Black Friday has its perks – basically snapping up household items at a fraction of their usual price. But as popular as it has become, it’s not for everyone. For thoughtful and planned purchases, Black Friday is a great opportunity to save some money, however, if you want to support UK-based businesses this year, the best thing to do is shop small.
Shopping with independent makers and craftsmen is a great way to get unique gifts, quality homewares, and bespoke or made-to-order products. It also shows your support for British craftsmanship and skill. By shopping on a small scale, you know exactly who made the purchase, how it was made and where it came from—a sense of transparency that’s often hard to find at major retailers and high-profile brands.
Independent manufacturers should be able to verify the materials they use and where their ingredients are sourced — a bit of peace of mind if you’re trying to shop more consciously.
Keep reading to discover our top three tips for supporting small businesses this Black Friday.
Use platforms that showcase many small businesses
Trying to track down small companies can seem like a chore, so we recommend using shopping platforms and websites that allow you to browse many manufacturers in one place. We’re proud to have recently launched the Country Living Marketplace, where you can shop with confidence knowing you’re supporting small, independent businesses that share Country Living’s ethos of provenance, sustainability, quality, and craftsmanship.
On the Marketplace, you’ll find hundreds of artisan products made right here in the UK and curated by the Country Living team. From handcrafted furniture and homewares to subtle embellishments, linocut prints, and eye-catching gifts, there’s something for every budget and taste. Each product is from an independent company or maker, and the marketplace allows you to shop and support many artisans quickly and easily.
Alternatively, craft fairs and markets are a great way to shop if you prefer to see physical products before making a purchase. It’s often a great way to get to know the face behind the brand, too! Country Living Christmas fairs are a lovely festive day and in 2023 we will be taking the Country Living shopping pavilions to five prestigious summer events, including the RHS flower shows and two of the UK’s most popular horse trials. At these events, you can visit the Country Living Pavilions and shop from hand-picked artisan makers and small businesses in person.
Reconsider what small businesses can buy
It’s easy to assume that small businesses specialize in crafts, and when it comes to artisan shopping, gifts and trinkets often come to mind first. However, there is no limit to what can be purchased from independent brands. From handcrafted dining tables to pet treats and cleaning products, you can use independent brands in nearly every room of the house.
We believe you can replace many of your daily essentials with a handy replacement or a little work. Replace the supermarket floor cleaner with one made by an independent company, or choose dog treats made by an artisan rather than a big-name brand. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to switch over to small businesses, and even if you change three of your usual basics to products from independent makers, it’ll make a difference.
Try the 50/50 rule when it comes to Christmas shopping
We’ll be honest – switching to 100% independent makers can be tough, especially around Christmas. It’s especially hard if you get orders for certain items, or you have limited time to get your shopping done.
Even so, we want to give you a challenge: For every gift you buy from a big business, buy another gift from a small business. The mix-and-match approach will ensure everyone gets what they ordered, plus an unexpected treat.
Instead, set a goal to shop a little for a whole type of gift. For example, stockings can only be filled with items from small businesses, or if you’re participating in Secret Santa this year, make a rule to exchange gifts from craftsmen and makers only.
When it comes to making more sustainable purchases and lifestyle choices, reduction should always come before recycling. Reduce the reuse of recycled materials. It is also important to know how to recycle as much as possible. Read our guide on how to recycle household items, furniture, electronics, beauty, fashion and technology waste. Read now