As a small business, and particularly during the pandemic, I try to buy from other small businesses and artists where I can and thought I would take this opportunity to highlight some of my favourite independents and resources for seeking out your own.
First up is the wonderful Ruth Slater, a fantastic artist based right here on the Isle of Bute. Ruth's work is so distinctive and she not only accepts commission work, but has an amazing range of gifts on her website. I have been lucky enough to receive two of Ruth's portraits of my horses as gifts and new babies in the family receive personalised prints for their nurseries. Alongside her commission work, Ruth runs Bute School of Art and also set up The Pencil Box in Bute - a restored telephone box outside her studio where you can buy her cards, homemade tablet, fresh eggs or take advantage of the book swap or a free postcard.
My next independent is an online clothing store - the fabulous Love & Squalor! All clothes are designed and made in-house in Glasgow using ethically-sourced materials. Rebecca Coyle (the owner) has the most wonderful eye for design and makes very distinctive and wearable pieces with an inclusive and generous size range. I have lost count of the number of pieces I have and I love every single one of them. @loveandsqualor's Insta feed is soooo worth a follow!
In 2020 I was introduced to the wonderful Law Design Studio. The owner, Gillian, designs and makes all of the clothes from her studio in Glasgow. Sustainability and slow fashion is at the heart of this brand and I absolutely love the pieces I'm lucky enough to own. Again, sizing is inclusive and some maternity-and-beyond pieces have been added this year.
During lockdown I took up making clothes for myself, as a way to pass time and because yes, I jumped on that banana bread bandwagon and most of my clothes suddenly shrunk! As a beginner sewer I can thoroughly recommend The Assembly Line patterns (TAL). They are so easy to follow and include handy stitching technique guides at the start of every pattern. You can purchase these online direct from TAL or from The Draper's Daughter or Merchant & Mills. If you are in Glasgow and want to browse ethically sourced material at the same time, a visit to Bawn is a must! The owner, Bevan, has a selection of TAL patterns and the most beautiful fabrics and notions. The website is also my go-to resource for information on textiles. I shop with Bawn online but can't wait to visit the shop in person!
If you're looking to source some fantastic indies of your own, a great place to start is the Indie Roller Directory, where you can find a whole host of independent creative businesses.
And remember, if you have your own favourite small businesses, buying isn't the only way to support them. You can help increase their visibility by following, liking, commenting on and sharing their social media posts.