Shopping small shouldn't just be something you do around the holidays, or during a global pandemic because you feel bad; there is a small business solution for plenty of the things you buy, every single day.
Need an awesome face scrub with dozens of glowing reviews? (you need to know if it works, right?) Well, there are a few thousand small biz owners that can help you out with that. Looking for the most comfortable underwear you've ever owned? A small biz has your back. Custom scented candles that smell like that weird cocktail you invented with your college roommate? Done. How about a solid gold ring with David Bowie's face on it? Done and done. (Seriously, I can do that for you. *wink*)
Choosing a little guy is not only better for the economy, but better for the planet and the people on it. Small businesses pay themselves and their employees (if they have any) fair, livable wages. CRAZY, I know. But happy employees translate to better products! And the environment benefits too; I personally make it a priority to minimize packaging, use eco-friendly materials, and bulk ship whenever possible to cut down on fuel use, and most of my small business owner buddies do the same. Can you guess who doesn't care about those things nearly as much as they should? I won't name names but might they rhyme with Shmamazon?
I know what you're thinking.. "but it's soooo expensive!" And my answer to that is, "is it really?" Let's investigate. How many times a week do you go to out for a meal? Once? Twice? Let's say twice. A meal for two is roughly $30- $75 depending on how fancy the place, and whether or not you throw back an adult beverage or two. Let's say you go big when you dine out. You just consumed $150 dollars a week. You might as well have shoved 150 bucks into your mouth and swallowed it because it is gone. OR.. hear me out.. You cut out one meal a week and use that $75 to buy a handmade thing that you can hang on your wall, or wear on your body, or drink your coffee out of, and enjoy for years.
"I don't go out to dinner, blah blah blah". Ok, but maybe you buy expensive pre-chopped salads when you could chop that sh*t yourself. Or you have a 9am date with dunkin' every week day. Don't even get me started tallying up your daily coffees that you could be making at home, ya lazy bum. (Just kidding.. sort of.) You get what I'm saying... there is always something. Shopping small and sustainable isn't that unaffordable, you're priorities just ain't right. I'm definitely guilty of blowing $50 out with friends when earlier that day I couldn't pull the trigger on a $25 ceramic planter I saw that I LOVED. Kind of silly isn't it? (If you're having a realization right now that your spending habits make zero sense, don't feel bad. We're all learning.)
But what's the best part about choosing a small biz over the big guys? Your money is more than likely going directly into the bank account of a business owner who needs it to pay their rent, or put gas in their car, or feed their kids, (or their cats.. no judgement). Why? Because the majority of small business owners are doing it all by themselves. (see photo below, of me doing it all by myself.)
There are over 30 million small businesses in America, that of which 81% have ZERO employees (go ahead and fact check me on this.) That's a metric sh*t ton of self-employed small business owners working their buns off to make a living. And not just working their buns off at their chosen profession... also working their buns off at a dozen other tasks needed to run a business; marketing, social media management, customer service... just to name a few. (Speaking from experience, here.)
So, why is there a brigade of Prime trucks in my neighborhood every day? Because the little guys don't have to resources to deliver your neck pillows directly to your doorstep within 24 hours of you ordering them. Most of them have zero employees, remember?
I get it, I'm not innocent when it comes to the temptation of prime shipping. There's a time and a place for everything, and when you can't find cat food anywhere, and you need cat food immediately, sometimes Amazon is the best place to purchase cat food.
But we are getting spoiled rotten by this massively unrealistic expectation of lightning fast deliveries and close-out pricing. These gigantic companies have a gazillion employees (don't fact check me on that), they source products from every inch of the world and exploit workers like craaaazy. So next time you need a thing, think to yourself, "can I get this thing from a small business owner?" and while you're at it, also think to yourself, "can I handle waiting longer than three days for that thing?" If the answer is yes, do yourself a favor and find a small or locally owned business to purchase from. You'll feel good about it, I promise.
By the way, if you haven't connected the dots yet, I own a small business. I make jewelry by hand in my home studio and I do cheesy things like hand-write thank you notes to every single one of my customers. Why? Because that's what small business owners do. It's the attention to detail and love of the craft that sets us apart from the masses. So be different, and buy different!
Also, thank you for reading my first ever blog post! Yay, I did it!