I'd like to think that my brilliant idea for a business came from a purely altruistic need to help my community and offer a consistent revenue stream for artists, but part of my reasoning came from pure frustration. I can usually see the logic behind an issue - the pandemic closed factories, hospitalized workers from all facets of the economy, so of course my Amazon Prime 2 Day shipping wasn't possible.
But I was addicted!
Two days! In two days I could get my hands on anything! I could send a gift, organize my pantry, learn a language, fertilize my lawn - It. Was. Glorious.
I'm embarrassed to admit that there were a few really dark days for me during the first lock down. I had three birthdays that needed a gift mailed, I had a new puppy that was in desperate need of toys and pee pads, and I had recently discovered diamond painting so I obviously required several kits to see me through the spring. Only, I had to wait anywhere from one week to three months for delivery.
Waiting for deliveries allowed for a great deal of self-reflection. I had always celebrated globalization, the blurring of borders, the acceptance that we benefit from the sense of mutual support and reliance. What I hadn't considered was the stress globalization places on the local economy. Don't worry, I'm not going to drag you down the rabbit hole that was my April 2020 journey, the Coles Notes version is this:
The health of a local economy relies upon the health of its small businesses.
A community able to support itself will be less likely to be negatively affected by economic downswings. This is because the majority of the revenue generated by the community is invested back into itself. This economic cycle strengthens itself over time; a stronger community will see the value in investing back into that same community and will be able, and looking, to support new businesses.
What Amazon has created is incredible. I am not able to fully extricate myself from the drug that is Prime, but the horrible gift that 2020 gave me was insight into the role I was playing within my community. I was an artist who had to peddle my pieces at art shows and markets, I may never have reached the stage where I could open a gallery, reinvesting in my community and creating jobs. But I was guilty of looking outside of my community for supplies, choosing American printing companies instead of one of the two print shops in my own town, believing that the convenience of ordering online outweighed the impact my business could have for these stores. When the global supply chain collapsed I had no choice but to reflect on the systems I had supported in the past and whether or not I would continue to support them or begin to throw my financial weight towards fortifying local businesses and systems.
Please allow me to now step down off of my soap box and direct your attention to the combined efforts of The Guild (smooth transition, right?!). The Guild Box Co. is a collection of local small businesses and artisans, offering a wonderfully unique way to approach gift giving - you should really check us out!