As the holidays approach, so does the busiest shopping season. Deals upon deals are being touted, and the pandemic can't stop people from getting in the holiday spirit, even if from afar. But what makes this year different (besides living through a pandemic) is that most shopping will be done online, and what's important this year is spreading your shopping habits beyond Amazon and department stores - and making purchases that strengthen local communities by supporting local businesses.
Small business owners of all types have been affected by the pandemic due to CDC guidelines, safety precautions, and consumers losing disposable income - on average 40% of small businesses have lost their overall revenue, and those who have closed may not reopen.
Every year it's important to shop small and local, but here's how and why it's in everyone's best interest to do so especially this holiday season!
In small towns and cities across the country (and world), all types of businesses are hurting due to the global pandemic and it's affects to the economy and our day to day lifestyle. But! You can make a difference with your dollars by shopping small and locally to keep communities intact. Maybe you're one of those companies, or have a family member or friend working as hard as possible to make new sales. Be that new customer!
For individual businesses, self-employed sole proprietors, these are people in your community and network working to keep their dreams alive. Small businesses are often more transparent than large corporations on their values, missions, and generally bring similar morals to work that reflects a strong sense of community.
For service based businesses, it's working with individuals in the community to make societal differences and spread knowledge. For product based businesses, it means ethical sourcing, small batch quantities, and greener manufacturing. For all, it's using local leadership and economy to instigate fair wages and inclusivity.
When you shop small, you can be sure that there's a person on the other side reading your emails and putting together an order or a program for you. New business owners are everything: accounting, fulfillment sales, scheduling, and social media. That's why every customer matters! Your business, the referrals you may be able to bring, and your feedback can be the reason that someone flourishes and continues through the next month of business.
You might be thinking, okay yes - I didn't even need convincing on shopping small, but where do I find local businesses? A lot of businesses have migrated online since the start of the pandemic. As you walk around your neighborhood (of course if a store is open - go on in with your mask on), you might notice an independent book store, boutique candle shop, or home goods store that you can buy from instead of Amazon, West Elm, or other big retail shop.
Using social media, Etsy, or asking friends for suggestions is a great way to find more businesses. Just pop to their Facebook or Instagram page, or website if they have. Additionally if you aren't purchasing a product, but rather a service - like 10 personal training sessions, or a yoga class subscription, or art classes for your niece and nephew - all of these services, though local to your community will be available online for everyone's safety.
The greatest gift is the one that can keep on giving. If you are supporting a local small business this holiday season, don't be shy - tell your friends, family and larger social media network about it. You never know who's in the market for a piece of art, a custom piece of pottery, french language lessons, cooking class, or other. New customer referrals is one of the most crucial aspects of running a small business!
Finally, give a gift that lasts a while. Locally made products are often made with quality and care, meant to last a lot longer than their fast retail counterpart. That's why there's no need to balk on the price tag on a handmade blanket versus the price of a factory produced blanket - these are gifts that will last a lifetime.
Happy Holidays to all of the small businesses that were built on Bounce House. As a small business ourselves, we simply wouldn't be here without you. Thank you!