‘Unprecedented times’ is the phrase of the moment. Supermarket shelves are bare. The elderly are stuck indoors. Those who are not self-isolating are shopping for relatives who can’t. We are banned from pubs, clubs, theatres and other hubs for social gatherings. Town centres are desolate and largely boarded up, only those shops deemed to be essential are allowed to trade. Independent stores are locking their doors and even those that fall into the ‘essential’ have lost the passing trade.
When you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a C.E.O buy a third holiday home, you’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy his team jersey, and mums and dads to put food on the table. Shop local. An evoking statement shared on social media that Doncaster based business owners Nikki & Cath can get behind. They said: ‘Small businesses are not run by a board of employees; they are run by local people, who run their shops or businesses to support their families. Every sale we make puts food on our tables and a roof over our heads. It’s not just our job, it’s our livelihood.’
Their store, Artisan & Eco, which promotes and sells eco-friendly products help people to reduce their plastic use and their impact on the planet, also support and provide an outlet for local craftspeople and artists. The business model’s core aim was to be part of a local network for handmade products and a place for local crafters to sell their wares. Their eco range has also grown with rapidity over the past year.
The team are really passionate about their offerings, which include everyday eco-friendly household products and toiletries that have no plastic packaging, are made from natural materials and are mostly sourced from UK based suppliers. They stock shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss, shower sponges, soap, facial cleansers, safety razors, beard oil, shaving foam, bath bombs, bath salts to name a few – all of which are harmless to the environment.
Shoppers through this store have an opportunity to continue their journey to a more sustainable or minimal waste lifestyle. In addition to this the store offers up craft workshops for crochet, macrame, bath bomb making and candle making. Nikki & Cath also highlight that ‘with our crafters and artists on board we can additionally offer very high quality artisan products for people to treat themselves or purchase as a lovely gift’.
During these unprecedented times, Artisan and Eco do have some of the everyday essentials we are searching hardest for (stock permitting) such as toilet paper and soap bars – which are said to be the most effective way to clean hands and protect against the spread of infection according to the World Health Organisation. Products can be purchased online via https://artisanandecodoncaster.square.site. They are also on Facebook and Instagram if you’d like to get in touch with Cath & Nikki directly. They are a team wound on personal service and said: ‘Small, independent businesses are run by people who are incredibly passionate about what they do, they are experts in their particular area and will be able to offer an amazing, personal service to all of their customers’.
It is also worth noting that when this virus lifts and it no longer holds the UK in confinement, when we are again able to walk our commercial streets, we will need our independent businesses. The duo put it plainly: ‘When small businesses go under, what is left is a town full of chain stores or empty shops and the character of the town becomes soulless and bland.’