Why Buy Local?

So I’ve talked a lot about buying local and I know I advocate this a lot on Facebook and other social media. So I thought I would compile a few points as to what exactly is so important about buying local. This post will highlight why buying local can be good for YOU (and your bank balance!) as well as the planet.

QUALITY

I tend to think of quality as going hand in hand with local most of the time. Buying high quality products is really important to me: when it comes to ongoing use products (like clothing; furniture etc.) buying quality reduces the amount of waste as well as being cheaper in the long run as quality products last longer.

Example:

Cardigan Made in China: $20 each; lasts 20 wears

Cardigan Made in New Zealand: $100 each; lasts 200 wears

In this hypothetical situation, you’d have to pay $200 to get the same number of wears out of the Chinese made cardigan as the New Zealand made one which is only $100 up front. Think of this as an investment.

 

Of course, that’s not to say that all products made in China are poor quality; nor are all products made in NZ good quality. This is just a pattern I have found purchasing chain store clothing which is typically made overseas as it is cheaper…. and you get what you pay for!

Living in New Zealand, I find that our products are generally produced to a high standard. This is due to a number of reasons, including the fact that New Zealand has stricter labour laws than a lot of the LDCs (Least Developed Countries) where a lot of our products are made quickly and cheaply. Production laws are often stricter as well, which means there are more quality controls in place. This I think is particularly important when you’re looking at food products and what chemicals food is exposed to, and the hygiene of those handling it.

New Zealand brands also tend to be more accountable to their customers. I’ve whittled this down to two main reasons:

Visibility

New Zealand brands are often promoted as the “pin ups” for our economy by all manner of enterprise and business organisations. They tend to be heavily promoted within the country and have a certain element of “kiwiness” which draws in customers. Their “kiwiness” and marketing tends to draw in a loyal customer base who are more informed about the business’ dealings than we are with international business. As a result, any bad publicity goes around our small community very quickly, and can break a brand.

Accessibility

In addition to being visible, New Zealand brands tend to be much more accessible to their customers. Due to our small population, and hence small market, they often find it advantageous to engage in a variety of forums. Social media is often really important, especially as small start-ups look for organic support from friends, family and other acquaintances to spread news. Being engaged on social media is often a smart choice for small businesses, but the flip side is that they need to be accountable to their customers. Dissatisfied customers can post comments that will be seen by potentially thousands of other customers. Also, businesses are usually easily indexed with contact details, business addresses and so on. So even those who aren’t on social media can contact them easily.

For example, if you bought a NZ made garment that falls apart after a few wears, it’s much easier to go direct to the manufacturer than if bought from an international brand where the manufacturing and product process isn’t so clear and transparent to the customer.

TRANSPORT

Buying locally made products has a huge effect on your carbon footprint. Local products cost less to transport from manufacture to market, both in dollar terms and in environmental terms. Think about where the majority of your wardrobe comes from and imagine the shipping trips and the oil that has had to go into shipping that item to you. Depending on your product, buying local can also make it cheaper as less has been invested in transport.

For a great tool that is fun for adults and the kids alike, check out the Food Miles Fuel Project to find out how far your product has come. You can even see how far into outer space we would be able to travel on the food miles tracked through their site.

SUPPORTING LOCAL COMMUNITIES

This is the main reason I find it is really important to buy locally made products. As with all conscious consumerism, we are ultimately voting with our wallets. You have a say in who you support by choosing whose products you buy. Supporting local businesses reaches further than just the success of one business. That business provides jobs for New Zealanders not only within their own four walls but for all the other businesses they come in contact with- from textile creators, to designers, to couriers and packaging companies. This is all about the ripple effect- your actions (and your purchases!) have a ripple effect that goes outwards further than you might imagine- wouldn’t you rather make a ripple for your local community and economy?

 

Coming up next post: How to Buy Local without Breaking the Bank: Tips for getting bang for your buck

 


K

8 thoughts on “Why Buy Local?

  1. I definitely try to make an effort to buy locally and shopping small business. I’ve worked in the fashion industry and the majority of work is contracted overseas. The clothing company I worked for was produced in Los Angeles in the heart of the Fashion District. I know that for many companies who end up growing take their business overseas due to the cost of labor. In many ways it tainted my shopping experience since I know how much it costs to make something. Luckily I own a store that sells vintage and reconstructed vintage so it goes hand in hand with reusing and recycling. Also, I have nominated you for a Liebster Award, you can check it out at the link below. Have a great day! xo, Fancy http://seefancylove.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/liebster-blog-award/

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    • That’s awesome to hear you’ve had that experience first hand. Did you find the products made in LA were more expensive from a shoppers point of view? Did it get cheaper over the long run/ as there was more demand? In NZ we have a big barrier that NZmade seems to be double the price or more which makes it unaffordable for lots of people. Awesome thanks Fancy! Can’t see the link on my phone but will check it out when I’m on my laptop! Xx

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      • I think because of the stores we sold in the customer was used to spending a lot. Since I know how much it cost to produce something, I’m more keen on not forking out the money. I also know garment construction so I’m so critical on how things are made. Garments made in LA can run higher whrn the quantities are small. It’s better if quantities are high because cost will go down. The price that the companies choose depend on their own costing but I would say made in USA typically seem more expensive than say made in China.

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      • Yeah that’s the same here. I just wish there was enough demand here for NZ made products that we could get the costs down by being able to do bigger runs 😦 baby steps though, hopefully in future!

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      • Yes, hopefully NZ can one day get to that point! New Zealand is on my list of places to go. I took Air NZ to London and everyone was so nice!

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      • Come visit us! Most kiwis are pretty friendly! 😀 we have a pretty cool fashion scene and some awesome local designers, it’s just that it’s all so expensive!

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  2. Pingback: Keen on Green? What Does it all Mean? Pt.1: Why Buy Local? | FOODgirl UK - Jennifer Parker

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