a difference on some level, be it big or small?
Make the shift, do it slowly like I did or all at once, join the revolution. We have moved on from the fad of cheap junk made overseas. We are moving back to where our grandparents were. For various reasons, my grandfather would have scoffed at the idea of a Japanese car, so maybe we should scoff at items that aren’t created by small businesses. Granted his beliefs on many things were different than mine, but he supported USA made goods. The principal is the same.
I want to support my community by buying local. I want to support the artisan community I am now ensconced in by buying handmade. It might seem like trend right now, but it is ultimately the way we will live. If it is called a trend, then it is definitely one that is here to stay.
Regina Morrison is a writer and owner of Acute Designs. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband and two crazy dogs. Read her blog Useless Endeavor for more of her thoughts on life & inspiration.