The Internet makes it easy to get what you want, when you want it with the click of a mouse, an add to cart and an enter of card or PayPal information. We celebrate the “order shipped” email, complete with tracking number, and wait anxiously for the delivery. Let’s face it: We ALL benefit from the ease of online shopping. Producers, artists and crafters of all mediums can find anything, anytime.
I buy a lot of things online for our business. However, when I do “add to cart” I try to source from companies in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. I’m impressed with the quality supplies and ingredients available in my state and neighboring ones. And I am fortunate that I can place these online orders and receive them so quickly, sometimes the next day! In addition, I’ve been lucky to network with businesses local to me. These include actual people I talk to and know. I can call and text them for ingredients, packaging supplies, promotional materials and tools of all kinds.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think if you expect people around you to “shop local”, you as a business owner should make an effort to “source local.”
Sourcing locally might not always be the easiest option. However, I think it’s a good move to look into it no matter what you’re producing. It’s an opportunity to not only score quality ingredients and products but also receive excellent customer service and build a network of folks who are rooting for you to succeed. After all, your success actually means something to them, personally and professionally.
I always make a point to brag about the ingredients I buy locally. Sure, I don’t like to give away my secrets, so I’m very careful about what I talk about in terms of our sourcing and production. But I think it’s no secret (since I say this all the time…) that I buy a good percentage of our herbs, on top of our cornmeal, honey and beeswax from Carriage House Farm in North Bend, Ohio, just a short drive from us!
Any soap or salve of ours that has lavender, peppermint, rosemary, cat mint, spice bush berry, ginger greens, cornmeal, honey or beeswax was made great because I sourced locally. I’ve also scored some other quality ingredients, like rose hips and buckwheat hulls, but I’m kind of in hoarding mode and not 100% sure what to do with them. (You should see the rose hip infusion I created. It’s gorgeous and smells divine! You could say I have “materials anxiety”, but I’ll figure out what to do with it and when I do, it’ll be fantastic.)
Please remember that it’s great to shop local. But it’s even better to support businesses who do the same thing. Because when you do, an even longer chain of local artists, crafters, producers, farmers and business owners benefit not only from your dollar but also your enthusiasm. We thrive on it!