There’s been a lot of focus on finding ways to shop small this Christmas, although because it’s 2020 it’s not that simple. Here are some handy links to places you can get your Christmas shopping done and support small businesses at the same time – including Jem Loves to Draw.
The other C-word
It’s been a tough year for small businesses and in the run up to Christmas there’s another unavoidable C-word to negotiate, Covid-19. Or is that two words? Anyway. With all non-essential shops being forced to close until Wednesday 2 December at the earliest, makers like me have fewer selling opportunities and Christmas shoppers have fewer shopping opportunities.
This time last year I was planning for markets every weekend. While a part of me is glad that I won’t be spending every Saturday and Sunday stood outside in all weathers, I am really going to miss meeting customers in person and soaking up the festive market vibes. And mulled wine.
But fear not, there are still lots of ways to get your festive shopping done and support small businesses at the same time.
Us small businesses are an adaptable bunch, with lots of shops moving online and offering click-and-collect services instead. Here’s a run down of some of the ways you can shop small this Christmas, without even leaving your sofa.
Bristol Pop-Up Shop
The Bristol Pop-Up Shop is home to over 100 Bristol indie businesses including me! It’s the perfect place to start your Christmas shopping and find unique and special gifts from the comfort of your home.
All products are posted to you straight from the makers, so you know you’re directly supporting local Bristol businesses. With free UK shipping on all products, it’s nice and easy for customers too.
Shop now at bristolpopupshop.co.uk
This website allows you to visit Bedminster’s high streets online. It’s a one-stop shop for local gifts, art supplies, fresh food, produce and services. You can browse each shop and choose local delivery or click-and-collect.
You’ll find my lovely North Street stockist Independent Design Collective on there, as well as lots of other local shops.
Shop now at wearebs3.co.uk
Bristol Market brings local market traders together for weekly online markets. These feature a different selection of small businesses every week and are promoted through the Bristol Market Facebook page and Instagram feed. Markets take place every Friday from 8pm for 24 hours and they’re a great place to grab a bargain or sneaky discount code.
Find out more at bristolmarket.co.uk
In person. In December. Maybe.
The current lockdown restrictions in England expire on Wednesday 2 December, so hopefully we’ll all get the chance to do some of our shopping in person this year. When we can, be sure to show local shops and independent businesses some love. They will have missed you as much as you’ve missed them.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re buying this Christmas, there’s a way to shop small for it. Whether it’s chocolates from your local deli, Lego from a family-run toy shop or books from an independent bookshop. There’s no getting away from the fact that big retailers are often cheaper, but if you can shop small you will get a better quality product and better service. Plus there’s the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you’re supporting people rather than profits.
If you’re in Bristol, check out my regular stockists for a collection of lovely independent shops and cafés stocking work by local artists and makers.
Winter Pop-Up Shop
The opening of this year’s Winter Pop-Up Shop organised by the Bristol Etsy Team is postponed. However, restrictions permitting, you will find them back in their lovely unit on the first floor at The Galleries Shopping Centre (inside by Waterstones) from Thursday 3 to Monday 23 December.
I’m keeping everything crossed that the shop can open in December, when you’ll be able to find my products in store alongside lots of other talented Bristol makers.
Stay tuned for updates at bristoletsyteam.co.uk/pop-up-shop
If in doubt, Etsy
Etsy is a global online marketplace, where you can buy hand-crafted and vintage products from millions of independent makers. From organic baby clothes to hand-thrown pottery. From craft kits to original artwork. You name it, it’s on Etsy.
Lots of Etsy shops (myself included) offer free standard UK delivery and dispatch orders within 2 working days, so you can get all the perks of shopping with the big retailers while supporting small businesses.
Visit my Etsy shop: jemlovestodraw.etsy.com
A final word of advice if you’re shopping small, particularly online, this year is to shop early.
Online sales rely on delivery services to get your orders to you on time and Royal Mail are already experiencing high levels of demand. So if you can get your orders in early, please do. And if you’re sending on gifts by post, keep an eye on Royal Mail’s last recommended Christmas post dates on their website: royalmail.com/christmas/last-posting-dates
Shopping early also helps shops to manage their stock levels, meaning that you won’t miss out on any limited edition or one-off items. And it eases some of the December stress, leaving you with more time to snuggle up with a Christmas film and a mug of mulled something.
Jingle all the way
Personally I’m really looking forward to Christmas shopping this year. I’ve already ticked off a few key people and picked up some lovely gifts from my maker friends.
If you’re struggling for gift inspiration, check out my Christmas gift guide blog post. And if you’ve got any recommendations for indie shops and makers, drop them in the comments below.