Shop Small Every Day
Small Business Saturday was this past weekend. I encourage you to focus your purchasing at small businesses ALL the time.
I appreciate national and international holidays for their ability to raise awareness. All too often, the next day everyone goes back to “normal” activity. Giving Tuesday, Small Business Saturday, World Polio Day, etc., deserve your attention more than once each year. I don’t offer any solution to this lack of behavior change, just a call to remember you can choose to shop small every day.
I have been supporting small businesses staying small on purpose for a long time now. Recently, I’ve doubled down on small, canceling Amazon Prime, avoiding big box retail online and off, and spending the extra time to research a way to buy from small shops, even if it’s a little more expensive. As a small business owner myself, I appreciate the hard work and courage it takes to start a business and keep one running.
Especially in America, we’ve been on a wild trend of consolidation, mergers, hostile takeovers, and big business getting ridiculously wealthy, often at the expense of quality in product and customer service. I’ve been part of that, spending a decade or so relying mostly on Google, Amazon, Apple, and Costco.
During that same period, a few small businesses I supported created amazing, useful products at reasonable prices with amazing customer support. I’ll highlight a few of them below, and more each week as I write more in this space. One of the things I love about small business owners is their general transparency and willingness to share. In a quick glance of my email inbox, I found that most of the newsletters I still subscribe to are all from entrepreneurs who share what’s working and not working for them.
I encourage you to seek out small businesses in your community and online. I’d bet good money you could replace almost everything you’re doing through a big businesses with something small. I know giving up the big shops entirely is unrealistic for most. I still use Amazon Web Services and I buy Apple products because they work really well and help me run my small businesses more efficiently. But books, software, and general goods can be found in smaller spaces. And, please talk to the owners and employees. I bet you’ll have an amazing conversation, and they’ll appreciate your interest.
I recently attended a virtual book club with Jim Coudal, co-founder of Field Notes, and he discussed how Field Notes came to be and how they succeed while staying small. I really appreciate their attention to detail and focus on customer experience. I’ve collected quite a few notebooks over the years, and these are some of my favorites.
Check out their inspiration video, From Seed.
Another small business and slow process I appreciate is letterpress. I found Hoban Press about a decade ago, and have purchased several different sets of business cards and stationery from Evan Calkins. The quality is exceptional and I’ve always had incredible customer service from Evan himself.
Learn more and place an order. Tell them I sent you.
These are the kinds of folks I want to support and learn from. I’d love to hear your stories about the small businesses you support and recommend. Please share them with me so I can learn more and share their stories here.
Peace and love, y’all.