If lockdown has shown us anything, it’s how precarious our local business scene is. Up and down the country, shops, restaurants, and venues that closed their doors under COVID-19 are struggling to open them again. Now our high streets are back in business, it’s never been more important to side-step retail giants, support local spots, and buy quality goods - even if they take a little longer to get to you.
We get it. Single-handedly slowing the cycle of one-click, one-use ordering can feel like trying to lasso a runaway train with some dental floss and good intentions. Old habits die hard, especially when an ASOS notification boasts 70% off. Or when Amazon promises you next day delivery on that forgotten birthday present.
But don’t despair, there is still hope! Our independents might be endangered, but the local landscape is still full of lush produce, hidden gems, and one-off rarities just waiting to be discovered. All we need to do is open our eyes (and wallets) to make sure no small business goes extinct.
Still not sure you can curb that Wish addiction? Here are our five top tips for keeping it local, supporting small-time, and going greener post-lockdown.
1. Start with searching your streets
No matter what your postcode is, the No.1 way to start supporting local is to explore your city’s streets - whilst socially distancing and keeping far from peak times if possible! Take your searches off Google and over to your city’s locally-run magazine or newspaper - here you’ll find lists of local restaurants, shops, and tip-offs about new independent openings. If all else fails, start wandering down those tucked-away arcades and side streets to stumble across a treasure or two. When you do, shout them out via socials, Google reviews, or just loudly outside the shop front - you’ll make a small-businesses' day.
For Brighton-based buyers, you’re in luck. We’ve curated a round-up of some of our favourite local businesses that deserve some love - from pop up print shops to Neapolitan pizza eateries.
For our friends across the rest of the UK, we’ve got together some lists shining a spotlight on incredible independent shops, small black-owned businesses, and local restaurants in Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff, Bristol, Camden, Brixton, London, and Edinburgh. Just to get you started.
2. Get gifts that give back
Buying birthday gifts for cryptic friends is no piece of cake (we just came up with that and we’re not sorry) and it tends to be a leading cause for Urban Outfitters panic-buying. Luckily, it’s a struggle Evermade knows well, so we’ve got you covered with gifts that are made slow, made local, and made to showcase independent artists. Check out our Alternative Gift Guide and get exploring our pins, stationery, clothing, and eclectic range of prints. Plus our two newest Editions series both give back to great causes - making them gifts that give twice.
While you’re at it, resist the urge to pick up a mass-produced card at Sainsbury’s! Our wrapping paper and cards - custom-designed by our favourite artists - stick to sustainable practices and are part packaging, part keepsakes.
3. Buy your art from emerging artists
Starting with Evermade. If you’ve been looking at the same four walls for too many weeks on end, now is the time to spruce. We have hundreds of assorted prints from some of the best upcoming artists in design and illustration ready to revamp any room in your home.
If you’re on the hunt for a specific decor addition, our incredible collaborating artists are the ones to look to. In the market for rugs, pillows, or phone cases? Check out Katherine Jean Plumb. Silk scarfs and fabric? Amelia Graham. Patches and stickers? Bobbi Rae's got 'em. Go discover amazing artists in our Features and switch to a different kind of online shopping.
4. Budget too tight for boutiques? Go secondhand.
If you're coming out of lockdown with tighter purse strings but still craving a splash-out, Evermade always has you covered with sustainable products that won't break the bank. Or, you can join the fight against fast fashion and buy pre-loved.
Depop is our current go-to for securing secondhand treasures. But it's also the unsung hero for finding small, starting-out businesses who craft handmade goods, ceramics, home accessories, and even prints! Plus, the platform has pledged to donate $20,000 to the NAACP and $10,000 to "organisations fighting for racial equality and justice", so you can splurge and show support at the same time.
5. Worried about your beloved boozer? Here’s how to save it.
We won’t sugar coat it, your local pub or venue has seen better days. Out of most British industries, it will be the last to reopen, at likely less than half the capacity it could house in its glory days. If it’s always been there for you, with a pint and scampi fries at the ready, maybe it’s time to give something back.
To be a good regular, jump over to Instagram and see if your favourite bar or restaurant is offering gift cards you can cash in once they've reopened. Most independents have launched the idea, and if you’re living in London you can check out the Pay it Forward scheme to support your local haunt. These vouchers also double as great gifts for that friend who begrudgingly celebrated their birthday over Zoom during lockdown.
Photography by Polly Smith.