Who Said You Can’t Have it Both Ways: How to Keep the Money Flowing Between Us and Support Local Businesses

I get asked a lot about ways to help support fellow BRA members.

After all, we’re a strong community of empowered women and supporting each other is what we do best. Sometimes that means product or event collaborations, sharing each other’s stuff on social media, or throwing back a few drinks and blowing off steam at Thirsty Thursdays.

But what’s the easiest, most direct way to support each other?

Carrie Murray, founder of BRA, Shop Local

Keep the money flowing between us!

 

As women and moms, statistically most of us get to choose where our dollars go. And with every dollar you invest in another woman, you strengthen our community.

 

But you don’t need to have money pouring out of your ears to do this, just the right mindset.

Here are a few tips to keep the money flowing between us:

Get over sticker shock.

Shopping local ain’t cheap. We’re lucky and proud to support the many BRA members who make and sell their products right here in LA. They head down to the garment district, wheel and deal over the cost of fabrics and textiles to get their customers the best prices, and then they actually have to make the damn thing. After all of the energy and effort that goes into producing products locally and in small quantities, they deserve to turn a profit. You just can’t have Walmart prices when you make and source your products locally.

Boutique is usually better.

It’s up to us as consumers to figure out how to balance supporting local brands within our individual budgets. Start by setting realistic expectations for yourself, whether you’re doing your holiday shopping or just buying a few select pieces for your more sustainable wardrobe. You won’t necessarily always be able to support a local business, but you can start making a more concerted effort and you’ll be happy you did in the long run when your locally sourced item far outlasts the item you would have bought that came cheaply made from overseas (probably in a sweatshop...just sayin’). Shopping small and shopping local keeps the money in our neighborhood economy. We flourish because we have each other.

Shop small or say “Fuck it” and go to The Gap.

Yes, we all love Target for the essentials. Personally, I love my Method hand soap, but sometimes I find myself pausing in various aisles of the store thinking, “I know who I could get this greeting card from,” or “I know a BRA member who makes these earrings.” All it takes is a few extra minutes to make two shopping lists and support a local business by buying things you already planned to get.

Stop giving away your shit for free.

Seriously. When you give away your shit for free, you are prostituting all of us. I’ll say it again. Make sure you’re listening. Stop giving away your skills, talents, and products for FREE. Give samples for free to introduce new people to your work, but don’t give away the whole damn thing you’ve spent months working so hard on.

First and foremost, you’re being unkind to yourself by undervaluing you, your work, and your time. Second of all, it undervalues all of us. You’re not doing anyone any favors by handing your shit out.

Friends don’t ask for things for free – they respect and understand how hard you work and want to support your business. That’s why they are our friends. So trade, barter, exchange, give a BOGO, but don’t design someone’s home or website for free.

Oh, was I supposed to sugar coat that? Ha! Nope.

I know what I’ve suggested here requires a little extra planning, budgeting and sometimes a little self-restraint, but I really believe that we can maximize our community’s potential by supporting one another.

So get out there and start spending consciously.

You’ll be happy you did.