Rosie Johnson Illustrates
Freelance illustrator

Notes from the studio (it’s a shed)

You Get Out What You Put In

If the Great British Public were to collectively name me- they might come up with the moniker Ranty McRantFace. Well, they definitely would have in 2016. I’m so topical. 

One of the pimped profiles raising money for Mind.

One of the pimped profiles raising money for Mind.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram (and if not, why not, might I ask?) then you'll have seen me getting cross about the lack of funding and support for Mental Health. If you took part in the Pimp My Profile weekend, then you'll be pleased to know that we raised about £200 for Mind. If you've got no idea what I'm talking about- go and have a look on my Facebook page.

I get pretty arsey about inequality generally. Funny that. I'm just not a big fan of it and have been spurred on by the Times Up and Me Too campaigns to get more vocal and less apologetic for my stance. That said, I do worry that if all I do is bleat on about a cause or an injustice it'll become just so much white noise. But, hey, I didn’t choose the rant life- the rant life chose me. Bear with me. I promise the next communication will be about pure commercialism and fluff. 

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This week has seen the announcement of the closure of two businesses local to me- one an amazing independent theatre and bar and the other a really lovely vegan cafe and shop - and also the start of a campaign to save the local breastfeeding support group. They're all closing for different reasons, but with this in common: they all could have done with our support. I feel crap that I haven't been to that theatre more than twice in a year. I'm not vegan, but I flippin loved their burgers and could have made more of an effort to actively choose the cafe. I still have a chance to save the breastfeeding group and I intend to help wherever I can. 

These announcements have been massive boots up the bum for me. I could have helped keep my area that bit more vibrant and culturally interesting by just doing small things. And this is the bit where we can all do something brilliant. I want a high street that is distinctive to my area. So I’m going to actively chose my fruit and veg shop- it’s actually cheaper as well as nicer than the supermarket. I’m going to go buy toys from Blooming Kids, books from Best Books and get my cuppa and cards at Bumble and Bee. And when the cupboards are bare and my pockets are empty (as often happens when you run your own small business!) I will spread the word about these places, share their content, tell a friend, write a review. I will keep championing the Just a Card movement, set up to encourage us all to do our tiny bit. It honestly all adds up.

And it’s not a bleeding-heart liberal mission. I’m not looking to make huge personal sacrifices for this endeavour; this is about making a choice about the kind of community I want. We all win when people choose to support small, local businesses. Towns keep their identities. Families pay their mortgages. Shoppers feel like they’ve had personal interactions and have bought quality goods. Yip to the eeee! Let's not risk the worst possible consequence of doing nothing - another whingey blog post from me.

Let me know in the comments or via the old social media what you're pledging to do for independent businesses.