· By Switch Support

How The Vision Came To Life

Nurjahan Begum, Founder - Ethical Local Market

"Ethical Local Market is a different kind of shop featuring small businesses that are local, eco-friendly, and ethical. We strongly believe in rooting for each other!"


The Core Values

The core of Ethical Local Market is a community of ethical, local businesses, united by our shared values and a commitment to offering a curated collection of goods that meet the diverse needs of our neighbourhood. 

We are a collective of creative entrepreneurs, each bringing our unique offerings to the table. This model of retail not only fosters prosperity in our local community but also resonates with like-minded individuals around the world. 

How The Vision Started

In 2017, I founded a social enterprise clothing brand, Progoti, to improve the lives of garment workers in Bangladesh. I soon realized that selling only online would not help me make the changes I aim to make with my brand. I found that it is essential for customers to feel, touch, and try the products before buying. Since its launch, 90% of my sales have come from the vendor markets in GTA, where I have built direct connections with customers.

During my journey with Progoti, I encountered several retail stores offering rental space for small businesses to sell products. I also met other cool brands that are locally made or ethically sourced from different countries.

In 2019, I met Kennedy, a Seneca College fashion design student, at the Buy Good Feel Good show. She wanted to do an internship with my company. One day, while coming from a vendor market, I told her it would be nice if we had a retail space. It can have a small workshop where you showcase and sell your designs, and I can have a brick-and-mortar for my brand to share the space. Her values mirrored mine, and she had also dreamed of creating a shop to bring together industry-changing brands with combined work and retail space. I thought it would be better to share the expenses of a high-traffic downtown space instead of renting space if we all share the costs of building our respective brands together. It will be economical, and we can enjoy the synergy effect.

In 2021, we got this space opportunity through a family member, which was perfect timing. 

Before we knew it, the ELM shop became our second home

Building Community

As a small business, the primary concerns are being able to pay the bills of a brick-and-mortar space and filling the store with enough of the right products so that the turnover can cover the expenses. But the burden lessens when we, a community of small businesses, come together. What we have created thus far is a dream come true. We can replicate it in other communities once we are successful with one location.


Why is Supporting Local Artisans Important?

How to find Local Artisans? 

What Does Local Artisan Mean?