Historically, cottage industries played a very significant role in many towns and cities before the industrial revolution, which provided employment and income for rural or urban households. Many of the most valued cottage industries include pottery making, handloom textiles, handicrafts, artisanal food, and small-scale agriculture. 

These industries are really important for environmental Sustainability and they usually involve small-scale production, which may have a lower environmental impact compared to mass production methods used by larger industries like well known and recently emerging online brands.

This can include using locally-sourced materials, like produce grown by families, and home crafted materials. By doing this, and ethically almost by default, they are reducing transportation emissions, and employing local talent and eco-friendly methods.

Not only are they good for the environment, shopping at these businesses means people are supporting and empowering local communities. Thriving cottage industries can drive employment opportunities, especially in rural areas where job options may be sparse. This can also contribute to poverty reduction and improve livelihoods for individuals and families. As well as organically and ethically supporting our high streets. 

What could be helping these small communities?

With the power of word of mouth as well as growing technologies, sharing information about them with friends, family, and social networks is incredibly valuable for small businesses to stay afloat. A prime example of local markets and events in which involve local support would be the Winchester farmers and craft markets, as well as the well known Christmas market, where people travel all across the country to visit. So many cottage industries sell their products at these local markets, craft fairs, and community events and by engaging with producers in person, can create meaningful connections and enhance people's shopping experiences.

However, are cottage industries among other factors, key to mitigating the demise of the high street?

By no means is this the only factor, the growth of these industries could be key, even though these industries are not as prevalent on the high streets like they were, they are still incredibly important to reduce mass manufacturing and the loss of personality in our towns.  Small cottage industries are incredibly valuable for not only our environment and ethical reasons, but also by keeping them on our high streets means we can keep them bustling and alive for everyone to enjoy.