It’s official – I’ve become a bit of an “Insta shop” fan.
It started when I first started getting serious about Instagram at work – and then subsequently found out I was pregnant with my son. Don’t ask me how, exactly, because I honestly can’t remember, but I stumbled across the legging legends that are Fred & Noah. I became obsessed because – as someone who’d recently found out she was having a boy – I couldn’t find any high street clothes for boys that weren’t boring or drab, and their leggings were exactly what I wanted.
Fast forward a few months after my son arrived, and I was attempting to make my own handmade toys after successfully making a blanket. It was going well until I found out about CE marking, and all my plans suddenly ground to a halt. Frustrated, I turned to Instagram more and more, to look at the handmade items there, and I discovered a whole world of small scale businesses.
And wow, these businesses are doing some amazing things.
So… Myst needed some new clothes, and I went a little bit crazy. I got a bunch of things from several small scale businesses – a couple that I found on Not on the High Street, and some on Instagram. I’ll go into detail about what I got in my “handmade baby clothes” haul in another blog post, but for now I’d like to focus on why shopping small – if and when you can – is a good idea.
Right, so without further ado, here’s why you should shop small:
- It’s the little touches – Small shops go to such detailed effort to present their products, and why shouldn’t they? So much love has gone into these brands and their items that you can’t help but feel that they should be proud – very proud – of them. All the items I received were beautifully packaged, wrapped up in delicate crepe paper with branded stickers for their respective brands. Just look the lovely flourishes on this package from Olivia Grae Kids:
2. The quality is incomparable – Pictures aren’t going to do these clothes justice, but they’re beautifully made, and so, sooo soft – take my word for it. Plus, many items from small scale shops are ethically sourced, organic, or both. Tommy and Lottie, for example, make their clothes out of ethical and sustainable produced cottons – materials that make it impossible to stop cuddling your baby!
3. Personalisation – I’ve noticed some of the high street stores are starting to move more and more into this, so it has taken some of the novelty factor away, but you still can’t get the kind of personalisation that you can with a smaller brand – like this ethically sourced sweater from Rusks and Rebels (who, by the way, are big supporters of employing young adults with learning disabilities):
4. The styles are seriously cute – As I said earlier, it’s pretty hard to shop for baby boy, mainly because shops stock far more girls clothes than they do boys – for reasons I’ve yet to uncover. Plus, most of the styles aren’t that exciting (though some are). Smaller brands tend to be unisex, or buck the trend of “gendered” clothing – which is something that’s annoyed me just as much as “gendered” toys. And hey, you wouldn’t be able to get this tee from Olivia Grae Kids, for example, on the high street… I’m pretty much in love with it, especially since we recently binge watched “Narcos”. Should’ve gotten the “Hug Life” one too!
5. Customer service – Smaller brands inherently have exceptional customer service, because they’ve built their companies from the ground up and they care about each and every customer because it’s personal to them. If you’re shopping for baby things, many of the smaller shops are founded by parents themselves – people who understand where you’re coming from, what you need and are more than happy to help. This makes the whole shopping experience with them intimate – something you could never achieve with a high street brand.
I’m not suggesting that everything you purchase should be from a small brand – I’m suggesting that if you can, then you should. Many people will buy everything from the high street, which is fine – handmade items are more expensive (with good reason!) and it’s not always cost effective. But, if you can, and the uniqueness of handmade things is something that appeals to you, then by all means, fall down the rabbit-hole that is Instagram shops. Having one or two items to add to your little one’s wardrobe as statement pieces could be all you need to add a little excitement to their outfits.
At the end of the day, you have to ask: how many people are going to own the same thing? How much more use are you going to get out of a handmade and ethically sourced item, than something from the mainstream brands? How much care and attention to detail has been put into the items you’ve ordered? It’s something to seriously consider if these things matter to you. Shopping small is going to give you an experience – and products – that the high street just can’t compare with.
Now I just have to wait until pay day and think of a valid excuse to give my fiancé as to why we need more clothes!