We can barely function in today's society without being inundated by advertising. In fact, I'm sure there's some sort of ad on the side of the page you're currently looking at.
As Black Friday quickly approaches (how are we already nearing the end of October?), I can't help but think about the upcoming holiday season. Of course the big stores are going to produce the ever-popular advertisements chock full of this year's must-have toys and door buster deals.
*Full disclosure: I love and look forward to these ads every year.
**More disclosure: I can't remember the last time I actually purchased what was in that ad--it's the miscellaneous stuff stacked near the checkout I can't resist.
But I can't help but ask myself, is consumerism getting the better of me when it comes to gift giving? Is my husband really going to love the sweater that half a million other men will open, too?
I've always loved and supported small business whenever possible and with hometown markets and virtual marketplaces like Etsy becoming more and more popular the shopper inside of me begs to be heard: Is bigger always better? Are department stores really the answer?
My good friend Alexis Rosenbaum and her sister Hannah King, owners and artisans behind Baseball Lacelets, summarized it best in a conversation we had regarding this dilemma.
"We live in a world where we are most disconnected from people," said Rosenbaum. "The lack of personalization from big businesses makes the purchase less of an emotional experience."
How many times have you entered a large department store or Target and bought solely what you walked in for? More often that not, you're buying in excess in those stores, because marketers make plans around you--the consumer. They want you to buy in excess, or things you don't need, with promises to deliver fulfillment or happiness.
I'm not sure about you, but when I browse open markets and Etsy, my products are carefully selected with thought and purpose.
With that in mind, does buying big allow us to lose sight of our sense of community?
"One of our favorite parts about running a small business is making these connections and adding personal touches to every order," added King. "Our product is unique and can't be found anywhere else. Small businesses are about providing and producing a unique product and experience that feeds every customers desire to feel connected. Small business mean potential for more jobs and more jobs mean less struggling families. We go out of our way to support small business because we enjoy that emotional connection experience ourselves and understand the level of hard work in having a successful small business."
With the holidays just around the corner and gift giving at the forefront of my mind, I'm making a conscious effort this year to buy and create thoughtful gifts for the most important people in my life. Don't worry, I will still make time to browse the Target ad on Thanksgiving Day.