Friday, November 26, 2010

10 top reasons to buy locally made stuff

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We might be preaching to the choir here, but let us entertain you with our own take on why buying locally made stuff is important.

1. Supporting your neighbor. Thanks to your choice of buying a locally made article, you are supporting a craftsman, your neighbor actually, who, like you, pays the insane property taxes, sends children to college, and attempts to live a respectable life on Long Island. It may not be easy on your regular salary, it is even more difficult for somebody whose livelihood may not be so settled. It takes time, energy, and lots of trial and error to produce a good quality, beautiful object.

2. Value of price. Your locally made article will most likely be more expensive than a mass produced item of a similar function. This is not necessarily bad. You will probably buy fewer such items (think of the time and energy saved on the next decluttering project!) but become very fond of each one you get. You will learn to care for it and it will serve you for a long time.

3. Value of beauty. Since you will expect to shell out more on a locally made item, you will make sure it is not only functioning as expected but it is also pretty. There are obvious benefits to surrounding yourself and people you love with beautiful things.

4. Value of spirit. Your holiday list may include people you would rather serve poison than offer a gift. Statistically speaking you are not alone. However, judging by a relatively low murder rate on Long Island, you probably go and buy that gift every year. Maybe for once you will make it something special and get a meaningful, locally made item. Even if this does not turn out to be a life changing experience for the gift receiver (well, some folks are just beyond repair), you may gain a new respect for yourself. A local artist will definitely be grateful!

5. Uniqueness. Anybody ever subjected to an embarrassment of spending a more or less formal evening in a dress identical to a dress worn by another guest will attest to the horrors of such a situation. Even the most resolute sense of humor may not be enough to lessen the mental anguish and carry the evening. Buying a hand made, unique dress, necklace, ring, scarf, etc, should liberate you from such unpleasantness. You may value it highly, unless, of course, you are a twin.

6. Distance less traveled. Granted, Long Island, though rich in many ways, does not produce a lot of raw materials - fabrics, metal, paper are all brought from other places. By having the final item made locally you remove at least one leg from the travels of a product.

7. Creative up-cycling. Many artists and craftsmen reuse items already here, be it a recycled glass or a rewoven fabric. No large factory could afford being so creative and so environmentally progressive.

8. Value of knowing the person behind the product. You have an opportunity to meet the artist or craftsman who made your mug, bowl, jam, soap, scarf, etc. You develop a new appreciation for the work done by the talented folks and for their creative process. It never hurts to let a bit of admiration for their ingenuity, skill, and passion to enter your life. Who knows, maybe you will feel inspired and try your hand at spinning, weaving, pottery, wood turning, etc.

9. It is made safely. Your neighbor, the artist, is less likely to pollute your air and water - he/she and his/her family are breathing and drinking the same air and water you are consuming.

10. It is easy to be green. Buying locally made things is probably the easiest environmental investment aside from replacing your old light bulbs and fixing leaky faucets. Everybody benefits from your simple choice - you, your friends and family, the artists, and Long Island.

Buy local. Shop Long Island.

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