As soon as we started packing up our witch hats and cat ears the night of October 31st . . .  we knew it was coming. 

Holiday 🎁 Shopping 🎁  Season🎁.  It’s here.

We spoke to three members of The Pledgettes community who run local businesses about what it means to shop local and how it can benefit ourselves and our community. 

And this month at The Pledgettes, as we are focused on celebrating gratitude for all things financial, we decided to weave that mindset into our holiday shopping. So how can we make this season of buy-buy-buy a season that aligns with our values, our goals and our gratitude for the things our money can do? Shop local!

Let’s dig in. 

First and foremost, shopping local will pump money right back into your local community. As Kara Armstrong from The Conscious Market – a sustainable-living store – told us, “When you shop local it’s estimated that between 48% – 70% of the money spent stays in the local economy. In addition, local businesses financially give back more of their earnings compared to large corporations too.”

We all know that every dollar we spend is a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. Understanding the impact of keeping money local is a great way to curate the kind of community you want to build. This impact is HUGE. 

Erika Righter at Hope Tank told us, “We recirculate that dollar so many times over, and it stays local. Everything you purchase at Hope Tank helps us support local community organizations doing work with our most marginalized citizens. We print thousands of stickers with community organizations’ information on them that go directly onto the products, and we talk to you about those organizations. When you give that gift, you have an opportunity for another person to learn about that work, and the ripple effect connects everyone to that local helping ecosystem.”

She continues, “Your purchase allows us to support the staff of those organizations, to support their patrons, their fundraisers, and to provide them with free event space. We also offer free space for local vendors to do pop-ups, and they keep 100% of the sales, and they will often donate a portion back to us if they’re able. We are all about using a mutual aid model for business and personal life- we all have a sphere of influence, and we need to be more strategic about how we use it.”

Kara agrees. 

“Small businesses often host community events and focus on more collaboration than corporate companies,” says Kara. “They create community, employment, and character. If you want your community to have unique features, support the local businesses to keep this culture alive. Since we’re a sustainable living store, I’d be remiss not to point out that local businesses also tend to implement more eco-practices.”

Erin Attere at Threads Worldwide, sells artisan jewelry made by women around the world. Erin believes in the power of small business to support women. “We focus on women because they invest up to 90% of their income in their families and communities,” says Erin, “I’m sure it comes as no surprise that empowering women truly is the fastest and most effective way to change the world.”

Another way to support? Shop early and with intention!

“The best way to support us, is to spend early (don’t wait for the Holidays) and often!” says Erika. “I challenge people to replace as many things that they have been purchasing from big box stores, with a local spot. Think of it as a commitment to your values and to make your dollars work harder for those values. The dollars you spend in a small business are actually recirculated locally, rather than to often out-of-state corporations. Small businesses also support each other, so when you shop at Hope Tank, you allow us to then use local recyclers, vendors, printers, etc.”

Erika, Hope Tank

Your money is POWERFUL in the world! Let’s take a look at the numbers from Kara :

“One study estimates that if every US family spent $10 more a month at local businesses it would generate 9.8 BILLION dollars in revenue.” she tells us.

“Studies have found that the most eco-option for shopping is to shop stores within 5 mile radius of your home, either by walking in or through delivery.” says Kara. “Studies have also found that 59% of small businesses reuse packaging materials at least some of the time and 7% report all the time. “

Kara, The Conscious Merchant

Erin runs a local business selling artisan jewelry made by women in small communities in eight countries around the world. Purchasing from Threads Worldwide supports those women who invest money locally to create life changing opportunities for their families and communities. 

This is yet another way that your money can powerfully support the development of community! This is a great option to add to your list to spread the love to communities around the world. And remember! “[Shopping at Threads] is no pity purchase!” says Erin. “Our pieces are absolutely stunning, and they strengthen communities while also supporting environmental sustainability and fair trade practices. “

As Erin told us, “We focus on women because they invest up to 90% of their income in their families and communities – I’m sure it comes as no surprise that empowering women truly is the fastest and most effective way to change the world.”

She continues, “Many of the artisans who handcraft our pieces are survivors of sex trafficking, have special needs, or are facing social, economic, or political hardships. This work enables them to reach their potential to thrive, not just survive.”

Erin, Threads Worldwide

So how do you support local businesses?

Shop there! Bring your friend and family to local places you love. Set aside time to go out for holiday shopping instead of getting on the computer. You can spend time in your community, connecting with others – something we all need right now! Bring your friends and family to turn a shopping experience from a “have to” to a “get to!”

And after you purchase? Post online, tag your local retailers. Word of mouth is huge for local businesses and you can lead by example in your community to keep the Shop Small, Shop Local movement going. 

Money is a powerful way to make values-aligned actions in the world. Get out there and make your dollar vote for the kind of community you want to live in!

OUR LOCAL RETAIL GALS IN THEIR OWN WORDS:  

Kara from The Conscious Merchant

Shopping The Conscious Merchant keeps jobs local, supports community connection and the mission of sustainable efforts by all. All our employees are local and our business is women-led.  

Our mission is to connect to the community and never remain stagnant so by shopping at The Conscious Merchant, you’re allowing our team to do outreach, education, increase accessibility and help small makers pilot creating refillable products. In the last 18 months alone, we’ve helped 5 small makers work towards creating refillable products and reusable products. This has included several refillable personal products and recycled wax candles.

Values are key to our business. We don’t sell products that don’t align with our ingredient selection; we change brands when sustainability feels like it’s going backwards; and we remain constant in learning together. 

Read more about The Conscious Merchant at the links below!

Erika Righter from Hope Tank 

Peruse at the below links!

Hope Tank is an awesome social enterprise (Business for Good) gift store located in Denver’s Baker neighborhood. We sell gifts that give back.

Hope Tank opened in February of 2012, and we started off selling handmade products by local artists who joined us in donating a portion of their sales to a charity of their choosing. Now, we have all kinds of awesome products from companies all over the world that we use to connect our customers to our local nonprofit partners. We also sell products from companies that build giving back into their products, but we vet them carefully, and their impact must be in the United States. Every purchase in the shop will come with a sticker that states which nonprofit we are highlighting, and will have impact in the world and we want that impact to inspire people to action.

Erin Attere from Threads Worldwide

Threads Worldwide partners with artisan cooperatives to create life-changing work in 8 countries around the world. By life-changing work, we mean just that: work that pays artisans a fair wage, empowering them to provide for their families and make a difference in their communities. 

Many of the artisans who handcraft our pieces are survivors of sex trafficking, have special needs, or are facing social, economic, or political hardships. This work enables them to reach their potential to thrive, not just survive.

There are *so* many things that I love about our impact for our artisan partners and their communities, but let’s be clear – this is no pity purchase!  Our pieces are absolutely stunning, and they strengthen communities while also supporting environmental sustainability and fair trade practices.  

Our jewelry is made from repurposed materials like tagua seeds, discarded bullhorn, paper, and bullet shell casings. It’s so powerful to think that instead of chopping down the trees in the rainforest in Ecuador, you can vote with your dollar by shopping to support practices that are environmentally sustainable to grow the economy.

Shopping Threads Worldwide isn’t just gift giving. It’s life giving – for our Artisan Partners, the environment, and women in the US who are looking to stop running the rat race and start living their dreams. 

We’re committed to making a difference in the world, and invite you to shop with heart this holiday season to change the lives of women across the globe!

Shop with Threads or engage with their community here: