I don’t like the saying “local is lekker”, it gives a connotation of something flippant, cute, or an “attraction”, something to be tried just because it’s the “in thing”.
I prefer to support my local artist, or buy hand-made products when I can, or to promote the longevity of a beautifully crafted piece of kids furniture. Not just because I hate plastic – especially the over-abundance of plastic kids stuff, but because a beautiful, hand made, wooden table and chair set for a toddler is going to be far more durable, comfortable and environmentally friendly than a moulded plastic table that goes brittle and gets thrown on the rubbish heap after a year or two.
Nevermind that, when you buy from a local craftsman you are supporting a family directly. There is no retail chain, no broker, no supplier and no mass produced market behind the product. The local artist or craftsman is directly affected by the price you pay. The revenue earned is more often than not, spent in the area and so the local economy is bolstered by the local sale of a quality product.
Now I know that some hand-made items are pricey, but that’s because it’s takes time to make, but is the quality and beauty not worth it in the end? I have an online business where I make and sell baby décor items and I can tell you it’s a tough market to be in. Every retailer has the monopoly on price negotiating and can offer a mass produced plastic version of my products at a far reduced price, but lets be honest, plastic is ugly. Nevermind the consumer mentality of most of the shoppers in our area (I wish I lived in Cape Town), an online store works best for my products as those that are seeking the quality hand-made items will find me and purchase without batting an eyelid, the average consumer though, needs a bit more convincing.
So I try, as often as I can, to support local hand-made products and hope that slowly the mentality of consumerism changes, especially for those around me who also own small businesses that sell beautifully hand crafted items. So lets make an effort to support our local small businesses whenever possible, and help to keep pur local economy healthy.