Keep Calm and Shop Local…

by Tania Ginoza on November 23, 2012 · 13 comments

What are your plans today? Are your shopping til you drop or do you buy nothing?  Are you pounding the payment or surfing the web?

Here’s a few of my thoughts on the biggest shopping weekend and season of the year.


Da Black Friday Soapbox

It’s that time of year again.  I’m dusting off my Black Friday soapbox and climbing up.  I wrote a piece last year on the history of Black Friday and how it’s evolved.  My sentiment hasn’t changed much this year, you can read my 2011 post, Black Friday…Hype and Consumption, here.

In addition to my earlier observations, I’d add the disturbing trend of retailers competing with one other by earlier opening times on Thanksgiving day has worsened.  I don’t object to shoppers getting deals during the holidays or looking forward to sales.  I do object to the continuous encroachment of Black Friday sales into Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving used to be a non-commercial holiday.  It was a day employees in most occupations could expect to spend with loved ones.  We aren’t expected to bear gifts for one another on Thanksgiving.  Our presence, gratitude, homes and table are the only gifts we offer.

As retailers compete with other retailers and online shopping, the tendency is to outdo one another.  The fear is if they don’t grab those customer dollars first, that opportunity will be lost. Big box retailers who have been questioned by mainstream media have indicated the earlier openings were prompted by customer requests. I say if no big box retailer was open on Thanksgiving evening, we’d all survive to shop another day.

The other issue I’ll touch upon is the bait and switch tactic.  Many of the deals offerred that drive masses into the store seem too good to be true.  That’s because these loss leaders are available in limited quantities. If you read the black Friday ads, disclosures include wording on limited quantities as well indicating there will be no rain checks.  There are other sales (or perceived sales) that aren’t loss leaders and retailers are hoping to get the customers to cross their threshold with wallets open to buy these other items, not the loss leaders.  The reason I object to this tactic is that it can create a mob mentality and aggression amongst shoppers. Although we haven’t had any unfortunate incidents in Hawaii (that I’m aware of), there has been injury, violence and even death in other parts of the country.

Waving the Buy Local Flag

So, what can we do?  I’m not sure what the answer but I’m hoping some of the backlash we are seeing will prompt large retailers to modify their practices in a responsible way.

In 2011 I vowed to buy local for my entire list. The majority of the gifts I bought were not just sourced locally but many were also created or designed in Hawaii. The holiday season felt less stressful and more enjoyable as result.   I did have a small list with no tech needs or keikis so it wasn’t difficult to do. In 2012, I may not buy 100% local but for the most part I will continue to do so. I also support Small Business Saturday, a program by American Express to support our small business owners this weekend.

If you would like to support Hawaii business this holiday season, I would like to offer MauiShopGirl as a resource:

I ran a number of buy local holiday gift guides as part of my focus which you can view here to see some of my picks. Although the objects featured were from 2011′s inventory, these posts are still relevant if you are seeking out Hawaii shops, sites and creators to check out this holiday season.

Local craft fairs are another option and I’m looking forward to the annual Haleakala Waldorf School Holiday Faire on December 1st. You can read about my shopping trip to last year’s faire here.

I’ve written a number of posts on local shops and artisans and have included a short list here (there’s many more so feel free to browse MauiShopGirl or contact me with a specific request):

Sophie Grace, handmade jewelry and gift items in Paia

Indigo, locally designed and fair trade sourced home textiles, accessories and gift items in Paia

Aloha Letter Press, handmade high quality letterpress cards made in Makawao by Linda Coleon.

Kira Ferrer, Sparrow Seas and MauiDiveGirl, handmade jewelry in Kihei

Ginger13, handmade jewelry in Honolulu

Hue, modern home accessories in Kahului

Pualani, swimwear in Honolulu

Some other local retailers to consider:

Native Intelligence in Wailuku, a variety of objects made by local artisans with high craftsmanship that perpetuate Hawaiian designs and culture

Wings Hawaii in Paia, jewelry, clothing and bags, many are handmade or upcycled items.  They are also carrying a limited edition of table ware this season.

Maui Thing in Wailuku, clothing with a conscience for the whole family.  Maui Thing’s message is always one of positivity . They also support many causes and events in our community and encourage our keikis to embrace their artistic side.

