Tessa and Torrey Vaylou: What's Your 'Local'?
When world events make it seem like danger is at your doorstep, living local has given me peace. Having a day selling my bags or our screen-printed T-shirts down at the Artist Market at Burlington City Arts brings me back. Talking with the full range of visitors and Vermonters after a week of being cooped up in our studio brings the community to life. It takes the sharp edges out of the news and social media feeds and reminds me of the day to day. The reality of local.
It means we spread our business by word of mouth, it means we show up for our customers and keep our word. Our business has brought us in touch with so many talented local people. To see a bag I made on the shoulder of a stranger around town makes my soul light up. We screen-print logos and designs for other companies on apparel, too. To see firsthand the growth of other businesses as their quantities and orders expand is such a joy, a reminder that their success helps our success. It all comes full circle.
Buying local is not dead, it is necessary. We are tactile beings; to touch and make with our hands is something that cannot be taken away from us. Nothing compares to touching a product—to seeing the weave of fabric, feeling the weight of a bowl, the smell of a hand- made candle in person. Products look so shiny on the Internet, but we have all felt that twinge of disappointment when we open the package and the quality doesn’t stand up.
Living local means we try to put our money where our mouth is and buy from local farmers and shop from local businesses. It means when I need a gift, I think of the local potter or soap maker before Amazon. Living local means bumping into your yoga instructor at your child’s day care and recognizing each other enough to fall into conversation. It means delivering your extra zucchini and tomatoes to a neighbor’s doorstep and taking weekly walks with a friend you made on your street.
Living local for us means a shift in focus. In a world that can be very connected to far-off places, sometimes the best moments are created when you look right outside your door.