Good question. There’s been lots of talk about if you shop small, somebody somewhere does a happy dance. Is that true? Personally, no. I don’t think dancing is the first thing that comes to mind - and it's probably the last thing you would want to encourage if you saw my dance moves!
So if you don’t do a happy dance what do you do?
Well, when you order from a small company, you are definitely going straight to the heart of whoever is behind it. There will be a mixture of relief, a feeling of excitement, followed closely by immense satisfaction that you’ve purchased something from someone who loves and cares about what they do and has worked tirelessly, sometimes for years, to bring you products to make you feel good. Think of it as spreading love. You can make a small company feel good, and in turn they will make you feel good back by sending something to you that’s personal and made with love and care.
That’s a bit sentimental for me, any other reasons?
You will get a much more personal service. If there are any questions to ask, you’ll get a response from the person who created the item. If there’s any trouble with your order (heaven forbid) you can contact the seller direct. You will always get a speedy response and a lot of time and care over your question or issue - however big or small.
Does that mean I can’t shop on Amazon?
Not at all! There’s a place in this world for big and small. Whilst small businesses can’t compete with the low prices and free shipping, they can compete with offering something different and unique. Perhaps if you need a gift for someone you care about, then that’s the time to shop small. Or even if you want something special for yourself. It’s going to mean a lot more to buy from a small independent than a faceless overseas factory. There will be a story behind it which you can share with the recipient. It makes it more interesting and personal.
How does it help the economy?
If you can shop small and support your online seller, your local shop, cafe and restaurant too, you will be helping to put money back into the local economy - wherever it is in the UK or somewhere local to you. On the other hand, if you buy from bigger companies, your money will head towards company profits and that money won’t necessarily end up back in the local economy. This year more than ever, the local economies could do with a much needed boost. How great that you could help with that. Ok, I see your point.
So what’s Small Business Saturday about?
It’s essentially a day in December to encourage people to support small firms and ‘shop local’. It’s better put by Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday UK who says “Small Business Saturday is not just one event, but millions of actions, taken by all of us, that add up to one big impact to boost small businesses at this difficult time.” She went on to say “More than ever, it is a key moment to shine a spotlight on small businesses and the important contribution they make to our nation.”
Are there any small businesses you recommend?
Glad you asked! There’s hundreds to be honest. Those who I’ve met at shows and fairs along the way, or through connecting on social media. But here’s a handful of some of the ones where I know the owners and I know how hard they work on their businesses and how talented they are. I’d love you to check them out when you can. Some of these brands I know will have suffered this year as there have been no fairs and events to attend which usually makes up a good proportion of income. But these small businesses are working hard on their online shops and are ready for you to browse at your leisure!
SMALL BUSINESS RECOMMENDATIONS
Mother and Daughter team who I met last year at a fair. They sell a range of linen and canvas handmade bags and accessories. Really great well made stuff and a hardworking duo based in Watford, Hertfordshire.
Exceptional couple Thea and Kyle are one of the few blacksmithing couples in the UK. They will design, make and fit amazing metal work for inside and outside your home. It's really impressive skills and they are a lovely couple.
A very talented illustrator who lives just down the road from me in Brighton. I love her illustrations and her words behind them. She sells her own creations in books and on prints and t-shirts. Jen Orpin Painter A dear friend of mine based in Manchester and an exceptionally talented painter. Check out her motorway work and other amazing paintings. You can even commission a painting for yourself.
If you’re into vans, camping and outdoor life, visit this store. Jen is behind this. Also my partner of 4 years who has supported me through all the ups and downs. So it's about time I gave her small biz a mention!
Because I can’t go a blog post without mentioning her. She’s not selling any products of her own yet but she was highly influential behind the new CatLoaf design and the CatLoaf Cat Scratcher Bed.
Ok thanks, I’ll take a look. Anything else I should know?
Just thank you for reading this and taking it in. There won’t be any happy dances over here but there is much appreciation and gratitude.