Monday, January 10, 2011

Wandering the World for Handmade and More

Shopping "local" is an age-old tradition that is coming of age again as it relates to Internet shopping. Growing up back in the 60's on Chicago's far south side, our neighborhood had everything you could conceivably need within walking distance of a mile or two. Within a block or two of my childhood home, just shopping-wise we had a large grocery store, a corner drug store, a hardware store, a dress boutique, a hardware store, a five and dime, a bakery, a yarn and craft shop, and a haberdashery. If you hopped on a bus, within 5 miles in 2 directions were complete shopping districts (we didn't have malls back then!) with department stores and specialty shops selling everything from A-Z.

Then, as the explosion of internet shops took over, people didn't have to leave the comfort of their homes to shop anymore... and many local businesses suffered as a result. With the economic crash of 2008, communities found themselves struggling to maintain their tax bases and keep money local and the idea of "shopping local" became more than a matter of convenience - it's become a vital way to provide your local economies with an opportunity to see money stay in communities to fund programs, and sustain and even encourage the growth of smaller businesses...which in turn means more jobs and options to make money.

I realize many people gripe about the taxes they have to pay when they buy local, but you have to remember that sales tax produces funds necessary to pay for things like law enforcement, infrastructure, growth, and any number of other government funded "perks."

Keeping all of this in mind, I thought it would be fun to pick a different locale from around the world and introduce you to some shops that will allow you to "shop local" - and if you're like me and have tons of family and friends spread out across the country, it's kind of nice to find shops that are "local" for all of them when gift giving occasions arise! For those of you who are tired of the "same old, same old" in your local stores, it'll also give you a chance to see what's trendy or exotic or just simply appealing from places all around the world as well!

So, here's how this feature will work! Contact me (you can use the link in the menu above) with your shop information and locale (city, state, and/or country) and I'll add you to my list of locales. My selections from that list will be totally random, and if you're the first one who submitted that particular locale, your shop is guaranteed to be included in a "shop local" feature along with other shops in your general geographic area. Your shop qualifies as long as you sell handmade or vintage items, services or supplies that are eligible for sale on marketplace websites like Etsy, Artfire, or Zibbet. I'll also keep a list of scheduled locales on my "Be Featured" page and if you live in or near any of them, please contact me and there's a good chance your shop will be included in my feature as well!

I'm hoping to post a couple of these features a week, but the more popular it is, the more I'm willing to promote! So send me your information and stop by often to check out my selections as I wander the world for handmade and more!

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