My list above was not meant to be inclusive of all the wonderful local businesses that I support, it’s just a quick intro to get you started. You’ll find many more buy local features and picks throughout the holiday season.

Stay tuned next week for a peek at a wonderful gift shop in Kula and also for my minimal me giving tips.


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Courtney - Maui Jungalow November 23, 2012

Good list and good tips. I know Kira Ferrer too when she was just starting out – we took jewelry classes together, and her career rocketed. I also really like Pearl Butik in Paia – refreshing and small, and on the outskirts of Paia town towards the Ho’okipa side.


Tania November 25, 2012

I visited Pearl Butik at the swap meet (I think) and their pieces were beautiful. I haven’t made it out to the brick and mortar yet but plan to.


noreen November 25, 2012

hello tania! i’m on the local bandwagon, pretty much. luckily, my favorite, most-excellent dark chocolates are made by a small local business person, and our town’s running shoe shop is the best. you are a great resource for folks in your area. happy shopping!


Tania November 25, 2012

We have a wonderful local chocolatier on Maui too. She used to live on Oahu and I was very happy to find she had relocated here shortly before me.

I agree that local running shops are the best, especially for shoe shopping. You get the best service as they put so much care into matching you with the correct shoe for you.

Thanks for the kind words Noreen!


lisacng @ November 26, 2012

You are so right on this post! I hate shopping on Black Friday and sales associates making off-hand comments that they’ve been there since midnight. Hey, it’s not my fault that your boss and company are opening at midnight or 2 am. My first Black Friday was 6am opening, and that was early enough. I’m really turned off by these early store openings and thus did zero shopping on Black Friday. We walked around the mall, but only to get out of the house. I chose not to spend b/c the deals weren’t even that good. People are not savvy shoppers on Black Friday, in my opinion. Oh, and the aggression is just stupid. Always happens at a Best Buy or Walmart. Urgh. Awesome that you choose to shop local for all of your buying needs! It’s probably more financially responsible since shipping from large retailers is ridiculous, right. For me, I plan to do a lot of shopping at Macys or Amazon.


Tania November 27, 2012

I do buy a lot from Amazon throughout the year but not so many gifts, more books, ebooks and stuff I can’t find here.

There was one year I did all my shopping online. I didn’t even wrap barely anything!

I agree about the shopping on Black Friday, I think people get caught up in the moment.


Laurie November 27, 2012

I always loved going out on Black Friday, getting out by myself when Jackie was little. Loved being out at 530 am when I knew my family was safe tucked into bed asleep. However, with this starting at midnight stuff I don’t like it! I received an email from JCP informing the public that they would not open on thanksgiving night. I’ve never written to a big company before but I took the time to thank them for not caving to peer pressure.


Tania November 27, 2012

I don’t ever remember shopping much on Black Friday but I did used to look forward to the day after Christmas so I could buy cards and wrap (this was before I became more minimal, I used to have a TON of giftwrapping supplies, it was crazy).

I didn’t know that about JCP. Kudos for them! I think all the retailers need to be strong and step up to the plate and stop the madness. Or I think we need to do a Germany and restrict retailing hours on Thanksgiving. I feel so bad for the employees of WalMart when you watch some of the videos. It’s not just the fact they have to work but it’s the safety and stress factor too.


Tiffanie December 3, 2012

What a great resource. That’s great, and I got a chuckle out of you admitting you were on a soapbox and waiving a flag. Good for you for doing it! xo


Tania December 4, 2012

Ha ha, I feel like people are going to be thinking “oh there she goes again”. I’m not as militant as I used to be about places like Walmart. I refused to shop there for years when they first opened in Hawaii and felt the need to tell everyone about it too. Thank goodness I wasn’t blogging then.


Marie.e July 11, 2013

you should include the boutique Karamel Collection in one of these spreads!
The store is based in Europe, but the only US stores are here on Maui, the owner lives here.
But anyways, they have really unique/pretty pieces and it seems like it would be a good fit for your site!
there’s a store in paia and whalers village!


Tania Ginoza July 25, 2013

They’re in Wailea too, by St. Johns. I’ve been meaning to take a look. Thanks!


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