Shop Small

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Small businesses need our support

I love being part of an online community, and even more so being part of a huge group of creators, makers and artists. A lot of us creative people usually have a little side hobby – whether that is a blog, a focus on making an Instagram grid the best it can be or even running an online shop. Heck, some makers actually run their business full time! I’m part of quite a few facebook groups that are great for creative advice (I particularly recommend Etsy UK Sellers Social Group and UK Freelance Creatives), and I also suggest taking part in Twitter chats if you’re after some creative inspiration. Blogtacular, Hashtag Authentic and the Cbloggers hashtags are great places to start.

It was during one of these twitter chats that I discovered the Just A Card campaign. If you’ve not heard of this initiative, let me share their mission statement. The idea is to support independent shops, galleries, artists and designers by reinforcing the message that all purchases, however small, even ‘just’ a card are so vital to the prosperity and survival of small businesses. I am fully on board with their values and ideas – anyone that supports small businesses are a huge winner in my book!

The thing is, and I’m pretty sure I speak for most of us, I love what I do. Most of the time, our passion and drive to create is the only thing that keeps us going anyway! It’s not just the kerching sound that drives us forward, because the truth is, I’d do it all anyway, whether I was trying to make money or not. I can’t imagine a day that goes by without putting pen to paper. It may not be a masterpiece, usually it’s just a doodle in my sketchbook or a quick decorated note to a work friend, but it’s still something.

It’s so important to support creative and independent businesses – there is SO much wonderful creativity out there! I don’t want to see us all have the same art on our walls, identical bracelets and matching greetings card decorating our houses! How boring would that be? The fact that there is so much choice is amazing – I don’t see other businesses as competition. I think it’s wonderful that there is so much choice and something that can suit everyone’s tastes. My prints may be a bit twee, but you’ll be sure to find something else on Etsy. Maybe you love quotes and hand drawn paintings, in which case, you’d be my perfect customer!

Behind every small biz will be a hardworking entrepreneur trying to share their passion and add a smile on someone’s face. It’s true what they say; every purchase (no matter how big or small) makes us do a happy dance! It means the absolute world to me when I get the email saying someone has bought something from my Etsy shop. The thought of a print being on display in someone else’s home is incredible to me! The knowledge that my art on a greetings card will be on top of a mantelpiece and sending well wishes to whomever receives it is what I do this for. I just want to create things that make people smile and the more sales I make, the more I think of the happiness that’s being spread around.

With that in mind, Just A Card promotes the purchase of just that. Whether you want to make a bigger purchase and stock up on all your Christmas presents early, or if you’d just like an extra special card to send to a friend, buying ‘just a card’ makes all the difference. And it doesn’t just have to be a card, either (though it works well for print based businesses like mine). It works for buying any smaller item in any shop – either online or in the little independent shop trying to make ends meet next to the bigger brands in the high street. If we all bought one thing, it would make a huge difference and I really encourage everyone to do so. A purchase here or there is a great way to support the creative scene. It puts a smile on your face, and someone else’s. It’s a wonderful feeling! Let's pledge to shop independent this Christmas and support small indie makers. A small purchase can make a big difference and let's face it, the world would be a very boring, samey place without 'em!

I'll be back with a few of my favourite small businesses in a blogpost soon, but if you have a favourite, please share them in the comments below!