The above has been part of my tagline on Instagram for some time now because it very much sums up my consumer philosophy.
Part of the draw to move back to Deal was the ability to do all my shopping on the local High Street, especially with its independent shops selling local goods (see blog post here).
I really believe in trying to support small business rather than “the big guy” and always try and invest in well made things. I sound a bit wanky if I start saying that I try and shop sustainably, but I do prefer things with a history or a story, and if I do buy new, I’d prefer something that’s had a bit of thought put into it. “Every time you buy something, you’re casting a vote about the kind of world you want to live in.” and I want to live in a world which supports talent and people who have a real passion for what they produce.
Instagram has been a great place for me in this regard, with its plethora of small businesses. It’s lovely to think I’ve helped someone get their business off the ground when each sale means so much.
So when Alex at The Home of Handmade contacted me to be a brand ambassador I was thrilled.
I didn’t jump straight in. A few companies had contacted me, some of them larger brands, and although I’d be lying if I said I’d never shop in a chain store, it wasn’t the sort of company I wanted to dip my toes in the ambassador water with.
So. I did some research. I asked Alex some questions. I asked my Instagram followers (I figure if they’re going to be on the end of some, albeit subtle, advertising the least I could do was ask if they thought it was a good idea).
Alex’s business was the perfect fit for me. As the name suggests she stocks items for the home which are handmade in this country and carefully considers all the artisans she works with.
Grainscak cushions from @the.home.of.handmade
I asked Alex about her philosophy and since I couldn’t put it any better, I’m just going to directly quote her:
“The Home of Handmade is built upon values; Kindness, Love and Passion. This is embedded in everything we do, from our social media, customer service and our tribe of makers and the products they create. I aim to create a feel good business, that employs great people, works with amazingly talented individuals and means that our customers can access truly unique items to help put their own unique stamp on their homes, or to share as a gift with loved ones. All our products are handmade with love and passion poured into every item. It really is a labour of love.”
Her long term plan is to become an online hub for homemade UK products, holding some pop-ups (which I will be busting a gut to get to!) and eventually setting up a flagship store without losing sight of each of the incredible craftswomen and men that she works with.
Candle block from @the.home.of.handmade
I also wanted to take the opportunity in this post to mention some other Instagram businesses which I have supported (not as an ambassador, just because love them!) and continue to do so.
Here’s a round up of my favourites:
Amanda’s candles are beautiful. She sources unique and interesting vessels and the scent throw is amazing. They burn forever* too.
Haley creates tags and labels which I’ve used extensively on my jars. She’s accommodating to whatever you ask her to create.
Lisa shares my love for enamel and for beautiful yet practical homewares. If you’ve got to clean the toilet it might as well be with a pretty loo brush, no?!
Liz creates beautifully doodled ceramics. I own a teapot, mugs and several cake plates. She also sells through RedBubble and has her own textiles range.
Couldn’t do this particular blog post without mentioning this local doodling genius – from adult colouring books to tattoo designs to unique artwork for your walls (and I love his whimsical take on my local area) there’s literally something for everyone. Here are my two colouring a couple of Steve’s prints. Kept them entertained for hours…
My sincere hope is that this helps you to find some unique and fantastic products which support a small business next time you need a gift or something for your home.
I haven’t even scratched the surface in this post, and no doubt I’ve forgotten someone crucial!
*not actually forever but moreorless…