Hellooooo August! We are already 9 months into 2018 already and 2019 is basically around the corner. Wtf?! Where did the year go? But, what else does August mean to us Malaysians? Hari Merdeka!
This year has been monumental to us Malaysians, particularly the rise of Pakatan Harapan and a political revolution that caught the attention of the whole world. Most of us are still feeling patriotic and although it’s true that there is more to be done in our country (in fact, now that the Simian Wars/GE14 have ended, the real work can begin), we still have room to celebrate, right?
So, let’s translate our feelings of celebration, patriotism and support to our local community; the small independent businesses, the independent musicians and artists, everyone. Why? Because these people all around you are the ones who are making the Malaysia around you, what you call home. A country is not defined by the skyscrapers, the number of shopping malls or political scandals, (well maybe a lil’ bit) it is defined by the people in it.
This month we are featuring some of our favourite local brands and artists that we think you should know, love and start throwing some coin on! Have any recommendations? Let us know! But firstly, why should we start buying locally produced goods? And why should we encourage the whole nature of buying local goods?
1. Improves the local economy
An incentive I’m sure everyone will want to hear about given the state of our economy…. No shade but um… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ When you buy local, a significantly more of that coin you are spending stays within the community instead into those overseas capitalist driven chain franchises. A NST article stated that SME’s (small and medium enterprises) contribute to about 41% to the GDP.
2. Know the people behind the products
One of the biggest differences between a small business and large chain businesses is the relationship with its customers and the community. A small/local business typically innately would want to build a close and personal relationship with their customers. By building a close connection with each other, there will be a sense of increased trust and emotional investment into the brand as they are the people in your community. The business themselves will also benefit from this relationship as it will bring better communication between the consumers to the producers as they can take critiques and suggestions from the source, thus aiding them to improve their brands and products that will appeal to the community.
3. Building personality and character in the industry, keeping the community unique
As Malaysians, I think its safe to say we are all patriotic (to whatever degree) and will always carry a piece of our heritage wherever we go. Whether it be influences from Malaysian pop culture, childhood snacks, games, shows, music, whatever it is- local brands are more likely to use these as inspirations in their products to make them more unique and original to everything else in the market. Thus making it us more drawn towards locally inspired products. It makes them unique to the million other products that are in the world and it’s nice to know that a piece of where we call home is carried through these locally made goods.
4. The Domino effect
The existence of successful local businesses and their products that are appreciated by the public is essential, as this will eventually have a domino effect on the appearance of local businesses in the market. The successes of one small local brand can inspire and instil more confidence on future creators, entrepreneurs and individuals that there is space for them in the industry and they can possibly make an impact in the community. That’s why it’s important to show support and encourage others around you on the importance of small local businesses.
Checkout our first part of our Merdeka feature, on using local cosmetic brands get your Muka Merdeka.