My one-year local shopping challenge is now over, but the challenge has just begun.

Over this past year, I’ve seen and met some incredible locally-owned boutiques and their owners, many of which I hadn’t been able to shop at purely for budgetary reasons. My shopping willpower was definitely tested on many an occasion!

Items that were on my shopping list throughout the year:

  • Red clutch
  • Blazers
  • Hooded waterproof raincoat
  • Faux leather jacket
  • Skinny black pant
  • 3/4 length shirts
  • New wallet
  • Purple toque
  • Silver chandelier earrings
  • Spring dress
  • Jeans
  • New workout tank and leggings
  • Scarves: Orange, turquoise, purple & grey

It’s interesting how our needs and desires change over the year, especially with the change in climate. I was able to get 7 of 13 of the items on this list at locally-owned shops or as hand-me downs. The rest I removed, changed slightly, or haven’t been able to find yet.

The great thing is, now that Fall is here I feel that I’m well stocked with pants and a nice hooded jacket, and have my sights set on a new faux leather jacket and some scarves to complete my wardrobe.

I recently broke the rules twice on my last vacation to Honolulu, where I got two accessories at the Forever 21 and Macy’s on the Waikiki Strip. I felt a bit guilty, but I did try before my trip to search out local boutiques or local designers, to no avail, and I thought I may as well have spent the American money I had with me where I could.

What this challenge has taught me is that it is absolutely possible to shop locally-owned only without sacrificing style.

If anything, you will increase your sense of style as you find items that not many others are wearing (I’ve seen someone in the H&M dress I bought last summer, and it’s not cool) and the sense of accomplishment when you find that coveted item somewhere local – when you could have easily bought it at the mall – is indescribable. Definitely worth treating yourself to a cupcake.

You’ll also find that some of your favourite American or international brands can be found at locally-owned shops, where you can support local entrepreneurs while still sporting brands of a trusted quality. At my last trip to Lusso Baby in North Vancouver, they had an amazing array of high-end designer children’s items by Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and UGG.

Depending on where you live in the Lower Mainland, getting to some places than others may be a trek. I’ve still only be able to go to the central areas of Vancouver and North Van, but I plan to keep venturing further and further out to see what the suburbs have in store.

In conclusion, I am happy to never set foot in a mall again and shop locally only – for good!

In addition, I will challenge myself further by trying to shop eco-friendly and locally-designed when possible, and shopping at more vintage and consignment stores. I know that there is an untapped group of them in Vancouver, and if I can find a once-loved item – that likely no one else has – at a fraction of the original price, it makes me feel better knowing that I have saved money (which I can use for more shopping!) and that my carbon footprint on the retail manufacturing industry is even lower than just choosing to shop locally-owned.

Good luck to you and your local shopping challenges – and if you are looking for suggestions on where to shop for certain things, comment here!

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