Shopping Local Can Save The World

For Nomads, as for all of us, the last 2.5 years has been an extreme challenge. What started out as fear for our health very quickly became fear for our livelihood, as lockdowns and measures started to destroy the business we had spent almost two decades devoting our lives to.

“We are all in this together” quickly became, “some of us are more in this than others,” as we watched small businesses get targeted while big box stores like Amazon, Home Depot, and Costco remained open.

We live in a very small town in the mountains of central British Columbia in Canada, and, one by one, we watched many of our neighbours’ businesses collapse under the strain of the measures that were meant to protect us. Our friends struggled to provide the basics for their families, and yet these large companies GREW, and MADE MILLIONS during this same time.

If it weren’t for the fact that Nomads was so well established we wouldn’t be here today. We have tried to keep a middle ground during the events of the past couple of years, but the discrepancy is so in our faces, that we feel the need to speak out.

It’s time for people to realize that the measures hurt small businesses in a specific and targeted way that most haven’t recovered from.

When the pandemic hit we were in the middle of delivering our summer collection, but every one of our retailers cancelled their summer orders. We got stuck with a whole season’s worth of clothing. We’re talking, hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock. Luckily, we were already set up online, so that saved our butts. A smaller company would have sunk.

We lost 70% our wholesalers in the first season of Covid.

It was a terrible year.

Every time we made an order, we had lost more retailers by the time it arrived. We had so much left-over stock, we had to adjust everything. We took many losses.

We went from 100 wholesale customers to 30!

It’s not only new wholesale stores that folded. Our oldest and biggest store in California also crumbled; they’d been around for 20-plus years.

All our retailers who are left are now making smaller orders because they are afraid of being locked down again and they won’t be able to sell.

The lockdowns and subsequent collapses affect every part of our business.

We lost so many retail customers, we can no longer maintain our minimums with our manufacturers. They were nice enough to lower their minimums, so that  we could still place orders.

From a design perspective, we can’t take as many risks as before. And that’s sad. We started this business by taking risks! Hemp, itself, was a risk.

It also makes it hard to maintain our integrity, and to continue to support those factories that are doing the right thing. It always costs more to do the right thing, and every penny counts now.

We know that we are not alone in this, and that many of you are in the same situation.

It’s hard not to see it as a plan that while small businesses were being destroyed, Amazon, Walmart, and Costco were left alone.

Hard not to see it as intentional when all the measures that were put in place were perfectly orchestrated to destroy small businesses, while enriching huge corporations.

So why didn’t we just give up?

Because small businesses create free societies and reduce poverty.

In 2006, Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank won the Noble Prize for their work to “create economic and social development from below” through micro loans. These micro loans allowed impoverished people to start their own small businesses, which pulled them out of poverty.

Keeping a small business going, during what feels like a targeted global attack on individual wealth and freedom, feels like a revolutionary act.

And we are all about revolutionary acts.

Part of why we keep going is, we simply don’t want the big-box stores to win. We thought about giving up several times during the pandemic, but we honestly don’t want a world without the patchwork of small local businesses that make our lives better..

The world is better with small businesses.

We loved the community of small businesses in our neighborhood. We had friends who made soap, clothes, food, face creams, chocolate, diapers. We could get everything we wanted while supporting natural products made by people we knew.

If you want this kind of world to continue, like we do, then shop local this holiday season. Small businesses are struggling, while big box stores make billions. We strongly believe that each person can vote with their wallet and make the world a better place.

All the best to you,

With love always,

Anik & Louis
Nomads Hemp Wear