“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”
- quote from shop keeper that started the Just A Card campaign
Before I relaunched we are stardust in earnest on 15 September 2016, I didn't really realise the costs involved in running a financially sustainable small business.
I loved people following their passion and creating unique, beautiful objects using their skill and craft but I never seemed to connect that if I and others didn't buy from them, they wouldn't survive. If I didn't support the small shops and businesses I liked, how could I expect them to still be there next year?
The truth is the one-off, unique pieces that a small design, handmade or craft business produces cannot compete with the mass produced products from corporate retailers. For one thing, small business owners often create their pieces by hand which take time. This makes it impossible to produce pieces at the volume and speed needed to reduce the price to that of, say, Clinton's cards.
This Christmas, I have decided to buy fewer gifts and instead spend the money I save on unique, one-off pieces from small businesses that my loved ones will adore.
Buying from a real person
Having started to get to know makers through their online presence - photos of their making process on instagram, their inspiration shared on twitter and facebook and their musings on blogs - means that when I buy from a small business I often feel I know the person I'm buying from. Their piece is not only a beautiful piece of artwork or craftsmanship, it is also a part of them and their story. And having been on the receiving end, when a customer buys your work, you really do do dance a happy dance every time a sale comes in!
So this Christmas I am spreading the joy of the happy dance and shopping small.
What about you? Do you buy small? If so why? If not, what's stopping you? Let me know in the comments.