Love is in the air this month and there’s nothing I love quite as much as lolita indie brands! While Japanese lolita brands are the undeniable center of the international EGL community, independent brands all over the world are the beating heart of local communities. It’s especially important to invest and support in your local community if you want it to thrive. So make sure you’re giving your local brands lots of love!
Give them a shout out.
Simply amplifying an indie brand’s messages on social media can be a huge help. Reposting when they have sales or when they’ll be at events can help them reach a larger audience. Even if you aren’t able to attend an event or purchase from them, your friends and followers might! I love making lists like my Kawaii Black Friday round up each year so I can help other people find a brand to fall in love with.
Tag them in pictures.
Lolita fashion is pretty well known for “coordinate rundowns” in pictures and videos, but make sure you tag indie brands and don’t just leave them as “offbrand.” By tagging them, you’re showcasing their products on a real person and helping point people to the brands if they want to see more.
Leave them reviews.
If you do purchase from an indie brand, make sure you review them! Shops often have an option to leave reviews so other buyers can see them, so make sure you do it. You can also post reviews on social media or on blogs, so other people searching for the brand can find them. Reviews help buyers shop with confidence, which is particularly important for smaller brands!
Buy from them when you can.
You’ll notice that this suggestion isn’t #1 on my list. While indie brands definitely want you to purchase their stuff, it’s not practical that you’ll be able to afford every release (or even love every item that they put out). Buy from them when you can, and make sure to let them know when you like the stuff they’re making. If they know that an item or release has an audience, they’ll keep making things like that!
Put them on your wishlist.
Whether they’re in your favorite shops on Etsy, or just on your wishlist for your birthday, let other people know that you want them to buy from indie stores. Not only will your friends and family give the gift of exactly what you want, but you’ll be making sure that your gift is supporting a small business and your local community.
Find ways to gift them to other people.
Obviously, I’m not suggesting that everyone in your life needs to become a lolita fashion fan, but you’d be surprised at how often an indie brand will make something for everyone.
For example, when I attended the BAK Holiday Pop Up in San Francisco this year, I kept my eye out for items I thought would make good gifts for other people. My friend Claire is really into tarot, so she got one of Haenuli’s the Wandering Spirit decks (which she loved!) My sister, a big ole anime nerd, got a resin hair clip from My Morning Tea featuring a dangling charm styled to look like Howl’s earring from Howl’s Moving Castle. So while I definitely bought things for myself, I also made sure to think beyond my own wardrobe and give the gift of indie brands!