Why is it important to shop small, especially at Christmas? Also, does it feel even more crucial this year after the 2020 we've experienced? I wanted to share my thoughts with you on this, read on for details...
I'm no business or economy expert but it doesn't really take one to understand how tough 2020 has been for small businesses and independent shops in all industries across the country. I think Christmas and the pressure to perform and provide for families adds an extra layer to this to shop and business owners, so no wonder they are all shouting about it more than ever this year. I for one am I here to do a little cheerleading for them.
I say 'them' and 'they' a lot when referring to small businesses rather than 'me' and 'we' even though it's my goal to become a successful small business at some point in the near future I don't feel like I can confidently wear that hat right now. There are two reason for that;
I'm starting out and doing this alongside my full time job that pays all my bills so I don't need to promote and sell my business right now in order to survive. I'm aware how fortunate that sounds. I am promoting my business in order to learn and grow and hopefully be in a position where I can leave the full time job one day.
I definitely have imposter syndrome when it comes to describing What Sarah Inks as a small business, which let's be honest is what it is. Whether I do it full time, for the money or for the love, the hours of energy and time I put in to it all definitely qualifies me to put myself in the 'small biz' bracket, I just don't have that confidence yet to fully step into the ring and say that. Which I am ok with right now I'm happy to be on the outskirts cheering everyone else on while I figure out my path on this business journey.
I thought it important to outline those two points to reiterate that the point of this blog is not to promote my own products but to highlight the importance of shopping small in general and especially at Christmas.
WHY SHOP SMALL?
Well why not is the obvious response to that question. Wouldn't you rather spend your money and know that your order has made someone's day? The majority of small product business owners see all orders that come in personally, they then make, pack and post it themselves or with a small team of people. Each sale is acknowledge usually in the form of a smile, dance or very loud 'WHOOP!'. I know for me each time a sale comes in I get an incredible boost and want to drop everything I'm doing to get started on it straight away. That's not always possible but you get the idea. Shopping small directly impacts one person or a small team of people in a positive way, choose to do that this Christmas rather than lining the pockets of the retail giants.
HOW TO SHOP SMALL
It's not always possible to shop small for everything. As much as I like to shop independently where I can all year round sometimes it's not always do-able. If you haven't planned ahead Amazon Prime can be a real life saver. BUT you can plan ahead for Christmas, everyone always wants to avoid that last minute rush anyway so why not make a list and start browsing today. A lot of small businesses need longer lead times to make their products before shipping. They often don't sit on a shelf gathering dust ready to pop in a box at a moment's notice.
Also a lot of small business supporters, organisations and markets will have done the hard work for you and created an independent or shop small gift guide. I've seen a lot of these on instagram over the past week or so, I'll link to a few at the end of this blog post.
Due to the dreaded 'C' word (Covid just to be clear, not Christmas or the other insulting one!), a lot of Christmas markets will be cancelled this year. They are usually a huge source of income for independent shops and small businesses. Thankfully with the power of technology a lot of them are moving online this year. One event to put in your diary's is 'Indie Week' organised by the JUST A CARD campaign.
JUST A CARD Indie Week runs from 23rd - 27th November 2020 and it's the perfect antidote to Black Friday. It's now in it's 4th year of shouting about the importance of valuing and buying from artists, makers, independent shops and small businesses.
You can follow along and show your support to everyone taking part by following JUST A CARD and their hashtags on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
There is a lot more info on the JUST A CARD website on how you can either take part or show your support, click here to have a read.
WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU SHOP SMALL
From my experience as a customer and what I have learned from stepping into this world myself you get a lot more for your money from a small product business and independent shop than you would any of the retail giants. With a small business you can expect...
A high quality product often handmade or personally designed
a lovely handwritten thank you note with each order
more often than not eco friendly packaging
excellent customer service
There really isn't a downside to shopping small this Christmas. Providing you plan ahead and don't expect huge discounts and deals like you would on black Friday I guarantee you could do the majority of your Christmas shopping with small businesses this year. Why not give it a go and let me know how you get on. You can contact me here.
As promised here are a couple of Christmas gift guides I've spotted and enjoyed so far;
I will add to this over the next couple of weeks but also do take a look at the 'SHOP SMALL' highlight on my Instagram profile as I share a lot of small businesses and save them on there. Everything from stationery to candles to baby toys and everything inbetween.
Stay safe and shop small.