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We all like to feel that our purchases are making a difference. Here are 10 ways you can support local independent creatives in your area. Some of them don't even involve buying ANYTHING!

  1. Purchase 'JUST A CARD' For small independent artists and makers, every greetings card they sell makes a difference. When I did a lot of Craft shows, many many people told me my work was beautiful, but they bought nothing. It was lovely to hear, but compliments don't pay the bills! Of course not everyone is in the market for a new cushion or a lampshade, but if a fraction of those people had bought 'Just a card' I'd still do craft fairs!

  2. Better still you can support all creatives by joining the 'Just a Card' campaign, run by Artist Sarah Hamilton, who founded the movement for exactly this reason. I send a 'Just a card' flyer out with every Etsy order, to help spread the word! Find out more about the campaign here .

2. Follow Artists and creatives on social media.

If you can, share their posts, to help spread their work across your wider network. Most artists do not have a big marketing budget to spend on targeted Facebook adverts. But the chances are if you like an artist's work, some of your friends will too! You can find me on Facebook and instagram

3. Post positive and encouraging comments on their posts

Every comment helps boost the visibility of the post, and enables your creative to reach a larger audience. It's an easy way to support artists and designer makers from the comfort of your arm chair!

4. Leave or send feedback and reviews wherever possible.

How many times have your read product or place reviews online before buying or booking something? I know I do! Positive reviews have a direct impact on people's purchasing. If have ever bought from me on Etsy, you will have been asked, maybe repeatedly, to leave me a review! Here's a recent one.....

5. Share your purchases, and tag the maker.

If you bought something you love from an independent maker ( even if it was 'just a card'!) share it on your socials or in your stories. Tag the maker in your post, so your friends and followers can learn where you bought your fantastic new purchase!

6. Visit craft fairs and exhibitions

Whether it's your local Church Hall or a more upmarket ticketed event, fairs and shows are a great way to see work by lots of makers at the same time! Most makers will cover a range of price points, from affordable greetings cards and bookmarks to much more expensive items. Many people are a little shy to engage with the craftspeople at shows, so here are some questions you can ask.

  • How long did this take you to make?

  • How long did it take you to learn how to do this?

  • What training did you have to enable you to do this?

  • Where does your inspiration come from?

  • Can you share a little bit of your process?

  • What materials are you using ?

Some of these questions will also help you to understand how and why they have priced their work the way they have, too. If you can't afford or don't want to buy even 'just a card' take their business card or flyer and share them or the event on your socials, later.

7. Ask about seconds

If you really love an artist's work and would love to own a piece but it's out of your price range, ask them if they have any seconds they would be willing to sell at a discounted rate. All creatives try out new things that maybe aren't quite right for them, or make mistakes, or maybe the kiln gods created a slight crack in one of those ceramic pieces you've been admiring. I have a box of slight mis-prints which are otherwise perfectly good, and too good to throw out. Super seconds festival is a great way to see seconds from loads of independent craftspeople and designer makers and pick up a crafty bargain!

8. Subscribe to a newsletter

Of course everyone deserves a carefully curated inbox so you only hear from the people and businesses you genuinely admire and care about. If you do find artists your are willing to allow into your inbox, read their newsletters, engage with them, and give them feedback on what they're sharing with you, as a subscriber. I'm always thrilled when a reader replies to my Emails with a suggestion or a comment! Get this free art print as well when you join my mailing list

9. Shop at stores that stock independent designer / makers.

Most locations will have a gallery shop nearby where work by local designers and artists are for sale. Sometimes it's more art gallery, sometime it's more craft orientated. You may be lucky to live in area where there are lots of indenpendent shops. Seek them out, they pull together the best the area, and sometimes the country, has to offer in terms of art and contemporary craft and design. The staff are friendly and always incredibly knowledgeable. They are also great places to buy gifts! My favourite locally is Crafty Happenings. Check it out!

10. Shop on maker's marketplaces online.

While we all want a thriving high streets, sometimes you can't find what you want in small independent stores. Turn to Etsy, Folksy or Not on the High Street for example, to find work by independents online. Some of these platforms do have sellers that are simply buying in cheap or mass produced goods from abroad, so do try to ensure you are buying from those that obviously and genuinely design, make and create their own products. One way of doing that - read the reviews! Find my Etsy store here

I really hope you've enjoyed learning some ways you can engage with and support local creatives. Happy browsing and shopping!

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