Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday: Has Our Time-Honored Tradition Gone Too Far?

Holidays are always a welcome break from my hectic life to get back to what is most important to me- family.

This past weekend I ventured back to my homeland of Louisville, Kentucky for our traditional Thanksgiving family dinner. I can’t help but feel nostalgic this time of the year, breaking back into my holiday routine- waking up to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, helping my mom prepare the stuffed bird and sweet potato casserole, eating an embarrassing amount of pumpkin pie, and spending the rest of the evening watching movies sprawled out on the couch. And then there’s my favorite Thanksgiving tradition- sifting through stacks and stacks of Black Friday advertisements. After carefully examining the contents of each advertisement, I categorize them into organized piles: the retailers I anticipate making purchases from pile, the maybe pile, and then the junk pile. (If you know me personally, this obsessive organization is not a surprise.)

My mom and I go Black Friday shopping every year. While most years we manage to score incredible deals, the most enjoyable part of the traditional event is the time we get to spend together. We’d be just as content browsing the slashed prices of retailers, commenting on items, and leaving empty handed. I understand the purpose of Black Friday shopping is to entice the customer to shop at a particular retailer in the hopes they will purchase a multitude of items to increase the retailer’s bottom line. But regardless, I love Black Friday shopping.

Traditionally, my mom and I wake up around 5:00 AM (which is impossible for me), and venture to stores to get a few early-bird specials. This year, I talked my mom into midnight shopping. Epic win. There was something very surreal about trying on leopard Steve Madden wedges at Macy’s at 2:45 in the morning; if malls were open 24/7, there’s a good chance I’d be there at the most ridiculous and fabulous of times.

So, throughout the over ten hours we spend browsing store racks in search of the perfect Christmas present, we managed to score some great deals. I got those Steve Madden leopard wedges and a beautiful BCBG maxi skirt for a fraction of the original price. I also purchased several gifts (that shall remain nameless for now) at a steal. Everything, for the most part, was seamless.

Backtrack to midnight. My mom and I are in the parking lot of our local mall in the hunt for a parking spot. I turned the corner into a short row of cars only to realize the spots were taken and there was no exit. I put my car in reverse, backed up, turned the wheels, and faced an exiting row. As I began to carefully turn down the aisle, a facing SUV floored on the gas, sped past me, and the passenger proceeded to jut out her middle finger, press it firmly against her car window, and flip off my mom and I. Absolutely unnecessary and you’ve got to be kidding me. Luckily, my mom and I both have the same weird sense of humor, and preceded to burst into laughter at the truly ridiculously rude scenario we just experienced. Exclaiming things like “Well, Merry f’ing Christmas to you, too!” and “They are SERIOUS about that twenty dollar toaster!” to each other, I laughed and shrugged the incident off. (Later, my mom stalked them in the parking lot, and gave the twenty-somethings an epic Mom lecture as they stood there in fear and denial for being called out. Mom win.)

Fast-forward to 1:00 AM. My mom and I are meandering Macy’s, discussing what to get my dad for Christmas. A few feet away, coming off the down escalator was a teenage girl and her mom. The teen steps off the escalator, takes a few steps, stops, sways back and forth, and collapses. Luckily her mom caught her mid-collapse and eased her to the ground so she wouldn’t crack her head. My mom immediately rushes to find a store clerk to call for help. As my mom is running around Macy’s looking for assistance, I see the other mom begin to shake her daughter awake and get her on her feet. The teen makes an embarrassed face and mutters she’s fine. This whole incident only lasted a minute, at best. But while this who scenario is taking place, shoppers are exiting the escalator stepping over and around this poor girl with little to no thought. Stepping off the escalator, stepping over her, without as much as a second glance. I even saw a shopper’s Macy’s bag clip the girl in the head. Again, you’ve got to be kidding me.

