I’ve spent a lot of time talking to small businesses and independent makers of things about how to encourage people to shop small for the holidays over the past several months. My wife and I met other fiber-related vendors at Perth Festival of Yarn and Yarndale, and I’ve been part of some online indie maker communities, like HandmadeHour on Twitter and some seller-specific groups on Facebook. All of us small businesses struggle against the well-oiled corporate machines who can afford to spend £20k/month just on digital advertising. We have to be more up on our game with every Google search adaptation, every Etsy test, every new innovation or idea to keep growing against the tide of large companies that are trying to swallow us up.
All of us talk about how to encourage people to shop small, especially during this high volume time of year as people begin to prepare for the holidays (not just Christmas, remember!). As I was laying in bed last weekend, unable to sleep (again), I had a thought – why aren’t we encouraging EACH OTHER to shop small? There’s so much diversity in the groups I’m in: some fiber craft people of course, but also jewelry makers, candle and soap artisans, fine artists who take commissions, people who sew the most impressive stuff, people who make awesome gift baskets that are perfect for office secret santa exchanges, and people who make amazingly unique gifts for amazingly unique people. So, I decided to start off with a pledge.
I’m only shopping small for the holidays this year.
That’s right, only shopping small. A year ago I would have said it’s too difficult, especially when factoring in people that are hard to shop for, but I’ve seen the error of my ways. There’s literally something for everyone, even if you pledge to shop small. Here’s why I’m shopping small:
1. It’s better for the economy.
No, seriously. Who’s more likely to turn around and spend that cash in their local economy, a small business/indie maker, or a giant corporation that never even pays taxes?
2. It means you spend more time finding a really meaningful gift.
Yeah, it’s easy to order someone an Amazon gift card and be done with it, but how much more will they love that you found the perfect present because you look more time thinking about them and what they’d like?
3. I’ll be helping other small businesses like mine.
I know I’m happy when we have a good week in the GamerCrafting online shop, and I know how happy it makes me when someone sends a note saying they loved their yarn. I want to help support that with others, too. It’s like those signs I saw at craft stalls when I was a kid:
“Yes you probably could make this, but we both know you won’t!”
That’s the thing, isn’t it? Yeah, I could manage to learn to make fancy soaps and tasty candles, I could drag my sewing machine out and make adorable gift bags or seasonal pajama pants. But we all know I won’t, so why not support a small business instead?
Join the Pinterest board
I started a collaborative Pinterest board for other small businesses like mine. Anyone who asks will be invited to pin on the board with some simple guidelines (please don’t spam, 3 pins/day of your own products, and please share the board far and wide), If you’re not a small business but want to take part, you’re absolutely welcome too! The more we help each other, the healthier we make the economy around us, and the lower our carbon footprint.
If you would like to be added as a collaborator, please email me at Angie@GamerCrafting.com