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Mount Pleasant Farmers Market
Original photo by Sophia Thomas

Shopping Small: It’s Important!

Fast fashion is an easy shopping choice these days; it’s right at your fingertips whether it be in-store or online, and can be defined as cheap and trendy. But under its surface, fast fashion is detrimental to the environment, makes millions off of the exploitation of women and children, and takes away from small business owners who work hard to create quality products. Here are some crucial tips on how and where to start effectively shopping small.

Explore on Etsy, RedBubble, and Society 6

If you are intimidated by seeking out local small businesses, you can start by perusing these sites that provide artwork, clothing, and décor from small sellers trying to make a name for their businesses. Etsy is known for having quality custom-made gifts for birthdays, holidays, and special events, whereas Society 6 is known for its eclectic home décor. Redbubble is notorious for having tons of laptop and water bottle sticker designs catered to any taste. These websites often hold sales, and part of their proceeds go directly to the creators themselves. Here are my favorite artist recommendations from these platforms: 

  • Lisa A Design on Society 6 creates wall art based on popular Italian drinks after living in Italy for two years and falling in love with the country’s food and drink culture. 
  • Sydthepsychic on Etsy is a young woman who practices psychic readings, and from personal experience, they are legit. If you don’t believe me, she has over 10,000 sales with glowing reviews, so go check her out! 
  • Ewwdavid on Redbubble has an aesthetic Schitt’s Creek sticker collection, and also has some Taylor Swift stickers, which is a plus too. 

Search on Social

Social media is the current hub for tons of small business owners, specifically Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Instead of directly heading to American Eagle or Forever 21’s websites for a clothing haul, try searching on social media for Instagram boutiques and thrift shops close by or who ship their products out. Social media businesses have some of the most interesting clothing and jewelry pieces that you will be sure to get compliments on while also contributing to the betterment of the planet. There are several businesses I could recommend here, but I will limit my current favorites to Connecticut residents: 

  • The Two Oh Three is the perfect shop if you are a born-and-raised Fairfield County local like me, offering both 203 area code merchandise and also some 860 area code merch as well! They are known for apparel, drinkware, accessories and of course, their best-selling baseball caps. 
  • Bela’s Beads on Instagram is run by Bela Yoguez, a young female business owner who has had tons of success with her custom-made jewelry over the past year. She caters to current trends and aesthetics, and uses beautiful colors and charms to make your dream jewelry collection. 
  • Poppy_Lane_Designs on Instagram has just recently started their small business, but has already had tons of success given the creator’s amazing artistic abilities. Nicole Lane, a sixth grade English teacher, has used her painting skills to produce custom-made clothing and crafts mainly for families to enjoy. 

Discover Farmer’s Markets

Farmers’ markets are arguably the most exciting part of shopping with small businesses because of the amazing food vendors you can find. Although food is not considered fast fashion, contributing to a local farm by purchasing their fruits and veggies instead of heading to the nearest grocery store or buying a coffee from a local café instead of Starbucks can benefit both the seller and the buyer. Here are some of my personal favs when it comes to fresh, local food vendors: 

  • Say Cheesecake! LLC is another Connecticut business by Dana Arco, a true foodie who has always had a passion for cooking and baking. She invented the “chookie,” which is a mini cheesecake formed with an Oreo crust. Her flavor combinations are limitless, so feel free to check out her Instagram for any holiday, special occasion, or on a random Tuesday, because we all deserve cheesecake every once in a while. 
  • Yellow King Brews specializes in cold brew, and has insanely delicious Nutella and Cookie Monster-themed cold brews offered at local CT farmers’ markets. They are opening a storefront soon in Wallingford, CT where they will also serve beer in addition to their coffees and specialty teas!
  • Cinnabomb Mini Donut Factory will be sure to convince you to skip out on Dunkin’ for the rest of your life due to its heavenly mini cinnamon sugar donuts that are always served warm. They also offer 32 oz. lemonades in nine different flavors, and 32 oz. iced coffees. Do you really need any more convincing? The Cinnabomb donut truck can be found at several events happening in Fairfield County, so keep your eyes peeled. 

So, use these recommendations to start shopping small and venture into your area to find local businesses that you can support. If you feel good when it comes to the way that you are spending your money, your overall happiness will begin to improve.

Grace is a senior Journalism and English double major at the University of Connecticut. When she's not writing for Her Campus, you can find her making drink creations as a Starbucks barista, headed to spin class, reading the newest books, or writing for the Daily Campus!
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