It’s National Small Business Week! As last week’s Fashion Revolution encouraged us to consider the variety of makers who make our clothing, small business week is an initiative to support local economic development.
Many small business owners shared their stories while I was a graduate student at Cornell. They introduced me to a variety of natural fibers and fiber animals, which sparked my interest in exploring the intersections of fashion and agriculture.
This week, I took some time to give a #SmallThanks to these farms and also textile businesses that influenced my thinking in New York. I provided reviews through Google Maps to highlight the value of these small businesses.
It’s interesting to see the spatial geography of these businesses.
Fiber farms are in open spaces surrounded by green fields. They can have a variety of products available that can range from raw fibers for spinning to socks or shawls. This business model readily fits into emerging agrotourism efforts in upstate New York and beyond.
Textile businesses like SewGreen in Ithaca are in urban downtown centers. A recent paper “Locally-Owned Retail Stores and the Revitalized Downtown” highlights how the availability of small businesses in downtown centers provides opportunities for civic engagement and local economic development.
I saw this through LocalFiber’s Pop Up Shop in SewGreen last December. SewGreen provided an opportunity to diversify economic development opportunities by offering products from Central New York fiber farms that are predominantly in rural areas. Dana Havas, co-founder and organizer of the LocalFiber Pop Up explains that they featured 9 farms and made 115 sales in the one month time period. It provided an opportunity for civic engagement and continued dialogue through educational presentations and fiber arts workshops to support future economic development. To learn more visit: https://www.facebook.com/localfiber.ny/
These efforts provide opportunities for reflective consumption that aligns with the broader slow fashion movement.