According to the Central Bank of Malta, over 97% of all businesses in Malta are micro-companies. The largest portion of this entrepreneurial landscape is built by people who, sometimes against all odds, decided to put their hearts and savings into improving our quality of life by providing products and services that are responding to the needs of our community. They play an integral part in spearheading growth and boosting the local economy by creating jobs and bringing about innovation. They give Malta its unique contemporary tastes, aromas, shapes and colours.
There’s a lot to consider when we allow these people to give up and their initiatives to disappear.
Here are 25 quotes that will make you realise how important and irreplaceable is the role that small, independent businesses and the creative entrepreneurs running them, play in our lives.
Image: No.43 Valletta
1. "You are supporting someone's dream." - Hayley Todd, Founder of No.43
Read our conversation with Hayley on running a bistro in the heart of Valletta.
2. "When you support a local business and a small independent artist, you are not simply buying any good or service. In truth, you are supporting a lot of toil and hard work, supporting talent and creativity. You are also helping creatives to persist in their art and explore further." - Claude Zammit Trevisan, Founder of Birgu Blue
3."As local creatives, we generally highlight the beauty of our home countries while making use of locally sourced materials. Supporting local creatives encourages and promotes creativity as a career and lowers the environmental impact of our everyday products." - Toni Cassar Dowling, Creative Director at NAR Candles
4. "Those are the businesses that give Malta its identity." - Tom, Alex & Mike, Owners of Cafe Society
From our conversation on overcoming challenging times in business.
5. "Sometimes I think our idea of Maltese-produced craft is stuck somewhere in the 80s; that something is only worth buying if it’s from a big brand name that you can also find overseas. So many of these corporations (fast fashion especially) rip off smaller artists, stealing their work to cut costs without repercussions. But besides that, we’re also missing an opportunity to see and support art that’s rooted in the Maltese experience - with all its complexities." - Kristina Zammit Endrich, Founder and illustrator at Island and the Prairies
Image: REPOSE - Push, Print by Emma Fsadni
6. "Support can take form through a variety of means. From simply expressing your intrigue in one’s work, to sharing, collaborating, or more obviously purchasing one’s creations. By supporting local, you are contributing towards the aesthetic, conceptual or practical creative and cultural growth on the island. Although not obligatory, it’s always pleasant to know someone is willing to go that step further to engage with something they appreciate beyond a screen or shop display." - Emma Fsadni, Artist
7. "Supporting locals always feels like home. These are the businesses that are run by our families, our friends and our neighbours. You'll keep the money in the community and you’ll support people who are around you." - Semih Okmen, Photographer and Co-founder of Cardsy
8. "The benefits are beyond financial - small businesses are run by individuals not boards; real people who put their heart and soul into their creativity and dreams, often offering something distinctive out of the mainstream." - Stephanie Borg, Creativepreneur and artist
Build Studio, Image by Alexandra Pace
9. "We constantly strive to find the perfect balance between clients’ needs and our own vision, since our carpentry workshop is focused on both products of our own design as well as contract work. Supporting local makers is vital to ensure the continuation of these trades while taking pride in owning something unique rather than a factory-line, cookie-cutter approach to what we put in our homes. In every item we produce, we can see a little bit of us and a little bit of our clients in each one." - Martin Pace, Founder of Build Studio
10. "Supporting local creatives and businesses is a wonderful way to build a stronger community. It’s a great opportunity to become more aware of the incredible talent there is and the vast amount of small businesses out there. It’s also a fantastic way to build connections and meet new people." - Fran Borg, Founder and designer at Frankly Bold
11. "We often find ourselves craving for authentic experiences and tokens that are close to our being. Whilst large international multi companies challenge the status quo in terms of convenience and efficiency, a local business is extremely valuable in its ability to be in close contact with its community, and adapt accordingly.
