MRS. MORLEY’S CASH MOB
I just took part in something special – something that reminded me that shopping should serve a purpose other than instant personal gratification and plumping up a corporate balance sheet.
I took part in a “cash mob”.
I had heard of a “flash mob” but a “cash mob”? The concept is the same but this one involved meeting at a local shop and spending $5 to support the retailer.
I can’t point you to a website because Mrs Morley is 99, she operates a tiny- and I mean tiny – haberdashery store in a little arcade between Whistler and Belgrave Streets in the Sydney suburb of Manly. Mrs Morley took over the store from a family member who passed away suddenly about 17 years ago.
Since then, she has worked five and a half days a week selling buttons, ribbons and threads. She works hard but she told me why she loves it: “Because I have to do something to stop me falling off the perch”.Fay Morley in her haberdashery store. Photo via Fairfax media.
That comment made me chuckle at the time but it has replayed in my mind ever since.
I often get overwhelmed with the busyness of life – working, cleaning, school runs and kids sport – and find myself dreaming of a life where I could wake up and meander through my day with no commitments. Mrs Morley’s comment made me realise that that dream may not actually be a good thing.
Being part of a community is a good thing.
The goal was simple – come together and show Mrs Morley that she is a valued part of the Manly business community. The result – a long queue of people snaking down the arcade, the buzz of strangers making small talk about how great it is to see someone still working at 99, the clicks of a few press photographers and a strong sense of community – that lovely heart-warming feeling when you feel a connection; when you are part of the village of life.
The point of this story?
Not to shout out about a particular “socially conscious product” but a simple reminder that supporting small and local business builds communities.
The cash mob showed me that there is a whole community of small business in Manly that I didn’t really know about. I had walked past Desire Books many times, but never been in.
I have driven to a sterile “supa centre” to buy buttons when I could have ridden my bike to Mrs Morley’s.
The little photos on this page were taken by a local fashion designer Beattie Lanser who handmakes all her clothing in a workshop at the back of her shop in Fairlight. A store I have driven past but never entered.
I will now – I feel I have a connection and I want to foster it – I want to support local businesses more; yes it supports the local retailer but I will benefit too – I will make new connections, I will continue to be inspired and I will probably learn something too.
Do you have a local business you support – how does it make you feel?
*Julie Somerville is a 40-something wife, mother of three and lawyer from the northern beaches of Sydney who blogs about socially conscious shopping in her (absence of) spare time. She started blogging this year after being confronted by the contrast between the gluttony of a pastrami on rye during a MasterChef episode and a news feature on the African food crisis. Her blog www.nomorepastrami.com is her way of giving back and encouraging others to spend in a way that benefits others.