Thursday, 3 May 2012

SOS - Save Our Shops

Hi bloggies

I just wanted to do a post today on something that I am beginning to feel quite alarmed and very sad about.  The picture above shows some lovely art purchases that I made yesterday.  The gorgeous coloured pencils are watercolour pencils and I have been lusting over these ones since my art tutor introduced me to them ages ago.  They come in such lovely colours, and I thought that they would come in useful for my design work.  I also got some guache paint in gold and silver (not sure what I will do with them, I just liked them!) and a really cute box containing postcards made from watercolour paper.  Also, the lovely big watercolour pad that you can see underneath everything else. 

These purchases came about because sadly, the art  shop (my only art shop) where they came from is closing down.  Yes going, forever, no more.   And the reason that I am sad is because it is the second art shop to close around here recently.  When I went into the shop yesterday, business was very brisk indeed, in fact the shop was packed!  The last few visits I had made to the shop, well the shop was empty ...... perhaps one other person in there each time.  Yesterday, the shop was full of people like me, stocking up because everything was reduced by 50% and it was closing and I kind of felt guilty about it because maybe we could have all done something more  to help them survive and keep their business.

The main reason I am upset about it is because it is becoming harder and harder to find a decent craft shop these days.  More and more business is being done online.  This is to our advantage when we are looking for a good price, and we can seek out those that sell for less, but what I need is the shopping experience that I just can't get from the internet.  This is particularly true when buying yarn or fabric.  Unless you absolutely know what you are buying because you have bought the exact thing before, you can't browse around the shelves.  You can't see the true colour.  You can't pick it up and 'squish' it to see how soft it is.  You can't judge the quality and hold it up to the light and run your hand over it.  You can't compare it with something else to see if it coordinates with another item or product. You can't smell it (sorry I have a bit of a thing for paper, magazines, wood, new fabric etc) 

The more we use the internet to make purchases, the more likely we are to lose our local shops.  They cannot compete with the big giant, out of town stores because the running costs for a small shop is usually a lot higher, but what they can give us is the personal shopping experience, that quite frankly, is going to be lost forever very soon.  Then it will only be the giants left and we might find that some things will be completely unavailable, because profit is the name of the game for them!

Maybe we could think 'Use it or lose it'  when we shop for our crafts, or anything for that matter. Everybody is feeling the pinch at the moment and pulling in their belts, but are we only saving pennies elsewhere?  How much is postage costing these days?  How much further are our supplies having to travel around? Just a little thought, but one I hope you will share with me. X



  1. Hey Daisy! Hello from California! I experienced the same thing when a local fabric store and 2 cross stitch shops closed near me. I loved going there! Now I seem to be buying more and more online. I would rather shop in person. Sadly the economy everywhere is in the toilet,and we will have to find other resources. At least you got some bargains at the art store!!! Take care

  2. You are absolutely right Daisy! I have the same 'crazy' passion for books. The prospect of a day spent in a local book store, rummaging for new titles, or collecting an author's latest instalment just cannot be bettered. But sadly, many many bookstores have suffered the same fate as our local art and craft stores. One I used to frequent has turned into a well known coffee shop. And recently, while reading in the comfortable coffee lounge of a much larger book store, I noticed a young lady sitting nearby engrossed in the latest copy of a KINDLE. Outrage! And how extremely short sighted of us all. I'm all for embracing new technology, it is the world we are living in - but at what cost? Look forward to seeing what you do with all those purchases!! :)

  3. Of course, I do realise that the internet gives us more choice and it has been a really good place for small individual producers and sellers (including myself)to sell and advertise our work eg Etsy, Ebay, Ravelry and I love the fact that we are able to get so many creative things out there, but where it is possible to buy certain things locally, we could try to!

    1. I totally agree. Electronic readers are a fantastic way of keeping all your favourite reads (or soon to be read) in one convenient place. Brilliant! But there is nothing quite like the smell of an unused text, or even better - a rare antique first edition. Who knows what the answer is?