Here's what you can do to help independent Irish businesses and shops survive this difficult time, and we don't just meaning buying from them
We’re going to begin feeling the pinch in the coming weeks and months. Some of us are on temporary unpaid leave, others reduced working weeks and more still have lost shifts, hours, clients and jobs. It’s not going to be easy on anyone.
It’s with this in mind that we’re looking at how to support independent Irish shops and businesses as they shutter up and try to survive online for the foreseeable future.
The most straightforward thing is, if you can, buy something from them. I’m not suggesting buying for the sake of it but simply thinking about what you need and how you get it. It can be something small, whether that’s getting your bread from a local bakery rather than the supermarket, picking up tonight’s dinner from a nearby butcher or selecting a beautiful, Irish-made gift for the wedding that’s been postponed and sending to their home.
Small things can go a long way, especially as we tread further into this unknown and, frankly terrifying, reality.
If you want to contribute but just can’t think of anything you need or would like to support your usual coffee place, salon or restaurant that are currently closed, Ryan Scott started @thepledgend on Instagram. It's a campaign to support these kinds of businesses by buying a gift card and pledging to not spend it for at least a few months, giving the business some vital cash flow to pay staff and rent during this difficult time.
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Then, when life begins to return to normal and your favourite local coffee shop has capacity to pay out your voucher, your past self has treated you to €20’s worth of free coffee.
And don't forget, social media. I know social media gets a bad rap and much of it is deserved, but I have discovered more Irish creatives and independent shops in the last week than ever before, thanks to the likes of @buyIrish, an Instagram account encouraging people to buy Irish goods and the Irish makers they should know about.
So tell people about your purchases, tag #thepledgend and #buyIrish in your posts so more people will see them, tell us about your favourite embroiderers, ceramicists, illustrators, woodworkers, weavers and artists, and tag the shops you want to recognise. Even if it’s something you already bought and absolutely adore, someone else might be looking for an idea. The more aware everyone is of the sheer volume of Irish creative talent in this country, the better.
So are you looking for independent design shops and makers? We’ve filled this piece with links to other pieces on Irish shops and makers and there are so many more. Check out the links below and our Instagram, as well as that of @DesignIreland, @buyIrish and places like Irish Design Shop and My Shop... Granny, which sell exclusively Irish makers and are a great place to start.
Featured image via Irish Design Shop by Al Higgins
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