If you know me, you know that I love working with local artists, craftspeople, suppliers, and specialists. I find it rewarding to support people whose passions and unique skill sets have become their livelihoods. From lifting each other up to connecting over our shared values, these professional relationships have easily become some of my most treasured.
That said, supporting local trades and makers isn’t just personal. There are many benefits that our clients enjoy when we involve our local network, too. Whether you’re renovating with us now or considering a design project in the future, here are 5 reasons that sourcing locally is worth your while…
1. High-Quality Materials & Craftsmanship
Yes, there are high-quality vendors to be found across North America and even overseas. However, sourcing Vancouver-based or Canadian-made products is still an advantage. Local makers, suppliers, and trades are more accustomed to the needs of our area, and we have the option to work hand-in-hand with them to create something truly custom for you.
For example, one of our favourite Vancouver suppliers, Once A Tree Furniture, collaborated with us to design and craft the two custom coffee tables shown above. They are both made from acclimated hardwoods, which means no shrinking or swelling and less cracking. Pieces like these not only endure our climate but are of such high quality that our clients are likely to keep them as heirlooms for decades to come. That’s the value of local craftsmanship.
2. Greater Efficiency & A Smarter Investment
Whether you have a limitless budget or a finite one, you are likely to be wondering about the investment surrounding locally sourced and custom pieces. While it is true that anything handcrafted by an expert is going to be an investment, these costs are offset by its other financial advantages.
To start, local products are more cost-effective in the long-run, because we avoid foreign exchange rates and enjoy decreased transportation costs. Locally-made custom pieces also tend to be hand-delivered with care by the makers, ensuring that each piece arrives in pristine condition.
By comparison, sourcing from big-box retailers is a bigger risk. It is not uncommon for items to arrive damaged, which requires our project management hours to solve, in addition to the costs associated with returning the piece and having a new one shipped. In fact, when all is said and done, it is not rare that acquiring a big-box piece ends up costing more than a custom piece would have! Surprising, right?
Long-term, sourcing local is usually the wiser choice. During our preliminary conversations we will identify these opportunities for your consideration.
3. A Healthier Home, Community & Planet
Sourcing locally also comes with several benefits for the conscientious among us. First, because we can reduce the travel distance for transporting goods, we are able to lower the total carbon footprint of your project, which is always better for the planet.
Second, favouring Canadian suppliers and materials gives us the confidence that these employers are paying their workforce fair wages and creating safe working conditions, which is not always a guarantee when you purchase from big-box businesses.
The third benefit is a bit more personal: goods made from locally sourced materials and/or crafted by hand (in most cases) are developed with fewer harmful chemicals and irritants. This simple difference can lead to long-term improvements in indoor air quality and overall health. Who doesn’t want that?
4. A Deeper Sense of Place
“Sense of place” is a term designers use to reference the way a space evokes its environment. Our clients in particular have a love for the outdoors and for the beauty of our region, so creating a sense of place is important to them. Sourcing locally is one way we achieve it.
For example, in the Raven Woods Home (above), we curated several unique local pieces that capture the feel of their rainforest-meets-coast location. These acquisitions include a driftwood sailboat, mountain-inspired textile piece, seascape artwork, sculpted centerpiece, and lush moss greenery. (Scroll to bottom for artist credits.)
By finding pieces that were inspired by our region and created right here in Vancouver, these pieces also have more meaning and depth. More than a sense of place, our clients feel a connection with them, and by extension, with their home.
5. Long-Term Access to Industry Specialists
Supporting the industry as a whole may not be your highest priority, but I guarantee you will feel good about it. Why? To explain, we have to look at its evolution…
For decades, centuries even, speciality trades did some of the most respected work in society. Skills like carpentry, tilework, and upholstery fabrication were revered and encouraged. Now, however, many of these skills have been replaced by machines and production lines.
Of course, we enjoy many advantages of the modern world, but the collective decline of skills and knowledge feels like a community-wide loss — and we can do something about it. By continuing to source and shop from local makers and trades, we increase demand, making it far more likely that these experts will hire and train the next generation in their line of work.
All that to say, when you buy or hire locally, you’re contributing to something bigger than just your home or that person’s livelihood. You’re helping preserve a history of craftsmanship, creativity, and expertise that will benefit you and the whole community for generations to come.
Ready to Design Your Home?
We are grateful to be surrounded by talented local specialists who are committed to their trades, the environment, and delivering high-quality goods to our clients. Although we have mentioned some partners here, you can find more on our Community Spotlight page.
If you are ready for a relaxed, authentic home crafted by an experienced local team, we would love to help. Reach out to us here and let’s discuss your vision for your home.
Until next time,
*Note: Here are some of the artists, vendors, and trades featured in this blog post. I encourage you to check them out!
Lions Bay Project: Once a Tree Furniture
Raven Woods Project: Tracey Ayton | Katie Napier | With Strings Attached | Soul Roots Moss Arts | Martha Sturdy
PEI Project: Brodye Chappell Builds | Propellor Studio | Once a Tree Furniture