Small Businesses need YOU! They really do right now. This is a REALLY important message as many of them won’t make it through. They rely on customers to keep them going. As an independent business owner myself, I’ve been thinking of all the ways you can support your most-loved small businesses at this unprecedented time and also look after yourself whilst keeping safe.
If you can afford to be part of the movement to keep our independents alive, here are some of the ways you might consider shopping small.
Buy Gift Vouchers
Buy a gift voucher from your favourite cafe, restaurant, beautician or hairdresser to spend at a later date. Many are issuing these without expiry dates. This will help those who are self-employed to bolster the amount they are currently living on. Although the government has launched a support package for this group, many won’t qualify for the self-employed package and will be reliant on the £90 a week available.
Buy Food Locally
Head down to your local Greengrocer, Farm Shop, and independent food shop, if they are open or offering home delivery. They will be so grateful for the extra trade. With all the social distancing measures in place, if you have to go out then this is a better option. Smaller premises naturally limit the amount of people shopping at any one time as well as the additional safeguarding everyone is observing. And these small businesses will really thank you – genuinely.
Support Bakers and Candlestick Makers!
NOW is the time to stock up on artisan candles to create a nice Hygge Home. Some local breweries and drink makers are offering home delivery services. If a little drink represents a bit of a pick me up for you (in moderation!) stock up on quality local ales, cider or gin without having to leave home. Many of these providers have lost their customers due to closure and their future. My partner and I like Burning Barn Rum, appropriately forged out of a disaster!
Cultivate your Creative Interests
Buy music online to support self-employed musicians who aren’t gigging. Consider supporting artists and designers like me; stock up on cards and prints for your walls. Helen Hallows has an offer on at the moment. Buy cards for all the birthdays to come this year and the gifts too – you’ve got time to really choose something special. Order in some guidebooks to plan your next adventure and the equipment you will need, for when you can travel freely again.
Home Sweet Home
For many people, the chance of an extended period of being at home is something unlikely (hopefully!) to be repeated. In amongst the dreadfulness of this virus, let’s try and see the positives and there are definitely some for so many – no commuting, later starts, working at home!
There are many things you can do to keep you occupied. I know so many of my customers are keen gardeners and have beautiful gardens. If you haven’t ever into the ‘green-fingered’ thing, then now might be the time to try! Order and sew the seeds for beautiful Summer Blooms and support yourself by growing vegetables.
Marie Kondo your Home
This is the perfect time to get your house in order; sort through your cupboards and organise them. I’m a huge fan of Marie Kondo. You can get a pile ready for the charity shop for when it re-opens. Decorating – do all the jobs you’ve been putting off, paint the walls, put up those shelves and pictures if you can get the supplies delivered. I recently bought gorgeous prints for my walls from Zoe Spowage, Printer Johnson and Rachel Mahon. This Ltd Edition print from Marby & Elm is perfect right now! You can make Pinterest boards to help you with your decorating inspiration, and really get your house as you like it. Shop online for new furniture and homewares from small businesses.
Don’t Twiddle your Thumbs
There are loads of free things to do, like tackling all the books you’ve been meaning to read. Sewing; now is the time to mend all those clothes you’ve been putting in a heap and there are loads of free online tutorials right now. Learn a language, take up a new hobby, learn that instrument that’s been lurking in the cupboard for years. Bake and cook from scratch – batch cooking and freezing is the way to extend the life of those fresh vegetables right now.
And if you want to support me, consider buying ‘Just a Carafe’. This was inspired by the fantastic work of the justacard campaign, which is aimed at supporting small independents. A lot of my customers are small independent gift shops who have had to close and my heart goes out to them. As an entrepreneur, I think now is the time to innovate and think. Slow down and re-evaluate; use this time wisely and, most importantly, stay home, stay safe and stay healthy.
Thanks for reading. Please support small businesses everywhere, and my best wishes to you all.