Over the last few years, every Friday, right after I drop both my girls off at school I head to the farmer’s market in Amstelveen, my small, multicultural neighbourhood. I smuggle a cube of fresh young cheese that lays on a plank, heading off in the direction of rainbow coloured veggies I’ve been dreaming of all week long.

It’s been just a few days since the city enforced regulations, recommending social distancing and I am doing my best to ensure I flatten the curve. But I am surprised by how much I miss the smell of freshly baked bread and the casual banter with Indira, the lady who runs an organic fruit and veg stall. I am equally certain that Indira misses me too. Not just me, but all those loyal customers who visited her each week and helped sustain her small enterprise.   

As a young brand that works with artisans to give them a steady wage and dignified livelihood, I have never underestimated the value of every purchase. Because when you support a local business or social enterprise, you are truly impacting lives.

Weaving in Manali

We are grateful that our artisan partners belong to NGOs or producer companies, and our collaborations with them only helps add to the additional income that they need to run their homes. Our ability to give them regular work through the year allows the much-needed encouragement and financial freedom. And it is in times like these that we have to lead from the front, assuring them that we shall get through this as a community.

Right now, more than ever, it’s the local businesses that are being impacted the most. These are uncertain times for the best of us and they call for unusual measures.

There are folks getting gift cards from their favourite shops, as a token of encouragement. There are others who still get their takeaway coffee from their local, family-run cafes in show of support. There are brands giving a shoutout to other likeminded brands, in a show of solidarity. I am getting ready to draw up my grocery list for the Persian shop in my neighbourhood, but before that, I am curious to hear – how would you like to help local businesses survive in these times?

March 21, 2020 — Kanak Hirani

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