Shopping Small


Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude

One thing I love about Seattle is how it likes to support local and small businesses. There is something about the culture here that is conscientious and likes to help out the little guys. We do also have a touch of the hipster up here, so that maybe a factor… I digress.

This week I’ve been thinking about the stark difference between my shopping habits I have in Seattle and the habits I had in LA and in Virginia. I know income level has played some part in the change, but I believe the majority of it is just me naturally assimilating to PNW ways.

I’m going native, y’all.

Clothing & Accessories

Prior to living in Seattle, I purchased most of my clothing and accessories from Target and Macy’s. Now I only go into Macy’s for sales on Lucky Brand and Target if someone has registered for Baby or Bridal showers. I purchase a significant amount of my clothing from local boutiques like Endless Knott, Diva Dollz, and Morea Seal. I do find about half my clothes from Anthropologie (which provides a boutique experience even though it’s a major chain) and most of my shoes from Nordstrom.

Home Goods

In Los Angeles, I was the queen of finding amazing home decor bargains at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx. I was so proud of how damn cute I made my house by spending so little. These days, however, I’ve put a lot more value into the heirlooms CJ and I have from our respective families.  When I do need to buy something new for the home, my first stop is Chameleon in Ballard, Three Birds on Queen Anne and a fantastic antique store on Stewart down near the Market. I still sometimes purchase from some of my favorite online home decor depots, like Joss & Main.

Coffee Shops

In LA, Mr. Percival and I would go for long walks, destination: Starbucks. While I’m clearly in the Starbucks capital now, my morning brew comes exclusively from Macrina (which uses beans from Caffe Umbria) and Storyville.


We only go to chain restaurants when we travel or if we’re doing it for some kind of kitchy reason. I honestly don’t even remember the last time I went to a non-local restaurant while in Seattle.


This is where I see the biggest difference in habits – admittedly driven mostly by CJ. We get our veggies, meat, and eggs from Ballard Farmer’s Market on Sundays. Our coffee beans are delivered by Bean Box and we supplement with beans from Cafe Ladro, Herkimer, or Seattle Coffee Works. We only go to Safeway for things like cleaning supplies or toilet paper.

But what does it all mean???

Good question. I’m not going to picket big businesses and I’m unlikely to request that I slaughter the cow I’m about to eat for dinner. I do, however, really enjoy my new way of consuming. The quality in food, goods, and service is far superior to anything I’ve experienced before. And as a small business owner, I really like supporting other entrepreneurs.

I Challenge Myself to a…erm…Challenge

Starting October 15th through January 15th, I am going to refrain from shopping in large chain stores and shop exclusively from smaller businesses. This also means no ordering on line from giant retailers…like Amazon.

What will be difficult?

This is going to be particularly rough when it comes time for holiday shopping, but it just means I need to be more thoughtful about where to go – there will be no one-stop-shops. Also, I don’t know how I’m going to get through an entire after Christmas season without taking advantage of the Anthropologie sale…

There are some items I’m worried about not being able to find locally, which includes cosmetics and shoes. Cosmetics because my skin is super sensitive and Sephora is my tried and true location for picking up products I can use.  Shoes (namely boots) are difficult because my calves make it really tricky find things that fit. I’m worried that not having the wide variety from Nordstrom or Amazon will really make boot shopping a time-consuming hell.

But why will it be okay, anyway?

Ultimately, the reasons listed above are why I’m waiting to start my challenge until the 15th: it gives me a little bit of time to research solutions for shoes and cosmetics now before I put myself under the pressure of the challenge!

Also, I am not restricting myself from shopping online at small businesses! I’m looking forward to ordering rockin’ dresses from Loco Lindo and Effie’s Heart.  I’m excited to try some boutiques in town I haven’t visited yet!

So what do you say? Anyone want to join me on this adventure of shopping small for three months? Are you up for the challege?

PS…if you want to support a local Seattle cookie business, there’s one I recommend… Maybe even try these cookies as ice cream sandwiches at Old School Frozen Custard

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