Supporting Small Businesses

Supporting Small Businesses

Where we shop and what we choose to buy weilds a lot of power. A single purchase from a small business can make a big difference to an individual maker. When you buy from an independent business, you're buying one of a kind gifts that have been handmade with love. You know exactly who made the product and where. They're more likely to offer customisable options and personalised customer service too. Your purchase is supporting an individual, helping them to pay back into their community, and keeping their business alive. There are many reasons why buying handmade and supporting small businesses is important.

When looking for gifts, many of us shop online especially during the holidays. Avoiding making purchases with big brands and box stores can be tricky. Particularly if you're out of gift ideas, in a rush, and running out of time. My small business shopping guide will help you find designer makers. But if you're looking for tips on how to support your favourite small businesses and independent designers, keep reading.

Start Shopping Earlier

People have a tendency to leave gift shopping to the last minute, and small businesses have seen the rush get later and later each year. This makes it incredibly difficult for independent makers to plan for. It's hard to manage stock, products sell out, and restocks don't make it in time. If you're able to, plan your gift purchases and start shopping earlier. Even if it's just by a week or two. This takes the pressure off of small businesses, enabling them to manage their workload, and keep your favourite products in stock. You'll be able to buy meaningful handmade gifts that arrive in time, instead of having to resort to buying from big brands.

Be Patient With Delivery

We're become so used to ordering online, not paying for delivery, and receiving it the next day, we forget small businesses aren't run in the same way big businesses are. They often have a small team, products are made-to-order, and dispatch is slower. There simply aren't enough hands to do it all, and it's hard to compete with big brands offering free Next Day Delivery. Remember to be patient with delivery, especially during busy seasons. Order your gifts early to avoid delays, or choose the faster delivery option if your order is urgent; and if you haven't done that, be patient.

Shop In Person

There are plenty of handmade markets and craft fairs throughout the year, especially during the holiday season. One of my favourites is Paperdolls Handmade. Markets are great places to shop in person instead of ordering online, getting all your gifts bought all at once, and supporting small businesses instead of big brands. Follow your favourite independent makers online, and subscribe to their newsletters to keep up to date on when they'll next be at a market or event. Follow the markets too, that way you'll know when the next one is coming up.

Supporting Small Businesses

Subscribe To Newsletters

One of the biggest reasons why people don't shop small and buy handmade more often is they don't know where to find makers. My small business shopping guide will help. But the best way to stay in touch is to subscribe to their newsletters. You'll receive semi-regular updates, and will be reminded of who to buy from when holiday season rolls around. Unlike big businesses who bombard you with pushy sales emails encouraging you to spend every payday; small brands send meaningful (and less frequent) mailouts. My shop's Style Letters focuses on slow fashion, capsule wardrobes, and simple living. As well as jewellery styling, sustainable fashion advice, and the occasional secret sale.

Share On Social Media

Regardless of how we feel about it, social media is one of the biggest ways small businesses can raise awareness of their brand and make sales. It helps them to connect with new customers who might be interested in their products. Word of mouth is hugely important to independent makers who rely heavily on people sharing their account, and linking to their products. Whatever app you prefer to use, follow your favourite independent shops, share your latest purchase, and tag the maker to help support the small businesses you love. I share behind the scenes in my studio on TikTok and more irregular updates on Instagram. If you discover a maker is more active on a specific app, follow them there.

Write A Review

Reviews are one of the biggest ways you can show your support for your favourite makers. We're more likely to buy something if others have provided us with social proof that it's a good purchase. When you take a few seconds to write a review, you're really helping to support that shop. So instead of ignoring that reminder email to review your latest purchase, take the time to give a 5-star rating and write a few quick words about it. You'll be helping the small business to make more sales, and you'll also brighten their day. I know I love reading the reviews I receive about my jewellery.

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