It’s now 3:15 AM and I’m at the MAC makeup counter. Examining a tube of lip gloss, I look up and see a sour-faced MAC employee. As the other employee was helping a customer, I asked, “Do you work here?” She shrugged her shoulders in a defeated way and said, “Yeah, I guess.” I gave her a puzzled look and asked if she could grab me the product. The employee then sighed and told me, “[The other employee] will have to get it. I just came in to help her. And somebody just stole my phone and wallet.” Really? Seriously? Was it absolutely necessary to rob the MAC girl, volunteering her time to help a friend, the day after Thanksgiving? For the last time, you’ve got to be kidding me.   

While there are bound to be incidents associated with a mass population frequenting one location in hoards, my experiences were miniscule compared to other events. Just YouTube “Black Friday 2011” and take a look at some of the footage that was captured at stores like Wal-Mart, Urban Outfitters, and Best Buy. Watch people push, shove, scream, yell, and literally fight over $2.00 towels or discounted television sets. Google the same and you’ll find the story of a woman who pepper sprayed over 20 customers, including children, to keep them away from the electronics she planned on purchasing at Wal-Mart. And there’s the father who was shot in front of his family at 2:00 AM in a Wal-Mart parking lot in an attempted mugging. Then, there’s Walter Vance, the 61-year-old pharmacist who collapsed in a West Virginia Target and was ignored by customers, and even walked over, as they shopped for bargains. Later, he died.

I’m not attempting to put a dark cloud on the Black Friday shopping tradition or make accusations against the retailers or shoppers in general. I am, however, pointing out the lack of compassion and care of select highlighted individuals. The phrase ‘holiday spirit’ invokes words like goodwill, love, and kindness, not words like pepper spray, stealing, and violence. Black Friday shopping is a tradition that is unlikely to falter with the American people. But has it gone too far?

As we go about our holiday traditions, whatever they may be, it is important to remember not only the purpose of this time of year, but also to participate in acts of kindness, compassion, and, for lack of an original thought, goodwill towards others. Gifts wrapped in pretty bows come and go, but the human connection and spirit is forever. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nashville Fashion Blog will be back next week!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nashville Lifestyles' Ladies Night Out: December 14, 2011

Yeah, I love me some Nashville Lifestyles and I'm all about a ladies night now. On Wednesday, December 14, 2011 our favorite city magazine will be hosting this fashionably fun event. Here are the details:

Enjoy VIP treatment, delicious cocktails, shopping and some much-needed girl time!

Plus, special appearances from the Nashville Predators!

Wednesday, December 14
Lexus of Nashville
, 1636 Westgate Circle, Brentwood

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and include 2 complimentary glasses of wine!

Sponsored by: Lexus of Nashville and Nashville Lifestyles
Get your tickets here!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

two elle and Nashville Clothing Company to Shut Doors

Just days after making my very scholarly research-heavy Nashville Fashion Blog article detailing the social and economic importance of shopping locally, the independent retailer is crumbling around us. Yes, it’s true that the majority of small businesses fail within their first few years, but it doesn’t lessen the impact our fashion community has seen with the upcoming closings of two retail stores- two elle and Nashville Clothing Company.

While both retail owners have exciting plans to pursue in the future, they leave us with parting words (and slashed everything-must-go prices):

two elle:
Dearest friends, family, and loyal followers:

Once upon a time, a girl had an idea. She envisioned a wonderland where people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds could come together. She began this journey in a small house with a red door on 12South. While there, she met many of you, shared many joyous walks through the neighborhood, and collected treasured moments. Then, in 2009 she moved her wonderland to The Hill Center. There were new treasured moments, new red doors, and new cherished family and friends whose impact have further defined and personalized what this journey is all about. Now, after Christmas this wonderland will close its doors.

We will officially begin our close-out sale on Black Friday. Surely, there will be deals, but our bunny and Nashville shirts and sweatshirts will not be marked down. They are now becoming collector's items and are already quickly selling out. We also encourage you to ask us about our furniture and fixtures. Perhaps you can now create a little wonderland in your own home.

