Shopping Local and Handmade

Photo by Jessica Rice of Beer and Baking

Anyone who knows me knows there are 3 distinctive elements to my style:

  1. Comfort
  2. Functionality
  3. Uniqueness

Let’s face it; I’m an artist.  You can see it whether I’m at my local Starbucks, dressed in my staple bellydance-esque cotton ruffle capris and basic black tank top (sometimes a nursing top-in-disguise) or while I’m running around town with Jesse and Hui.1, sporting my favorite, frilly flyaway cardigan from XCVI.  And of course, I’m usually sporting a Harveys Seatbeltbag.  Like XCVI, Harveys designs and manufactures their bags right here in the heart of Southern California.  They also put on several in-store events to encourage fans to socialize and become a community.  That’s how I’ve met some of my nearest and dearest friends over the past 4 years.  The photo above was taken at their Mother’s Day event at their Chino Hills location.  One thing I love about Harveys is their sense of community and family.  You’re welcomed with open arms, tasty snacks and refreshments, and personable people.

There’s something magical, or perhaps something old-fashioned, about being able to shop in a brick-and-mortar store.  There’s the possibility of making new friends with fellow customers as well as creating a relationship with the sales associates.  I have a love-hate relationship with our digital age.  While I’ve been able to make new friends by bonding over Seatbeltbags, there’s a huge disconnect when shopping online.  We lose that sense of local community and I’ve decided to start an on-going blog series about the small businesses I love and frequent the most, as well as hidden treasures that need to be known to the rest of the world.

But there’s more to just shopping local and supporting small businesses.  As consumers, we need to know where the stuff we buy is made.  Even though we’re supporting a local business, they may be getting their merchandise from an overseas sweat shop.  It’s true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  But let’s be aware of where our consumer goods come from and make a decision from there.  If you’re buying jewelry, look for a local artist instead of heading to the department store, even if it’s for fine jewelry.  There are a bunch of local fine jewelers out there.  You just need to browse through the Internet like we all do these days.

Here’s hoping to bring back our humanity that’s lost amongst the digital and consumer age.

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