OPINION: Cartloads of unique things to buy in shops and online

Raelene HallMidwest Times
There are a range of wonderful products available from small businesses.
Camera IconThere are a range of wonderful products available from small businesses. Credit: Sam Cormack

There is always a lot of talk about how online shopping is destroying bricks and mortar businesses and, in some cases, it may be true.

I think another factor in the loss of some businesses may be more to do with the huge rents they are expected to pay for buildings or a space in a shopping centre.

I am a fan of shopping in stores and, especially, in local stores, whenever possible. Just recently I found my favourite masseur sandals at our local chemist. I’d been looking for them for ages in the city with no luck.

The chemist told me it took him 12 months to get them, but get them he did, and so made a sale.

Local stores don’t, and often can’t, stock everything we need, and I fully accept that.

We are pretty lucky that there aren’t a great many basic items we can’t source locally. Clothes and shoes (except masseur sandals!) are examples of things I can’t buy locally.

Online shopping is very convenient, but I often find myself looking at items online, putting them in the cart and then cancelling the order. One of the advantages of online shopping I do like is being able to try things on at home and making a decision without any pressure.

By far, though, my favourite form of online shopping is from the incredible array of talented people, making and selling their own products. I love supporting these businesses. Being so far from shops I always like to have a few gifts on hand for special occasions eg. new babies.

To be able to buy hand-marbled baby clothes or beautiful matching panties and bonnet sets, sewn to an incredibly high standard is wonderful.

I’m happy to pay a bit more and the cost of postage because I know I am helping another small business by purchasing and gifting their products. I am also promoting their business to the recipient of the gift.

The range of gifts is immeasurable from art, clothing, accessories and photos to stationary, Manchester, toys and more. Some of these businesses are run by friends but it’s not just because of our friendship that I support them. It’s because their products are unique, high quality and, I believe, value for money.

These businesses aren’t out to destroy anyone else. They just want to make money from their talents. Nothing wrong with that.


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