I was leafing through the Manly Daily the other day when I came across an article about “Shopping Small”—a movement to encourage shoppers to support small businesses in Australia. Wow. Now there is a concept that slots right into my current experience with the quilting and sewing world… and also perfect timing for the impending holiday shopping (crafting) bonanza that we are all getting pulled into. I don’t know if it is just me that has been living under a rock, but apparently November is “shop small month”.
I decided to Google the term and learned that the Shop Small movement is somewhat less than a movement and more of a promotion by American Express to encourage its customers to use their cards at select small business locations… but that doesn’t mean that we can’t just start thinking about promoting small businesses and pay however we care to!
Anyway, back to my experience with sewing… My journey started with the big chain stores, Spotlight and Lincraft, which both have an important place in the craft landscape in Australia. However, as I got more involved in sewing, I started peeking into smaller, boutique quilt shops like CQW, and found ranges of quality fabrics with just amazing prints, as well as classes and teachers that brought amazing skills to the table. And, now that I have started sewing clothes, my go to pattern makers are independents like Tesutti Fabrics and Made by Rae.
What I have come to learn is that the sewing community is built upon and supports small business owners and entrepreneurs. Women run the majority of shops that I know of. They, in turn, provide spaces for highly skilled, independent teachers, to share their skills and expertise. The fabric reps that I have met have usually been women. I like to reflect on the fact that the ‘domestic arts’ have traditionally been a way to keep women in the home- but now are emancipatory! I will continue to shop small!!