Shopping locally is more in style than ever, thanks to increased social responsibility and a rediscovered love for all things homegrown. Local craft guilds, farmer’s markets, community co-ops and small retail shops are gaining momentum now that consumers are making the shift from mega corporations to local love.
The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador is delighted to see this shift, as it supports more than 300 craftspeople who make a living creating high-quality, fine craft. From woodworkers to fashion designers, knitters to ceramic artists, our province is full to the brim with creative talent.
Craft has been a constant in Newfoundlanders’ and Labradorians’ lives. Our closets house sweaters, mittens, hats and scarves handknit by a loved one or purchased at a local craft shop. On our beds and sofas, colourful quilts and afghans are draped for a quick cuddle.
In our kitchens, handmade matts, plates, cups and cutting boards can be traced to local creators. Visitors compliment us on the local art and custom furnishings that adorn our homes. Friends can’t help but notice our special piece of jewellery or clothing made by local hands.
When you really stop to think about it, local craft is everywhere. And doesn’t it feel good?
Benefits of Buying Local Craft: Economic, Nostalgic & Aesthetic
Buying local craft is not only great for local producers, it also supports our economy. Craft sales contribute more than 32 million dollars a year to Newfoundland and Labrador’s financial well being. This, in turn, benefits other local businesses and allows our province’s cities and towns to thrive.
Buying local craft also creates jobs and supports entrepreneurs, which supports a stronger community and local economy. Simply put, buying locally does much more than support one craftsperson whose product you’ve taken home; it has a significant ripple effect in a very positive way.
Along with the economic benefits of buying local craft, there is also an experiential element — the feel good, “down home” nostalgia that craft can evoke. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are a proud folk, and as such, gravitate towards something distinctly local and authentic. This makes handknits eternally popular and iconic cultural motifs and landscapes among the favourites. Craft acts as an expression of their personal identity.
As shopping local continues to be a hot trend, the craft world has experienced an infusion of new shoppers, typically between 25 and 35. They are drawn to the stylish, novel, abstract and even quirky. Not surprisingly, these buyers almost always gravitate to the craft work of younger craftspeople.
Aesthetics also has a role to play, now that craft has become more cosmopolitan and fashionable. “Craft Nouveau”, if you will, has become a hot global trend. Those with discerning tastes value the exclusivity of high-end, one-of-a-kind fine art and modern craft. Whatever the reasons for buying local craft, there’s no doubt about the enjoyment and value it brings to our lives!
Top 10 Reasons to Buy Local Craft
The Craft Council Shop displays this great list of benefits that come with shopping locally, thanking the customer and showing how they’ve made a difference with their purchase. Not only did they find a beautifully handcrafted item, they walk away feeling good about spending their money locally and supporting those in their own community.
Start Your Discovery of Local Craft
Local craft abounds in every nook and cranny of this province, from the small craft shops of outport communities to the art centres of the capital city. Here are some places to start your discovery of local craft:
- Devon House Craft Centre (59 Duckworth St) is the epicentre of fine craft in the province. Home to the Craft Council office and retail shop featuring the works of hundreds of juried Craft Council members, this facility also features a free-to-the-public fine art gallery and community clay studio with workshops and classes.
- Craft Fairs & Events like the Craft Council Christmas Craft Fair and West Coast Craft Fair (every November), the Anna Templeton Centre Christmas Tea & Sale, Christmas at the Quidi Vidi Village Plantation and “Comfort & Joy” Holiday Exhibition at the Craft Council Gallery (every December); and May Day Craft Weekend (every May) to name a few.
- Local Craft Studios are open to the public or by appointment, offering visitors a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a craftsperson’s working studio, often with products for sale and live craft demonstrations to make the experience even more enjoyable. The Craft Council creates an annual Studio & Craft Demonstration Guide outlining the array of local studios across the entire province. The printed publication with map is distributed annually to tourism and visitor centres, B&Bs and downtown shops.
- Local Galleries around the province, such as the provincial art gallery at The Rooms features exhibitions, often with craft-based art displays
- Local Farmers’ Markets like the St. John’s Farmers’ Market, Some Good Market and West Coast Farmers’ Market among others, usually have handmade local craft as part of their offerings.
- Shop Online with the Craft Council’s secure online shop featuring fine craft from Craft Council members at the click of a button, ready to ship anywhere in the world.
People often don’t realize the great benefits of buying local, but reminding them is easy. It only takes a moment to mention that an item was made locally, giving a little background on where it was made, how and by whom.
Customers appreciate hearing this additional information, and it creates a connection to the item. Above all, they feel good about their purchase knowing they’ve helped support a local producer and supported the region’s economy.
Flying your local flag also extends to business owners’ behaviour outside of work. The more shopping locally becomes part of your daily lifestyle and routine, the more you’ll see others taking on that same outlook. It benefits everyone!
The Craft Council believes in the power of buying local and promotes hardworking craftspeople and their small businesses across the province. Drop by Devon House Craft Centre (59 Duckworth Street) for a glimpse into one corner of Newfoundland and Labrador’s multifaceted business world.
Written by: Jennifer Barnable
SOURCES & RESOURCES:
Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (http://www.craftcouncil.nl.ca)
Craft Alliance- Alliance métiers d’arts (http://www.buycraft.ca)
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (http://vbsr.org)
Vogue Magazine (http://www.vogue.com)
Jennifer Barnable is the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Communications Director. The Craft Council is currently celebrating its 40th Anniversary year and is proud to continue supporting the craftspeople of Newfoundland and Labrador. Follow the Craft Council on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/CraftCouncilNL) and Twitter (@CraftCouncilNL).