Yesterday I took part in something special – something that reminded me that shopping should serve a purpose other than instant personal gratification and plumping up a corporates balance sheet. I took part in a ‘cash mob’. I had heard of a ‘flash mob’ but a ‘cash mob’? The concept is the same but this one involved meeting at a local shop and spending $5 to support the retailer.
Via Facebook my lovely friend, Annie, invited me to Mrs Morley’s Haberdashery ‘cash mob’. I can’t point you to a website because Mrs Morley is 99, she operates a tiny, and I mean tiny, haberdashery store in a little arcade between Whistler and Belgrave Streets in Manly. Mrs Morley took over the store from a family member who passed away suddenly about 17 years ago. Since then, she has worked 5 and a half days a week selling buttons, ribbons and threads. She works hard but she told me why she loves it – “because I have to do something to stop me falling off the perch”.
That comment made me chuckle at the time but it has replayed in my mind ever since – I often get overwhelmed with the busyness of life – working, cleaning, school runs and kids sport – and find myself dreaming of a life where I could wake up and meander through my day with no commitments. Mrs Morley’s comment made me realise that that dream may not actually be a good thing – being part of a community is a good thing.
The goal was simple – come together and show Mrs Morley that she is a valued part of the Manly business community. The result – a long queue of people snaking down the arcade, the buzz of strangers making small talk about how great it is to see someone still working at 99, the clicks of a few SMH photographers and a strong sense of community – that lovely heart warming feeling when you feel a connection; when you are part of the village of life.
The point of this post ? Not to shout out about a particular ‘socially conscious product’ but a simple reminder that supporting small and local business builds communities. The cash mob showed me that there is a whole community of small business in Manly that I didn’t really know about. I had walked past Desire Books many times, but never been in. I have driven to a sterile ‘supa centre’ to buy buttons when I could have ridden my bike to Mrs Morley’s.The photos on this post were taken by a local fashion designer, Beattie Lanser, who handmakes all her clothing in a workshop at the back of her shop in Fairlight. A store I have driven past but never entered. I will now – I feel I have a connection and I want to foster it – I want to support local businesses more; yes it supports the local retailer but I will benefit too – I will make new connections, I will continue to be inspired and I will probably learn something too.
Do you have a local business you support – how does it make you feel?