And so, as is the case in all good stories, this chapter has come to an end. The girl will crawl out of the rabbit hole and press on to her next adventure. Your kindness, support, admiration, and compassion will inspire each step we take through the looking-glass and beyond. For that, we cannot thank you enough.

It's been a lovely fall, bunnies, but the time has come to say goodnight.


Nashville Clothing Company:
After 5 years and with mixed emotions we want to tell you that we are closing Nashville Clothing Company. Our last day will be Sunday, November 20. Mike and I have made many changes over the past 2 years and our hearts have a new focus. We have made numerous trips to Haiti and Africa and feel that we are being led to do mission work.

We love the store and we love being in the Gulch, but we know that it is time to move in a different direction. 

We feel truly blessed to have been part of your lives and your wardrobe over the last few years. We have loved each customer and every minute we spent with you. Thank you for supporting us, the local designers and our store. 

The next few weeks we will be having big sales and will be selling all of our inventory, furniture, pictures, and more. All of it has to go! Please stop by and see us before it is all over. 

Thanks and much love!

Mike and Tiffany

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Five: The Beauty Update

While I’ve always had my daily beauty routines and rotating favorites, I’ve never been much of a beauty buff. There are an overwhelming amount of products on store shelves, each one promising to complete your perfect look and leave you beautiful and flawless. And with so many products, advertisements, and beauty buffs out there, it’s challenging to know what will stand out from a crowd.

So, I thought I’d take a rare moment to switch from holiday dresses, cashmere sweaters, and knitted scarves- to highlight some of my favorite finishing touches for every ensemble.

Step 1 in the beautification process, this face moisturizer is designed to firm skin and smooth out lines. Moisturizing and hydrating, this product will leave your face velvety smooth and smelling beautifully.

I first got turned on to L’Occitane a few years ago when a friend gifted me some products on her return from a summer in France. (Apparently, she had lived about a mile down the street from where the products were made.) Since then, I’ve been ordering their products online, and got giddy with excitement when I realized there was a store in Nashville’s Green Hills Mall upon moving here.

Typically retailing for $42.00, this product has been reduced to a mere $33.60, as it is being discontinued!! Ahhh!!! Fortunately, L’Occitane offers a variety of rich and luxurious products, so I’m sure I’ll get over it soon.

In 7th grade I sat next to a girl in AP English class with the worst foundation line imaginable. We’re talking orange face with a caked jaw line and a harsh transition into pale skin. I was consistently distracted by her non-blending techniques and vowing to never be ‘that girl’, have used power-based foundations ever since.

I’ve tried several power-based foundations over the years, but have stuck with Bare Escentuals Mineral Foundation since around 2003. The SPF 15 foundation is designed to give you flawless coverage that won’t clump or cake. According to the product description, this mineral foundation is “clinically proven to improve the appearance of your skin over time” and “diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles without drying out your skin.”

Retailing for $26, a little goes a long ways.

Last Christmas I received a surprising package from my minimalist Levi jeans, Target hoodie, and Converse shoes wearing brother- a mountain of Mac cosmetic products. Uh, yeah, amazing. I’m assuming he (actually!) ventured to the mall in Lexington, KY where our mutual friend runs the Mac counter, gave her some cash, and asked her to pick out some products for me. Epic brother win.

In the mountain of products was this gem- the Mac Fluidline Eyeliner. I had previously used a variety of pencil products, but decided to give the liquid eyeliner a try. Using an accompanying Mac eyeliner brush, I dipped the bristles into the jet black liquid, concentrated in the mirror, and slowly dragged the brush across my eyelid. Fluid, precise, silky, and soft- I fell in eyeliner love.

Available in a variety of colors (I wear Blacktrack), this product retails for a mere $15 and is guaranteed to last you months and months. This is one of my favorite makeup products I use.

