Saving small businesses during pandemic

March 3, 2021

Photo by Nicole Colucci – the fruits of Nicole’s retail therapy and crusade to help small traders stay afloat

Nicole Colucci explains why we should be supporting grassroots traders now more than ever

In a recent survey by the Office of National Statistics, as of late October, over 17% of small businesses (with ten employees or under) were pausing trade or temporarily closed in comparison to 6.1% for firms with 250 or more workers.

Therefore, it is up to us as consumers to support the remaining 80% of small and local traders when possible.

With my dad working for a small business himself, I have been able to experience first-hand the gratitude and appreciation of a customer’s support during these difficult times.

When discussing the business’s experience throughout lockdown, my dad told me, “The past year has shown us great loyalty from our customers who have offered us tremendous support during this difficult time. We are very grateful to our customers who highlight all the hard work we have put into creating a great family within our business.”

As a result, my family and I have found ourselves purchasing from small and local traders a lot more since the start of the pandemic.

What I like most about ordering from these businesses is the time and effort that has evidently gone into the whole order

Throughout lockdown, my family have tried to order takeaways from local businesses as much as possible, including fish and chip shops and pizzerias such as La Porchetta in Muswell Hill. This gives us something to look forward to, while also offering support to local business owners who are struggling during this difficult period. Furthermore, it makes a nice change from having to prepare and eat the food we have at home 24/7!

The image above shows just a few of the small items – from jewellery to artwork – that I have purchased either as birthday/Christmas presents or to simply cheer myself up. Not only are you supporting someone’s livelihood through purchasing such products, but you are also receiving much more personal, unique and higher quality goods in doing so.

What I like most about ordering from these businesses is the time and effort that has evidently gone into the whole order, from the products themselves to the free gifts and attractive packaging. Meanwhile, it means a lot to find personalised ‘thank you’ notes in my orders, expressing the appreciation from sellers for having chosen their business.

For example, I was particularly impressed with my order from Etsy seller, ‘TheBradyScrunch’ who offer handmade scrunchies inspired by popular movies and TV series. Not only does the owner sew her physical products, but she also hand draws the fabric used in each design, along with the unique thank you cards included with each purchase. I ordered the ‘Kill Bill’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ themed scrunchies and I already can’t wait to add to my collection!

It is definitely worthwhile to follow the hashtag ‘#smallbusinesstok’ if you are looking to discover and support new sellers

Below is a list of my favourite websites/marketplaces when buying from small and local sellers:

Depop – perfect for handmade, vintage and second-hand clothes and accessories. By shopping on there, you will also be supporting sustainable fashion.

Redbubble – offers a range of original artwork printed on high quality posters, stickers, water-bottles, greetings cards and more.

Etsy – allows users to buy, sell and make unique and original items from jewellery to home décor.

Notonthehighstreet – offers creative products from thousands of small UK businesses including personalised gift ideas for any occasion.

TikTok sellers – As well as purchasing from the national/global marketplaces above, I have also been able to discover some really unique businesses on my TikTok foryou page by following the hashtags ‘#smallbusinesstok’ and ‘#smallbusinesscheck’.

The app has recently become the go-to for small sellers to create and package customer orders, while promoting their stock to a much larger digital audience.

Businesses promoting on the app range from Etsy and Depop sellers to online stores with their own personal website. Therefore, it is definitely worthwhile to follow the hashtag ‘#smallbusinesstok’ if you are looking to discover and support new sellers.

Therefore, next time you’re looking for a way to surprise a loved one or fancy treating yourself to something new, why not try looking at what a small business has to offer.

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