There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging year all round, it’s really shown the good, the bad and the ugly. Some small businesses have struggled to stay afloat, some have evolved their brand to fit the ‘new normal’ while recently I’ve noticed a growing number of new creative businesses emerging online, from illustrators to potters. There’s never been a better time to shop small and help support the UK economy whilst also delighting your long distanced loved ones with the most personal, heart warming gifts.


Why shop small? I hear you ask…

There are many reasons to shop small this Christmas but here are a few of my personal reasons for shopping small.


High quality craftsmanship

Firstly, 9/10 times when you shop from a smaller creative brand it’ll be run by a handful of people (or just the one like mine) that are highly skilled and passionate about their product. The time, energy and craftsmanship that goes into their work could never be matched by the majority of larger corporation who’s main focus is to expand and cut costs at any expense. Small businesses in the creative industry tend to start just for the sheer love of it which comes across in their final product and the delighted faces of their customers.


Quality over quantity

Sometimes with this extra attention to detail the price tag could increase but think of it this way, would you rather receive 5 mass produced/poorer quality gifts that you’d likely throw away after a couple of uses or one singular gift of the same value with a higher craftsmanship that you'd hold onto forever (and more likely to stay in tact forever)? There are obviously a variety of products at all different price points within the small business realm but this is still something to think of when choosing a pricier hand-crafted gift.


Save the planet
Reduced air miles. Need I say more? There are many a sustainable UK brand out there who limit their impact on the environment from eco-friendly packaging to home-grown ingredients. Your conscious can be clear for the rest of the year knowing you’ve shopped from a local farmers market sourcing potatoes from the fields you cycle past rather than a supermarket stocking strawberries from Spain.


Supporting communities within the UK
You may not realise it but every pound you spend has the potential to change a whole community, it tells the universe where you’d like to see the wealth distributed and ultimately who you’d like to run the world. I know I’d rather see my local shops grow and thrive in the community than major corporations take over the planet. It’s never too late! The pennies also mean a lot more to the individuals behind these small businesses, providing food to their families or savings for education. Starting the chain of shopping small can have a knock on effect on our environment and future generations.


Widespread happy dances (obviously the most important reason)

I mean there’s no feeling like a sale coming in, no matter how big or small, the fact someone has chosen our product from the millions in the world is 100% one to celebrate. Whether that’s with a dance or a big fat hot chocolate it’s a great feeling. This energy then passes on to you the customer, through the various personal touches that can only be achieved with this one on one interaction. From hand written thank you notes to extra little freebies everything feels a lot more human.


So now I’ve got you thinking about shopping small this Christmas it’s time to work out how to find some new small businesses to shop from…

Top ways to find new small businesses include:

Social media: Instagram is one of my top tools to find new small businesses to shop with. As long as they’re using the right type of hashtags and their location is set I’ll find them (Liam Neeson style). I’ve found so many artists on the platform it’s like a never ending wonderland of potential. Also keep an eye on your favourite creators stories, often times a small business will form a network with other businesses in their niche either as that’s what they’re drawn to or just as a social support bubble. It’s a great way of finding new work in a similar theme to what you know you like.

Etsy, Not on the Highstreet or And So To Shop: I never used to bother with Etsy as it seemed to have the reputation of being a bit naff (perhaps I was just talking to the wrong people) but I now use Etsy A LOT. From wall art to cute scrunchies, it’s a blast and you usually get the cutest thank you notes and special packaging touches from the individual seller which definitely warms the heart. I guess it depends what you’re interested in but ‘not on the highstreet’ and ‘and so to shop’ also stock some beautiful creations. Each platform targets a slightly different customer so I’d try them all to see which you prefer.

Craft fairs & markets: I mean before the pandemic had to bless us with its presence I would have said craft shows, especially the larger events in the cities. This year however we’ve seen the rise of the virtual marketplaces, now don’t get me wrong I’ve never taken part in one so I’m not sure exactly how they work but I’ve seen a lot of friends grab some absolute treasures from the online events so why not try a leap of faith yourself this season and see what the virtual world has to offer. These can usually be found promoted on social media..


To conclude.

I know I’ve shared a lot with you today but I hope some of it has at least resonated with you or helped you on your endeavour to shop small, I also hope that I’ve boosted your festive spirit a little. As I said in the beginning, there’s never been a more important time to shop small and help boost the British economy and your loved ones spirits. Stay tuned for my next post which will help you discover a whole plethora of UK small businesses that I’m currently obsessed with.

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