Buying Locally and Making Locally

A good reason why designers should look at making local rather than chase cheaper overseas manufacturing.

A local bookstore (Mary Martin in Rundle St.) had a sign behind the till that stated buying from them meant 80% of the purchase price stayed in the local community, but if a book was purchased from a national chain store only 40% of the purchase price stayed in the local community.

At face value makes sense. Local shop pays wages to local employees, who buy food from shop down the road, who buy coffee from across the road. A chain store is funneling money back to the main office, which may be interstate or overseas. Staff in the main office aren’t buying coffee from the shop across the road, so the barista isn’t earning money to buy books from the local shop.

I’ve tried to source some actual numbers to support this. The “Andersonville Study of Retail Economics” http://andersonvillestudy.com/ by Civic Economics (http://www.civiceconomics.com/)  looked at the economic effects of small local businesses in a Chicago neighbourhood. the report neatly summarises the impact:

”In a study comparing the economic impact of ten Andersonville businesses and their chain competitors, it was found that:

Locally-owned businesses generate a substantial Local Premium in enhanced economic impact.

For every $100 in consumer spending with a local firm, $68 remains in the Chicago economy.

For every $100 in consumer spending with a chain firm, $43 remains in the Chicago economy.

For every square foot occupied by a local firm, local economic impact is $179.

For every square foot occupied by a chain firm, local economic impact is $105.”

Pretty compelling numbers. I wondered what the impact of local manufacturing would be.

Core77 ran this article:

http://www.core77.com/blog/business/what_can_one_product_do_for_our_economy_a_quick_cupdate_from_aaron_panone_23872.asp

showing the economic impact of one locally designed and made product. “Cuppow” is a pretty simple product and has made some money, but better still most of that money has been made by using local suppliers. Here is their excellent infographic:

Cuppow - “What can one product do for our economy?” Infographic

Cuppow – “What can one product do for our economy?” Infographic

http://cuppow.tumblr.com/post/36070889279/1productig

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