Its been about 3 months since I declared to my household that I would refrain from shopping at a mainstream store for products that could easily be found at a small family run business. Reducing my trips to target and refraining from spending all my Amazon birthday money proved to be somewhat difficult. However, after the initial hump and the detoxing of my “Made In China” crap addiction, its been easy to ignore Target, be fearful of the Costco parking lot, and get overwhelmed with Amazon search engine and advertisement that is constantly being shoved down your throat.
I am finding myself making more conscious decisions versus standing in an aisle and throwing things in the cart based upon color options and how shiny something is. Taking a moment to look for something specific, figure out where to go, eventually reading reviews, and doing a little bit of background research has made this journey fulfilling. The other aspect that I am enjoying is the opportunity to actually talk with real people and discuss a product before making a purchase. Interacting with another human being for more than 3 minutes at check-out has been extremely fulfilling. There is a sense of pride that an owner or associate has for a small business, they want you to be genuinely happy with your purchase, and in turn, they want you to make the correct purchase for your needs. There is also the ability to learn about the passion behind the business and the family you are supporting by shopping with that small business.
Small businesses usually have great stories, they have happy people that are doing this because they love it, and they are usually filled with families. One of my favorite retailers in Mom’s Milk Boutique. They are not local to me, they are not even close to being local, but they are online, and they are amazing. I have purchased once or twice with them in the distant past, but in the last 18 months, I have frequented their shop more than I want to admit. Recently though, I am shopping with them for a different reason than normal. Since there is a lot less shopping for baby stuff, and more shopping for regularly used household products in our life, Its been getting increasingly difficult to keep up with the goal of shopping small business.
For example, I wanted to get lunch box kits, so I could do pre-made meals on the weekends to make the weekdays a little bit easier (I am also try and do a healthy eating challenge for the remainder of the year). I initially went to amazon because all the blogs and instagram photos I was seeing was of these divided take out containers usually found in restaurants. These were also all made of plastic and were top dishwasher rack and microwave safe. Well, in the midst of researching, I questioned if I really wanted to buy these containers, (10 for $15) or if I wanted to use the current containers I had (which I didn’t). However, a not so small bird reminded me about my challenge, and that I don’t need more plastic in my life. So I went and searching online with some of my favorite small retailers, and found EcoLunchBox. It’s a bento style lunch kit, that I can prepare meals with. The benefit is that its also stainless steel, so I don’t need to worry about toxins. I thought about the fact that I wanted to microwave my food up, and then I remembered, we have plates at work anyways. So I made it official and ordered some EcoLunchBox kits. It also made it easy that Bonnie from Mom’s Milk Boutique was able to answer some of my questions about it through a live broadcast on Periscope. I have been able to experience the store, without having to travel 2100 miles across the country thanks to Periscope and the weekly scopes that Moms Milk Boutique staff are doing.
That is another thing about small business, they have the staff and the passion to interact with people on different platforms. Mom’s Milk Boutique does it through Periscope and Facebook, Twitter and occasionally Instagram. You don’t see your local target professional sharing about the new products in the Dollar Spot.
Being able to interact with retailers on the human level and being able to clearly take time to decide what I am going to purchase is also helping on my journey to live a cleaner life. Choosing to cut out the plastic boxes because no small store was going to carry the mass produced box meant we welcome healthier containers to carry our food into our home. Choosing to purchase products like our household cleaners, laundry products, and even personal care, is reducing the amount of toxins we are bringing into our home.
There is more to just supporting a small business and their families on this adventure, small businesses are supporting our journey to a healthier happier home.