There is a big trend gaining ground across the country:
Going back to small and independent retailing.
We don’t have to look too far back to remember when small businesses were closing down due to having to compete with big chain companies as well as dealing with ever raising property prices. Back then we valued the commodity and prices these bigger businesses lured us with. But in time, those big businesses also succumbed to something bigger, the internet. With it, also came bigger online retailers, which seemingly would put the nail in the coffin for small businesses.
But that hasn’t been the case. In the midst of all these changes, something has also changed in our minds. We are struggling to relate to these big businesses that are so detached from our needs, that want to dictate what we should have and are shamelessly evading tax and mistreating workers and the environment across the world. That will be their downfall. The internet is helping us to realise why we should and shouldn’t buy from certain businesses: reviews and customer services are very helpful to make us aware. We are looking for alternatives and for the first time in years we are looking back at the local economy to satisfy our needs. Because this is us, we run the local economy and we have more common values than those in big offices. And the internet is also helping us find each other.
Art is in the same ball game. Look locally and you will find a wondrous collection of talented people that will have produced what you are looking for, or that will offer you the service you need. Not necessarily at a fraction of the price (although quite likely), but this time your money will be well spent – you will pay the artist and his/her outlet (some artists are not salespeople and only want to paint or make, so the role of a good local independent gallery is very useful for them). Whichever case, you will benefit from the following:
- COMPETITIVE PRICING FOR QUALITY ITEMS – Competitive doesn’t mean cheap, it means value for money. Most people would rather spend a bit more money to get what they really want and customers are starting to see every brand for what they really are and what they do behind close doors, and for that reason, these customers are starting to look elsewhere. Now discovering that locally they can often find the best products. Fore example: in the consumables local market we can find items free from plastic, free from chemicals, free from palm oil, free from cruelty… In the local Art Market more money is going to the Artist, who, earning more than through publishers and agencies will in turn produce again good quality Artwork.
- CUSTOMER SERVICE – Whether buying straight from the artist or an appointed independent gallery, you will be talking to passionate people that have the knowledge first hand. A local gallery curator will know the artist in person and will work with him or her to bring you the best and latest. Rewarding them with some purchasing can only help to make their business more vibrant and the products better. Also, keeping it local, makes solving problems easier.
- SHARED VALUES – When you buy from a local person, you get a true personal treatment. Chances are, their values and interests are closer to yours than you may imagine. Nowadays, a lot of local businesses are very conscientious of a lot of important issues and strive to do their best. Often, a special request may turn into the change you have been needing. For example: ask your local gallery to wrap your picture in cardboard and paper – it’s equally good and environmentally friendly!
- MONEY INVESTED IN THE COMMUNITY – Money spent locally, is highly likely to be spent locally again. This is a chain that can keep independent shops going for ever! That also works for areas you may not be local to but love to visit while on holidays or on days out.
- RELATABILITY – Buying from your local Art Gallery or from a local artist directly will give you that necessary connection – meeting the artist is something special, but knowing that you are an integral part of investing in that person or local business, is always a good thought to have.
- UNIQUENESS – Sometimes we can go to several galleries and see the exact same artists and prints. In nearby places or sometimes as far as London is to Scotland. Chances are, these pictures are reproductions sold by a publisher or agent, and the gallery owner hasn’t probably even met the artist. If you want uniqueness, seek your own provenance by buying from small independent Galleries.
- OUTLETS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS – The advantage of buying and investing in local businesses, is that they will be there when you need them. Close by, convenient, quality and unique. No waiting for parcels. If you value their presence, shop now. Think local when you need a present, a treat, or you just want to enjoy a nice time out. Don’t have the money to spend right now? Don’t worry, visit your local shops regularly, to them your visit is also valuable, since you can then tell other people about what they do and what they have at a precise moment.
– This article was written by Anna Ventura, owner of the Tidal Gallery. Practising artist and graphic designer, she is also passionate about Arts in the community –