Published on 21/11/2018
"IF EVERYONE who'd complimented our beautiful gallery had bought 'just a card' we'd still be open.”
When artist and designer, Sarah Hamilton, read this quote by the owners of a small gallery which had recently closed, it prompted her to set up JUST A CARD, a movement to encourage people to buy from designers and craftspeople, independent galleries and shops.
“As an artist and designer who also makes cards, I know just how valuable each and every sale is, not only to independent shops and galleries which make our High Streets unique, but to their artists and designer suppliers.”
So many towns have the same retailers on their high streets, you don’t know if you are in Aberdeen or Aberystwyth. Explore some of the back streets and lanes and you will find wonderful independent businesses but for many of these it is a constant struggle to continue.
People often do not appreciate the considerable costs involved in staging an exhibition or keeping a shop open. And they do not appreciate the costs borne by artists and makers. Running a shop or setting up a studio is often a labour of love. Without dedication and passion, and crucially sales, these cannot survive.
JUST A CARD is the opposite of Back Friday. No doubt your inbox will have been full of Black Friday offers this week — 10% off here, 25% off there. I’ve been offered a ‘Best Ever Black Friday 30% Super Deal’ from an Ink Cartridge company, up to 80% off from a furniture company and I have even been offered a ‘Mega Deal, 30% Off Your Wedding Video’. Well, it’s a bit late for that since our wedding was 42 years ago.
I might just be tempted to buy some ink cartridges in a special deal but an office supplies shop is never going to lift my spirits and feed my soul. While a space full of unique original paintings, ceramics, sculpture, glass, carvings and, yes, cards, will do just that.
So, next time you enjoy the experience of looking round an independent retailer, gallery, craft shop or studio, do think about buying ‘just a card’ or another small item. As the Scots saying goes, “mony a mickle maks a muckle”.