Supporting local businesses hence is a self-rewarding endeavor, whereas we are ensuring that we continue availing ourselves of authentic surroundings that are not artificial representations of cultures that hold little relation to our way of being." - Simon Buhagiar, Co-owner of Te fit-Tazza and Souvenirs that Don’t Suck
Image: Saz Mifsud Boutique in Sliema
12. "Because of the passion that goes into the business. Local businesses work with gusto. Many sell products they truly believe in. They want to inject the market with what they believe will elevate and beautify it. I like to shop locally to understand the story behind the products I’m buying. When a boutique has curated each and every piece in the store it becomes a truly special place." - Saz Mifsud, Founder and designer at Saz Mifsud
From our conversation with Saz on merging fine art with fashion.
13. "By supporting local creatives you are literally investing in your country's culture and in turn embellishing our already colorful story." - Charlene Joan Sant, the Founder and designer at Churpina
14. "Local businesses create a process for stakeholders to exchange value. These stakeholders could be staff, customers as well as the general public. If the ongoing pandemic gobbles up many local businesses, Malta will find itself poorer and with a lot less means to reclaim the lost value." - John Borg Barthet, Founder of Stretta Craft Beer
From our conversation with John about patience in business.
15. "By supporting local businesses you build up brands that are more environmentally conscious and ethical than big corporations. With massive globalisation, we still have an option to have unique items by investing in local creatives." - Jana Frost, Designer
Image: Silver Ring with 3 Sapphires by Instinkt
16. "Buying from local creatives is choosing to support slower consumption. These products are unique, often handmade and one of a kind. They tell stories of people and places. By buying local art and craft you’re showing your appreciation for creativity in general. You’re allowing makers to grow and you’re contributing to the community." - Ieva Rayer, Jewellery artist at Instinkt
17. "To foster connections between local communities and to encourage sustainable action." - Luke Caruana, Co-founder and designer at 2point3
18. "Supporting local businesses is key for local brands to be able to test their concept with consumers, to survive and to flourish. We have so much talent on the island and I believe that locals do support and appreciate the value of Maltese brands when they see what creativity can achieve. They are proud of what is created and buying it is how they show that they are engaged with these ideas." - Joanna Micallef Farrugia and Diana Mifsud, Founders of Tettiera
Read our interview with Joanna and Diana on partnership in business.
19. "It’s not just about supporting these people's jobs and giving them the opportunity to succeed. Showing that you care will make a difference to your life too - you’re financing ideas that don’t just want your money, but will give you unique products and show you a genuine sense of care and quality." - Manuela Zammit, Typewriter artist
20. "Local businesses are connected to their communities which means they are more likely to support local NGOs, charities and local entrepreneurs. Local businesses also tend to purchase products from small organisations with similar values as theirs. For example, at ReRoot we actively look to work with like-minded sustainable businesses that have transparent supply chains and manufacturing processes." - Christina Farrugia, Co-Founder of ReRoot
21. "It helps to build communities, forge relationships and give our local economy the chance to thrive. Let’s shower our talented home-grown small businesses with love, respect and appreciation. Together we can build a stronger society while treating ourselves to something truly unique that cannot be found in the fast-moving commercial world. Buy local. Support our creative community and bring character to the competitive footprint of retail." - Nicole Moss, Founder and designer at Kitsch Picks
22. "We always work with small suppliers from local businesses, because it's so much nicer to speak to a person who's in love with their product, rather than a salesman forced to do a job." - Ian Schranz, Owner of Whole in the Wall
From our talk with Ian on the importance of building a relationship with customers
23. "When you are supporting local businesses you are directly investing in them. By investing in them, you are giving them the opportunity to grow and compete on a global level. When a local business you support and whose story you keep following makes it on a global level, you, as the investor, would be filled with pride and know that you are well taken care of due to your nationality, history and proximity." - Sean Buttigieg, Founder and Creative Director at Shapelamp
24. "Creative businesses are also there to inspire the younger generation, who will one day I hope, come up with more sustainable materials and solutions to current issues, as well as innovative ideas in architecture and design, be it for the home, work or outdoor space." - Tiziana Schembri, Ceramic artist at Ceramics by Tiz
25. "We don’t think twice about purchasing imported products, so why do we think twice when attempting to purchase something made locally? Local creatives are as talented as any international creatives and we as Maltese should support one another." - Kimberly Micallef, Founder of MADUMA