I don't know how others feel about this type of thing... still I have to ask. What comes to mind when you see those super cheap K Mart, Rivers and other low low price ads offering $12 shoes, $5 T-Shirts, cheap toasters and microwaves?
Do you see it and say "Yay, it's exactly what I need"? Do you wonder why or how the prices are so low? Maybe wonder about the quality?
When I see those ads I think of sweat shops. Asians working long hours to make products that can be sold here for cheap, getting paid .2c an hour to make items that are sold for more than the people who make them are worth.
It also makes me worry about Australian small business and Australian jobs. At the same time I appreciate the aspect of sharing our wealth and offering jobs to people who would otherwise struggle to survive (though how much of the profits go to them we don't know).
When it comes to Made in China it can be quite tricky trying to find stuff that isn't. I have a friend who refuses to purchase anything that says Made in China (or Taiwan and the like). I went shopping for a gift to give her sons and found nothing she'd find suitable. It was so frustrating. Every single toy and item I picked up said Made in China!
I like to support local Australian businesses - for a number of reasons. I like Australian made. I like giving money back to our economy. I like supporting the people whose businesses keep our country running. Being a small business myself I appreciate the time and effort that goes into manufacturing a product and trying to run a successful company, therefore I like to support small businesses as much as possible.
Here are some businesses I like to shop with:
Your Cheeky Monkey. I have purchases a number of items from the lovely Monique such as cute little finger puppets, seriously good quality flannels as well as a birth of baby gift pack. Your Cheeky Monkey offers unique, eco-friendly and fair trade products and excellent service.
Eco Toys. As the name suggests their products are eco friendly, green and made with sustainable and natural resources. I love the fact that I am doing something good for the environment when I shop with them. And their service is impeccable. I purchased and item that wasn't quite right, asked them a question about the product and was sent a replacement product free of charge and it's perfect. Keeps my boys occupied for ages.
STUNTgirls. One of the things I hate the most is going clothes shopping. You know how it is. Those awful mirrors and lights that leave you feeling like everything looks crap on you. My solution to this is to shop for clothes on-line. My fear was that I would get the sizing wrong however Stuntgirls have the measurements written out so you know exactly what you're getting. Once I knew what size I was I can now order on-line knowing what I purchase will fit me, and they always throw in a little freebie. We all love a freebie!
Rainbow Designs. What can I say, chocolates and lollies delivered to your door! It just doesn't get any better than that. It's a great way to send a gift to those far away from you, those hard to buy for people whom you know LOVE chocolates and lollies - yum yum. With the price of postage included in the price and goodies delivered to your door it is an excellent gift idea. Or as a treat for yourself for cleaning the house.
Romantic Flair Original. We are serious tea drinkers in my family so it stands to reason when Your Cheeky Monkey had a competition to win a personalised coffee cup I jumped at the chance. I'm not one of those people who win things so I was pleasantly surprised to win and decided to make a personalised cup for hubby with a photo of our boys. Of course I had to order a cup for myself as well. And also ordered a cup for my mother in law who doesn't get to see her grandchildren often. Their range is way more than just cups, personalised baubles, educational toys, plates the list is huge. All created by the lovely and talented Marthese.
And of course there are some fabulous and amazing jewelery makers out there. Too many to mention I'm sure. I'm not a big wearer of jewelery myself. Too lazy to be bothered changing it up all the time. Yet jewelery is a wonderful gift for my family and friends who like the bling, pizazz, colour and fashion statement of one off beautiful pieces of work. These lovely ladies (below) have stunning handmade jewelery that I can't help but fall in love with and I'm sure you will too.
TTTreasures. Unique and funky, made with crystals, gemstones and beads from various parts of the globe, her designs are a real eye catcher to wear. Simply stunning, creative, eye catching jewelery
Creative Mandie. Does unique things with vintage buttons, recycled, natural and/or re-sued materials. So again I'm making green choices when I purchase there. I gave my mum some purple coffee cup place-mats creatively made out of vintage buttons, such a unique gift my mum couldn't help but appreciate.
Platypus Dreams artisan soaps. Now it may seem a tad odd for me to plug a competitor, yet I can't help but not do it. Platypus Dreams have some of the most amazing soaps I've seen, gorgeous, pretty, divinely scented. With a choice of fragrance or essential oil soaps. Why, they're the reason I gave up soap making... if/when I'm ever that good I'll take it up again. Until then I'll be in awe and desire for their beautiful soaps.
Bubbalooba. Now I confess I've never purchased from Bubbalooba only because I don't have any babies :( However I love her hand made products and what her business stands for. Environmentally friendly cloth nappies, wipes, wetbags and change mats, with funky designs and prints in a range of sizes. We know cloth nappies are good for the environment and supporting a local home grown business is an added plus.
JOLI Natural Skin Care. Now I can't go and talk about supporting Australian made if I don't mention JOLI and the beauty of skin care delivered to your door anywhere within Australia. Environmentally friendly skin care that also makes a wonderful gift for family and friends. I know it's easier to purchase your skin care while you're up the street doing your shopping. I also know products that sit on store shelves aren't good for you. The beauty of buying on-line from JOLI is that you don't even have to leave your house, plus the products ARE good for you.
All these businesses are home grown so you support our economy and Australian jobs when you purchase from them. I know there are loads of great Aussie businesses out there we can support and these are but a few. And I'm all for sharing our wealth amongst more poorer countries so I don't mind shopping at the big stores as well, after all it's jobs for our people, yet I think it's equally important to support small businesses who are the backbone of our country.