Shopping never used to bother me as much as it does now. Not long ago, you could visit a town for the first time and you would know you were somewhere new. There would be unusual shops, different displays in the windows, that kind of thing. But recently, all high streets have begun to look the same. All the same chainstores, all the same layouts, BORING!! Then, there's the internet. Widely publicised as the shopping experience of the future, it appeals to our sense of 'bigger, better, now', but does it really help? The problem is, it's so impersonal. There's no opportunity to be sure of what you're buying, even the colours are not always clear. It's easy to make mistakes, or become the victim of fraud.
Recently, though, I've become aware of a new virtual High Street emerging. Social networking is providing a platform to buy and sell a huge variety of different goods and services and, whilst there is still the convenience of purchasing from your own front room, there's the added advantage of being able to interact with the seller, which is great if you'd like to see a different colour or size, or have any questions about the product.
It's very reminiscent of the market stalls that used to grace most high streets, until supermarkets and megastores took their toll. In the days of markets, and smaller specialist shops too, you would be served by an expert in that product, sometimes two or three generations, and you could get all the advice you needed. You would also get a smile and a conversation. Now it's all self service and swipe cards! So, what can you find in the 21st century marketplace today? Here are a couple of my favourite sellers and products I've found this week, handpicked just for you!
Trish began making jewellery in August 2011. Through the Trish's Treasures website and Facebook page, the business quickly grew and Trish attributes this to the ability to interact with customers and make friends; "I think Facebook is brilliant for selling as you can engage your customers by chatting. I started off talking to my friends, so I guess I carried on the same way chatting to effectively strangers." She has seen demand for her one-off items increase and her products being purchased by generations of the same family. 'Virtual word of mouth' has also led to purchases from as far afield as Malta!
Her speciality is making new items out of old broken necklaces, which appeals to our growing need to be environmentally responsible as a society. It also means that every piece created is unique. Recently, she has been expanding her Wedding range, including keepsake Bridal bouquets, consisting of flowers, buttons, jewellery, brooches and beads. Trish is always brimming with new ideas and her infectious enthusiasm shows in her Facebook posts! It's lovely to read about her experiences running her business, as you get a real sense of being part of something special. And, there are always lots of cute puppy photos to go ga-ga over as well!
All the cushions on this site come with the squishiest, softest inners that keep their shape brilliantly, and are perfect for cheering up a boring sofa or bed. Give a like on Facebook or Twitter to be first to know about any of the many competitions she regularly runs.