Indie Brands + Local Loving

Sarah will tell you that if I have even the tiniest opportunity, I’ll pick local shops or indie brands over a chain when it comes to any occasion or shopping experience. Restaurants, coffee, and beauty are my biggest go-tos for localizing my purchases.

When it comes to beauty brands, I love to tout the little guy over the big players. Move over, Sephora, local is the new black!

My husband’s rule that I’ve joyfully adopted (because I’m all for supporting my local economy), is that we’ll spend up to 20% more on a local company, brand, or store. The socialist / MBA in me is all for this, haha.

In the past, I’ve supported some medium to large companies and felt left by the wayside when I learned truths about their products or the goings on of their operations that I didn’t agree with. I’ve spent money on Kat Von D’s products and do not intend to continue to spend money on her products in the future. It’s as though everywhere I turn, there’s a scandal with her name on it (aside: I thought her video on Jeffree Star a couple years ago was trite and petty; I understand and empathize with not wanting to stand for injustice, but I do this by boycotting brands that exhibit unethical or unjust behaviours). I felt that as a business person, it could have been handled more gracefully. I’m not sure what her PR company was thinking. And currently not happy with the Basket Case Eyeliner Campaign. Also not planning on buying nor have I ever purchased a product from Jeffree Star (his scandal here). I’ve thankfully never purchased products from Lime Crime, either, nor do I intend to (read about their issues here).

But I’m not here to beak big companies or bar anyone from spending money with them: it’s your money (but really, spend it wisely). Their bottom lines are truly what they’re thinking of, and as a business major, I know this is the sad reality of large companies…it’s all we talked about in business school. I want to point out that big companies’ scandals are kept quiet for longer, while local companies feel the wrath of the public hard and fast. That said, scandals and PR screw ups definitely don’t go unnoticed for big companies. I’ve clearly internalized them.

Benefits of supporting local include keeping your money in your city, better and more personalized customer service, and getting to know people behind the product. This article explains each point in more detail.

As an active member of the handmade and local business community, I can attest to offering better customer service: when you’re operating in the local business community, everyone talks, and you want people to say good things about your company or an interaction with you. Ultimately, you represent your brand. Someone who offers mediocre or poor customer service will stand out, and not in a good way. If someone operates in a way that isn’t ethical or is sneaky, people talk about it and stop buying from them and take their money elsewhere.

Entrepreneurs also talk to each other, so when we’re asked for recommendations, we’ll talk about the people we get along with that we know offer exemplary products and services. We also often make a point of purchasing local from each other! Since moving to Regina, I’ve swapped out a few stores for some great local ones as often as I can.

Instead of shopping or spending my money at:

  • Michael’s craft store, I head to Gail’s warehouse (the prices are WAY better)
  • Sephora, I (try to) head to local beauty shops like Fleur’t and Blush Beauty Bar
  • Starbucks, I opt for my friend’s coffee at Happy Hi or a local roaster like 33 1/3

These are all Regina, SK businesses I’m referring to, but you get the idea: local has been around since before the big box store, and they do their jobs exponentially better and work harder. I feel good leaving a local business after I’ve made a purchase!

With respect to beauty, it’s a little tougher to go local, but I’ll list some indie brands I’ve tried and loved: 

  • Hail Cosmetics, Thunder Bay, Canada – Wined is my favourite shade; this beautiful matte lipstick doesn’t budge and is handmade by a friend of mine (love her).
  • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, New York – Tried their lip tar and lip liner, will be writing a review this week!
  • Australis, Australia – Banana Concealer is the only thing that makes my eyes look alive (damn purple undereye circles).
  • Seaweed Bath Co, they’re out of the States – LOVE their shampoo
  • Fat and the Moon, out of the States – Really like their Beam highlighter
  • Sugarpill, LA, the States – I own their Burning Heart eyeshadow palette. Wow, is it ever pigmented! Sarah introduced me to them, and I wish I had more of their products.
  • Little Ondine, London, England –  Natural peel-off, odorless nail polish (see our review here). The link is for a Canadian supplier; they have a ton of the discontinued colours that the UK site doesn’t have.
  • Ilike (pronounced E-leek-a), Hungary – In Regina, you can get these skincare products at Fleur’t. If you love natural skincare, they’re 10 steps ahead of Eminence (no offense, Eminence). I had a facial with Ilike products, and my skin looked just amazing. A word to those watching their pocketbooks: it’s some of the most expensive skincare I’ve ever encountered, so you’re going to want to use it instead of letting it collect dust on your shelf.

What indie brands and local businesses do you love? Do you boycott any brands? Tell us about it in the comments!


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