Prior to my Mac mountain Christmas gift, I have never been brand loyal to mascara. I mean seriously, what’s the difference between the stuff I can buy at Kroger and what I can pick up at the Macy’s counter? Apparently a lot. I always figured mascara is mascara is it doesn’t really matter what brush, brand, or other feature you use, as long as it goes on black. I was wrong.

THIS is the most incredible mascara you will ever use in your life. That is how strongly I feel about this stuff. The $19 Mac Haute & Naughty Lash Mascara description reads:

A two-in-one mascara that lets you choose if you want lashes to be naturally defined, or instantly combed and loaded for full-on drama. Easy to use dual-wiper system allows this lightweight formula to go on either way. One wiper refines the application for a clean sweep, while the other loads the lashes for greater impact.

I guarantee if you try, you will love this product. I’ve already turned four of my friends into believers. 

I’m partial to my rotating collection of Blistex, Burt’s Bees, and Chapstick, but when it comes to lipstick and lip gloss, it’s often difficult to find the perfect shade. I now have a vast collection of Mac lip gloss colors, but only a few lipsticks I wear on occasion. 

Somehow between purchasing salmon and paper towels on my last grocery trip, I stumbled into the beauty aisle and was drawn to this bright, shimmery color. Retailing for around $6, I figured I couldn’t lose. Now, this is one of my new favorite lipsticks.

Designed from micro-mirror pigments, the lipstick is designed to give the wearer a smooth feel with a creamier finish. It may not be the best shade for the winter months, but I like the light, fun, and girly finish it provides. 

A Fashion Affair - Take Me to Vegas: January 28, 2012

Srsly, how fun does this look??

Fifth Annual Runway and Wine Event Raising Funds for Women’s and Children’s Charities

A Vintage Affair hosts its Fifth annual “A Fashion Affair” – with this year’s theme “A Fashion Affair – Take Me to VEGAS” AFA is a runway and wine event raising funds for women’s and children’s charities in Williamson County. Cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be provided by local restaurants and there will be a special musical performance. The runway show, featuring DAN Agency models, will showcase clothing that would be seen in Vegas – from cocktail dresses to show costumes.

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 28th

6:30 p.m. – cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres and Informal Trunk show

8 p.m. – runway show

Ticket Information:

VIP Runway Tables of eight and individual seats – $1000 per table or $125 per seat (VIP seats and table hosts will receive goody bags)

General Admission – $75 per seat or $600 per table of 8

All tickets can be purchased either online at 
www.avintageaffair.org/events or by calling 615-351-8165.

A Vintage Affair is an organization whose mission is to provide significant financial contributions to various nonprofit organizations in Williamson County whose services benefit the community at large. All funds contributed to the nonprofit organizations are designated for programs to support the well-being of women and children of need. To date, A Vintage Affair has contributed over one million dollars to non-profits in Williamson County.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Project Red Fashion Show: December 6, 2011

“Project Red - A Fashion Show” Benefiting AIDS awareness and education

Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 15, 2011

Nashville, TN- This winter, The Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville presents “Project Red” a fashion show benefiting AIDS awareness and education in the greater middle Tennessee area. The runway exhibition is being produced and created by students from the Fashion and Retail Management program. Every aspect of the production from lighting and set design, to marketing and promotion, guest services, public relations and of course, the selection of clothing to use in the runway collections, have been created from concept to execution by students at the college. The clothing and accessories that will be used in the fashion show will be from some of Nashville’s hottest boutiques.

