5 Reasons to Shop Locally

Shopping is fun for most people. You go shopping and usually you buy what you need or like. It is a fun process for many. Most of the time the criteria to shop are if the items are of good quality, and if they have a price tag you are willing to pay. But there are more criteria for shopping that will be very interesting for you to think about for a moment. For instance, do you know the whole history behind the product or the shop you purchase goods? Do you know where the money you spend goes to? Besides you buying something new and exciting, you spending money at a certain local shop can be life-changing for many people, for many reasons.Let me explain to you.

Some communities make easy guides to their local shops.Some communities have easy guides to their local small businesses and shops 

 

5 reasons to shop locally

1. When you shop at a local shop, you spend your money in a way that helps the shop owner and his or her family directly.

You are not sending your money off to another big corporation. If these small business owners earn money, they can take care of themselves and their family, and keep their business open. Sometimes you even get a better deal than at a big brand store. But most important: you are basically making sure these people, your neighbors, can make a living. Isn't that alone already a really good reason to spend your money in local shops?

Lonneke at AUH20 I love the cute finds and incredible low prices at AUH2O in the East Village! (Still in business!)

2. You get the best service

Small, local business owners care about the goods they sell very much. They have the most know-how of the products they sell, sometimes they make it themselves. In that case you can find out exactly how the products are made, something I always like to know. You just can't get any better advice on these products anywhere else. (Imagine big shops with employees that really don't care about you or the products they sell?) In the case you experience a problem, it is easy to speak directly to the person who owns the shop. These small business-owners exist on giving good service, and will find a product or service that will custom-fit your needs. They also will be helping out when there is a problem. They just want you to be a returning and loyal customer, and will do almost everything to make you, the customer happy with your purchased goods. When shopping locally, you can feel like people really listen to you, and really want to help you.

I did not know what bubble tea I should choose, so the owner of Thirstea NYC made me a custom-made bubble tea.the owner of Thirstea NYC in East Village made me a custom-made bubble tea (unfortunately out of business)

3. You support your local community

When you get out of your house, and see how the streets and shops in your neighborhood look, or how the local children's playground looks, imagine that when you spend your money in a local shop, your money will help care for these important building blocks in a community. Whether through taxes, or through direct payments from local business owners, they all together can make living in your community a pleasure. So putting it simple: when you spend locally, most of your money stays locally, and is spend again locally.

Lonneke Engel at Sustainable NYC

My friend Munemi and I at eco-friendly shop Sustainable NYC in East Village (unfortunately also out of business)

4. Bringing diversity to products offered

If we only buy products from big companies, the diversity in offered products will decrease. That's why it is important to shop with people who offer different products, and maybe even show their true craftsmanship. Also, by giving individuals a chance to make a living, it can pave the way for new ideas to develop into better products than the ones that already offered.

Actress Jennifer Esposito has a gluten free bakery in the East VillageActress Jennifer Esposito opened an 100% gluten-free bakery in East Village NYC: Jennifer's Way. (also out of business)

5. Social contacts

If you shop locally, you get to know who lives in your neighborhood. Your social contacts will become stronger. Remember, a community is build on the people who live in it. The more active the people in a community are working on strengthening their local community, the better and nicer it will be to live in it. And you might even make new friends too!

Vito the Dog, Navy Lamey at Local NYC

Vito the Dog and my nephew Navy Lamey are chilling at Local Cafe NYC in Soho after our trip to the East Village. Local has since become a bar to have drinks at night instead of a café.

What I like the best about shopping locally is the enthusiasm of local business owners. They are passionate about what they sell, they really chose to be in that business. I love all the information I get from them, and I am always excited to return. I hope my 5 reasons to shop locally has inspired you to explore your local community.

Love, Lonneke

First published on July 29th 2015, updated in 2019

p.s. As you can see most businesses I gave as an example have gone out of business. Unfortunately that is what happens if too little people support them so they are financially strong to survive. So if you know of a small business in your hometown, please support them, so they can stay in business and feed their families!

 

 


Vintage is the original Green Fashion

Really, you can officially call all clothing made before the 80's "vintage", but let's just call all the good, quality and beautiful clothing vintage. Are you with me?  I hope so!

What is vintage

Vintage is really recycling and keeping clothes from going into the landfills, so Vintage is the original Green Fashion!

Vintage is the original Green Fashion - Lonneke Engel

I always feel very happy when I find an item that used to be pricey, is in great shape, and looks beautiful.  And if the price is low now, and it fits me, it's a deal!  Most of the time people compliment me more when I wear something that they don't recognize as something they have seen in recent fashion shows.

Great vintage shops are everywhere!

New York City for instance has many secondhand and vintage stores.  Some focus on the 40's and 50's, others on mainstream brands for extremely cheap. The trick is to really dig in, and really look at each piece of clothing.  Maybe one of them is your gem.

Other places to find vintage

There are many other places to find amazing vintage.  What about your mom's closet?  Maybe your grandmother's closet?  The thing with fashion trends are that they come back every so many years, of course reinvented.  So what is old and ugly right now, you might want to keep in your closet a few years--it might be fashionable again.

Magic closet

Also, I keep a "Magic Closet", where I store all my unwanted clothing.  Coats, dresses, bags, shoes, you name it. I either sell, give clothes away, or donate. I also look into this closet every few months, because you might start liking an item again, maybe because you lost or gained weight and it now fits!  If you do have unwanted clothing, you can do the same. You can donate, sell or swap, or bring it to collection points in your area.  Those clothes will find a good new owner. You can sell it online at many places including RealReal,Letgo, Thredup, Poshmarkand Ebay !

READ MORE: Organize your shoe closet

Swap Party

Organize fun parties with your (girl) friends to swap clothes. Super fun! My friends come whenever they want, and exchange clothes with me.  This way I find something new, and they do as well.  It gives you the same feeling as when you go shopping; but this way it is shopping for free, so it feels even better!

If you are actually looking to expand your wardrobe, ask first if friends have some stuff they want to get rid of.  Most of the time they then suddenly think of that one dress they haven't worn and you might like... Otherwise: go shopping!

Did you know a lot of celebrities get their unique pieces from vintage stores or flea markets?

In the Netherlands my friends of Doortje Vintage (great online vintage webshop) started LENA Library in Amsterdam and they have made it a business for people to borrow vintage (or green fashion) from their fashion library. You become a member and can come get nice pieces all the time! Check them out when you are in Amsterdam.

A few of my favorite vintage stores around NYC

AUH2O

Best prices and cute clothing. I have found many things $3-10 that I wear a lot!

located in the East Village.

www.AUH20.com

Beacon's closet

You can also bring your clothes here to sell! Really nice collection they have of vintage and some more modern day designers.

Great prices.

Multiple locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

www.beaconscloset.com

Stella Dallas

Unfortunately, they just closed my favorite location on Thompson street!

But this is the place to go for 50's & 60's dresses. I found my wedding dress here!

www.stelladallas.com

INA NYC

High-end designer consignment.

www.inanyc.com

What Goes Around Comes Around

More really old pieces, found all over the world, really one of a kind leather belts, antique clothing and more

www.whatgoesaroundnyc.com