There is a resigned sadness among many small business owners like Barbara Gare from Y Natural, when they hear friends say they believe in buying local but don't actually follow through.
As small business owners and leaders we are right to feel disappointed in these friends while at the same time making sure that we are living up to the shop local ethos ourselves.
The magic of our economy is that it is the circulation of credit from one party to another that keeps the lights on and wheels turning, so this matter of following through on buying local is a win win win that is worth going the extra mile for.
This circulation is very sustainable, which is fitting, given how much time and research Barbara puts in to making sure her products are effective, while being safe for the ecosystem in which they're made and used. In the segment, I highlight that it's one thing to have cosmetics safe to use on your skin, but it's another to make sure they remain safe when they go down the drain. This was amplified recently by Barbara in a Facebook post published from her shack on the River Murry.
While her pathway to setting up Y Natural is worth listening to, her candid sharing of the emotional drain of being with friends who say they support you and then seeing their cupboards full of multinational cosmetic products.
What surprises Barbara the most is that in many cases, there's not even a price differential that gives the multinational brands an advantage. It's simply a combination of habit and perhaps some "tall poppy syndrome" or the thought that if it's local it's probably not as good as a "global" product.
Don't get me started on how flawed these ideas are.
Instead, I want us to reflect on this emotional, human twinge that people like Barbara feel when they encounter their friends saying nice, warm platitudes to her face but then sending their dollars to faceless corporations with mindbendingly large marketing budgets.
A plea to the South Australian Government and its rebirth of Brand SA
In a recent conversation with South Australian Premier, Peter Malinauskas MP, and in an interaction with State Treasurer, Stephen Mullighan MP, I have been impressed by both men's passion in relation to their decision announced in July 2022 to bring back Brand SA.
However, as Barbara's experience shows, we need more than badges, lunches, and slogans. We really need some smart, engaging challenges and "one percenters" to help effect long term change in consumers' buying habits and actions.
Obviously, David Olney and I would love to participate in any strategic planning in this regard, and will be doing what we can from our corner of the economy.
Here's hoping that reflections like those Barbara shared with me, can make tangible the real toll that small business owners pay, twice over; firstly, the lost revenue, and secondly, the sense of disconnection from their circles of support and trust.
Barbara Gare's journey creating Y Natural
Here's the segment in which I discuss Barbara's journey with Richard Pascoe.
I hope you find it enriching and even motivating in relation to your gift purchasing over the holiday period.
Here's to buying local to ensure a prosperous New Year for all.