The fashion show will be on December 6, 2011, doors open at 6:15pm and the main event starts at 7:00pm. The event will take place at Revolver, which is located on 1703 Church Street. There will also be a live band jamming and rocking out before and after the show. Light hours d’orves will be severed throughout out the show and are being provide by the Art Institute of Tennessee- Nashville culinary department. VIP tickets can be purchased in advance for $30.00 with limited availability and standard tickets can be purchased at the door for $15.00. An after party is also scheduled at Canvas Lounge for the 21 and up crowd. The after party is in no-way affiliated with the Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville. Don’t miss out on this sure to be talked about event that is for a great cause! For the latest and up to date information check out the “Project Red” event page on Facebook.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Merry & Bright Holiday Trunk Show: December 18, 2011

The holiday spirit is upon us and local trunk shows and events are popping up everywhere. I'm planning on attending several upcoming events in the hopes of purchasing gifts local this year. We'll see if I'm able to hit everybody on my list!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Olia Zavozina to Host Stella & Dot Trunk Show: Win $200!

We are hosting a Stella & Dot Trunk Show on Tuesday November 15th from 5pm-8pm! We will have some wine, snacks and a drawing for $200 towards an Olia Zavozina cocktail dress! If you are a bride-to-be or just looking for some new, fun accessories we would love for you to join us!

Kindly RSVP to oliaevents@gmail.com

b. Hughes Seeks FT Bridal Stylist

In search of a full-time position? B. Hughes is now hiring. Here are the details:

We have such exciting news! We are currently hiring a full time bridal stylist to add to our team. We are looking for the best and would love to see your resume. Please submit to bhughesbridalformal@gmail.com.

Interviews are starting today so don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity. 


Opry Mills On Track For Opening: Adds New Stores to Retail Mix


New additions to planned retail mix announced

NASHVILLE, TN (November 10, 2011) – Opry Mills is on schedule to reopen as the largest outlet, value retail, dining and entertainment destination in Tennessee on March 29, 2012 with a grand reopening celebration planned for early May.  Signaling its future success, four major anchors, Regal Cinemas Opry Mills Stadium 20 & IMAX, Dave & Buster’s, VF Outlet and Sun & Ski Sport, will open for business at Opry Mills later this month.

“Over the past several months, our team has been working diligently and made great progress to bring Opry Mills back to shoppers here and throughout the mid-south by early next year,” said Jad Murphy, general manager at Opry Mills.  “We are thrilled to be getting back to business and putting people back to work as the pulse of the Nashville shopping scene.”

Visitors will soon enjoy dozens of popular retailers already signed on to join the fashion-forward retail mix at Opry Mills. These additions include outlet locations from Coach Mens, Cole Haan, Converse, DKNY, Guess, Merrell, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, New York & Co., Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, Vera Bradley and Zumiez.

Opry Mills’ loyal shoppers will also enjoy the return of several familiar names including American Eagle Outfitters, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Nike Factory Store and Reebok Outlet Store.  Plus, Opry Mills will again boast the area’s only Bose Factory Store, The Disney Store Outlet, Lucky Brand Outlet and Nine West Outlet.

In addition to incredible shopping and dining options, Opry Mills’ popular Entertainment Stage will return as a unique feature of the center, showcasing live entertainment and other exciting family-friendly activities.

Opry Mills remains committed to the Nashville community and will again be a strong economic engine, creating many new jobs and providing a solid tax revenue stream.  Construction on the landmark property began in April after the announcement of Opry Mills’ agreement with its lenders, Helaba Bank and Nord/LB, to finance the rebuilding of the mall during continued litigation to have its insurers comply with their obligation to pay the amounts they agreed to in the event of a flood loss. 

About Opry Mills
Opry Mills is located seven miles from downtown Nashville, between Interstates 40 and 65, and is within walking distance of the Grand Ole Opry and the 2,800-room Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.  For the latest information about the ongoing restoration process at Opry Mills, please call (615) 514-1000 or visit www.oprymills.com.  Opry Mills also may be found on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OpryMills) and on Twitter @shoprymills.

