Why Locally Made Stuff Matters

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“Some of the most green people in our lives are our parents and grandparents, who always bought locally and carefully.” — Su-chin Pak

Over the last several years, the mantra of “shop local” has become more and more prevalent. Whether you hear it from friends and family or on social media, there’s an energy around the importance of putting your dollars back into the community. 

But does buying locally-made stuff really matter? According to research, it does – and not just from a sustainability lens. Shopping for local goods can benefit your local community across diverse indicators.

Seamstress working on a City Threads garment at the local factory in Los Angeles.
Seamstress working at City Threads sewing a garment with a sewing machine locally in Los Angeles.

Here’s some of the reasons why supporting local truly matters – 

Benefits The Environment. Shopping locally reduces the environmental impact of your purchases. Local businesses generally make more local purchases themselves, which reduces the carbon impact of your products from transportation.(source:Forbes)

Strengthens The Middle Class. According to research, the increasing size of corporations is driving inequity and a larger divide between income levels. On the other hand, increasing the number of local small businesses has been found to strengthen the middle class. (source: ilsr.org)

Stimulates The Local Economy. Buying local means keeping those dollars in circulation within your community. Local businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar in the local economy since they create locally owned supply chains and invest in their employees. (source: ilsr.org)

Helps Create Jobs & Boosts Job Security. From the global COVID-19 pandemic to economic instability, the fears around losing a job have increased in recent years. When you support local businesses, you support more employee retention. Locally owned businesses employ more people per unit of sales than corporations, and even retain more employees during economic downturns. (source: ilsr.org)

Increase Local Income Levels. Studies show that locally owned businesses are linked to higher income growth and lower levels of poverty. On the contrary, big-box retailers have been found to depress wages and benefits for retail employees. (source: ilsr.org)

Supports Artists & Entrepreneurs. By shopping locally, you can help encourage folks to continue putting in the work to build their own entrepreneurial endeavors or to create their unique art. Making stuff can be fun and rewarding, and the cool thing is – it can be just as fulfilling for the shopper to buy from local makers instead of purchasing mass-produced products. We know for ourselves, when we buy goods that are made locally (and we know who is behind them), it adds more meaning to the purchase, which generally helps us value and care for the item longer.

City Threads seamstress using a sewing machine to sew a city threads shirt.

Supporting local can truly make a difference – from sustainability to equity to wealth redistribution to job creation – and it also means literally investing your dollars in the community around you.

City Threads owners Joe and Shayna pictured in their local warehouse of clothing that is made in the USA photo

Locally made stuff matters and supporting these small businesses not only helps entrepreneurs thrive, but it also fuels positive change across your entire neighborhood.

We at City Threads have been producing locally in Los Angeles now for 21 years. We’ve had many great seasons where everybody thrives, and also, recessions and COVID-19, where we’ve all had to really support each other – ourselves and our local production partners – to make it through. Working locally allows us to get to know the people who make our products, and after years of working together, we not only depend on each other, but we’ve built a mutual trust and become an integral part of each other’s businesses. 

Written by: City Threads Cofounders Shayna Samuels & Joe Willis, and Kestrel Jenkins, responsibility consultant & host of the Conscious Chatter podcast.