About The Mills, A Simon Company
The Mills®, one of Simon Property Group's five real estate platforms, is comprised of 16 value-oriented retail destinations totaling over 24 million square feet. The Mills offers a unique brand of shopping with a mix of popular name brand outlets, value retailers and full-price stores, plus family-oriented dining and entertainment concepts. The Mills are well-located in major metropolitan markets and many are recognized as leading tourism destinations. Notable properties include Arundel Mills (Baltimore), Gurnee Mills (Chicago), Grapevine Mills (Dallas), Ontario Mills (Los Angeles), Opry Mills (Nashville), Potomac Mills (Washington, DC) and Sawgrass Mills (Ft. Lauderdale/Miami).

Simon Property Group, Inc. is an S&P 500 company and the largest real estate company in the U.S. The Company currently owns or has an interest in 391 retail real estate properties comprising 261 million square feet of gross leasable area in North America, Europe and Asia. Simon Property Group is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and employs more than 5,000 people worldwide. The Company's common stock is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol SPG. For further information, visit the Simon Property Group website at www.simon.com.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nashville Cares Avant Garde Fashion Show: November 12, 2011

Ok, seriously, how fun does this sound? Grab your gals, 'cause you're in for a wild night!

Nashville CARES will celebrate its Silver 25th Anniversary by converting the Boutique Hutton Hotel Ballroom into 4 Night Clubs/Lounges from 4 fashion capitals of the world: NYC, Paris, Milan and Hong Kong.

The evening will kick off with a silent auction followed by a night of high-energy fun and fashion. Midway during the evening, guests will experience an AVANTGARDE (wild & crazy fashions, makeup and hair) fashion show that is unique to their “individual nightclub” and that incorporates 4 leading fashion boutiques/retailers in Nashville, make-up artists and 4 hair salons. 

This ONE TIME ONLY event is in lieu of Artrageous during our transition to a new event for 2012.

J. Thomas Powell Award Recipient John Bridges is a renowned author of the best selling “How to be a Gentleman” book series and former Cultural Czar of Nashville.

Buy tickets here

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Judith Bright 1 Year Anniversary Party: November 10, 2011

Ok, I totally have a soft spot for Judith Bright. Maybe its because she and Ashley have been nothing but gems to me. Maybe its because I love the idea of an independent retailer planting her flagship store in Nashville. Or maybe its because her jewelry is just so damn gawwwww-geous. 

Join JB and the team to celebrate their one year anniversary party on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at their Green Hills Mall location. Cocktails and bites will be served, and JB is giving away door prizes. Oh, and you get a free new uno ring with any purchase. Um, deal!

One, please.

Ladies Night Out @ Shop La Chique: November 11, 2011

Held Friday, November 11, 2011 (11-11-11, duh!), La Chique Boutique / Shop La Chique is hosting a ladies night out from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. They'll be serving up champagne, hors d'oeuvres, and fashionable discounts. RSVP to Facebook here.

Live FashionABLE Seeks Interns

I've posted on Live FashionABLE a few times before, but now the Nashville-based charitable retailer is seeking interns to bring on board. Here are the details:

Every season, we look for a few good men & women to join our team. Each intern applies to and specializes in a specific department, though there is often overlap in departments + responsibilities. You’ll learn the ins and outs of sustainable business and receive valuable hands-on experience in how a non-profit runs! Oh, and have the time of your life, too.
VOLUNTEERS commit to a few hours a week to help with things around the Nashville office and/or for special events. To apply to be a general volunteer, fill out the form below.
INTERNSHIPS run in three seasons: spring, summer, fall. Each intern applies to and specializes in a specific department, though we highly value a collaborative team environment and there is often overlap in departments + responsibilities. You’ll learn the ins and outs of sustainable business and receive valuable hands-on experience in how a non-profit runs! Oh, and have the time of your life, too. Positions are unpaid, and Interns must provide their own housing arrangements and transportation to & from the office. For more info, visit livefashionable.com.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Impact of the Independent Retailer: Do We Need to Shop Locally?

While reading a back issue of an independent Louisville, KY circular (Leo Weekly), I became affixed on a full-page spread devoted to independent retailer advertising. Captioned at the top, a statement read, “Invest in your community, in your neighbors, and in yourselves.” Feeling a bit on the philosophical side, I began to think about the meaning of this statement and how it correlated to independent retailers and the community. My academic urge kicked in and I started doing some research on the social and economic impact of the independent retailer.

Leopard heels from The Perfect Pair

In the past few years I’ve kept abreast of documentary-worthy plights where communities fight against the development of big-box retailers, like Wal-Mart, citing the affects and impacts these types of stores can have on the independent entrepreneur. With prices often below cost, a big-box retailer like Wal-Mart can easily close the doors of an independent retailer within months. Yes, maybe we’ve all heard this, and these types of instances could attribute to our love and affection for the local merchant- we like to see the underdog succeed.  And this succession can only be attributable to its community of shoppers. But really, why do we shop locally? What are the social impacts? Are there any? What is contributed to the culture? What are the economic impacts? How are they measured?

It is widely believed that local, independently owned businesses are the heart and soul of a community, providing alternative outlets for shoppers, and adding to a city’s culture and sense of self. And when you think about it, who is it that owns these businesses? Our friends. Our neighbors. Our family. Imagine walking into J. Crew and asking for the CEO because you want shopping advice. However, venture into a store like Local Honey, and chances are owner Shea Steele will style you right. It must be noted here that often the knowledgeable service and attention to your needs add in the value and respect for a local business. Local First Utah, a non-profit independent business alliance, states, “[A local businesses] products and services support and sustain the needs of our residents, and they play a vital role in our social networks. In fact, local businesses mirror who we are and what we value as a community. They help to create a sense of place.” Ditto.

An assortment of Judith Bright jewelry.

The independent business also allows unique art and culture to develop in a community that could otherwise be ignored by national retailers. The local retailer creates value through its contributions to the climate and an area’s cultural vitality. Locally owned businesses also contribute to the economic vitality of a community in a multitude of ways.

First, shopping at locally owned businesses puts three times the dollars into the Nashville community. Several research studies have shown that for every $100 spent at a local business, $45 remains in the community, while only $13 remains when spent at a nationally owned business. The difference in funds typically is allocated towards other locally owned businesses. For example, local merchants generally utilize local professional services, such as law, accounting, advertising, banking, printing, internet services, etc. By contrast, national retailers generally procure these services in corporate headquarter communities or in nationally-based markets. Additionally, local retailers generally hire local employees, providing job opportunities for its communities. A 2008 study of Kent County, Michigan found that a 10% shift in community spending from chains to local businesses would create an additional 1600 jobs and $53 million in wages.

Second, local businesses are more likely to invest in their communities. A case study conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance found that for every $1,000 a national retailer donated to local charities, local retailers donated $4,000. If we think about our community, national businesses have held events aimed to provide funds to Nashville charities, like the recent Belk charity sale and Dillard’s fashion show to benefit the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. There’s two, but I can count dozens of recent and upcoming events in which local businesses supported or will support its community with charitable donations (Blush fashion show to benefit Bridges Women’s Shelter; nD Fashion Festival to benefit the Belcourt Theatre; Nashville Fashion Week Forward Fund; the upcoming Project Red fashion show held by students at the Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville). It is our local retailers that make significant contributions to the city that it supports and is supported by.

Third, environmental impacts are often reduced with the growth of local businesses. Local businesses as previously stated, are more likely to make local purchases. This requires less transportation for products. Also, these types of businesses generally locate themselves in urban town centers, rather than on the fringe or off-the-beaten-path. Local businesses can revitalize buildings and even entire areas. All of this means that local businesses contribute less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.

A look from Local Honey.

Yes, many of us have been shopping locally for a while now, but sometimes I think its necessary to examine our behaviors and analyze our decisions their ultimate affects. And for me, all this does is reinforce the importance of our continued support for the independent retail store.