shopping small this Christmas.
If there has been one positive outcome from the lockdowns this year, it is the sprouting of entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country. Whilst the world slowed down and we had to stay home, many used this time to discover their amazing talents and use platforms, such as Instagram and Etsy, to showcase their brilliance.
why shop small?
During the current Covid climate, it is crucial that we shop small and local wherever possible. We need to pull together as a community and support the local businesses and amazing crafters/designers/artists around us. To a small business owner, each sale they make means the world to them. Their products may be a little more expensive than what you would find on sites such as Amazon, but this is because each product is made individually, by hand, and with love.
Small businesses are run by real people, not boards or stockholders, meaning their brands and products are full of individuality, personality, and character. The owners form relationships with their customers and care about the products that are being made and the impact they have on the world. Unlike many corporations, small business owners try to be as environmentally friendly as possible; taking into consideration plastic-free options, recycling materials, and plant-based alternatives.
where can I find a small business to buy my Christmas presents?
Many new small businesses have turned to social media platforms to promote and advertise their products and use sites, such as Etsy and Depop, to sell them on.
Thanks to the use of hashtags, small businesses are so easy to find! Here are a list of hashtags that can be used when searching social media sites for a small shop to buy from:
The small business community is about supporting others and connecting with people. Instagram is a key platform used to facilitate these connections and it is inspiring to see so many new profiles being produced to encourage supporting entrepreneurs. I love searching for small businesses and am always astonished by the beauty and creativeness of so many people. Below are a few Instagram accounts that focus on promoting small businesses and are a good way to find new ones to support:
As there have been so many new businesses emerging, it is likely that friends and family around you are business owners or avid supporters of one. Keep an eye out on social media for people promoting small businesses and check out their pages. Unlike bigger corporations, a small business owner finds so much joy in people liking their creations and products. Something as simple as a follow, like, or share is massive support and means a lot to small business owners.
online Christmas markets.
As many Christmas markets are not being held due to Covid, people have once again turned to the help of online platforms to overcome this. By searching “online Christmas market” on Facebook or Instagram, you will find a range of groups and pages dedicated to advertising products made by small businesses.
I find Facebook groups the most practical for online Christmas markets. It gives small businesses the opportunity to share their products; customers can ask for specific items; and there are posts dedicated to categories, such as “jewellery”, “clothing” and “gifts for her”. I am part of the Facebook groups UK Small Business Online Christmas Market and Online Christmas Market UK.
meet the businesses.
I have recently begun my own small business called Les Fleurs de Poppy. I make handmade resin earrings out of real flowers. My inspiration came from a stall in Malta selling similar earrings. I have always loved flowers and was captivated by the idea of using real ones to make jewellery.
Over lockdown, I started pressing flowers and discovered how to use these to make earrings. It brought excitement into my life and was a good use of the extra time I had. At first, I was just experimenting and making use of the beautiful flowers of summer, however, the earrings became popular amongst friends and I decided to start an Instagram account (@lesfleursdepoppy) to start selling them.
Making and selling my earrings has now become a creative outlet and a remarkable way of dealing with the tough times that we are in. I have also discovered and formed relationships with an array of incredibly talented people across the country. I have asked a couple of fellow small business owners to introduce themselves and their businesses:
“Tilly's Textiles started off in 2017 as a one girl band. That summer I made my first bucket hat. It got such a good response, I decided to make more and see if they would sell. (which they did!)
After a trip to Sri Lanka I found my love for buying fabric and came home with a lot more than expected. This led to hunting down fabric shops on my trips to Costa Rica, Bali and France. I now have a huge collection of fabric from all around the world. I have since taught myself to make new pieces, including bags, headbands and flares.
After three years of using Depop, I am now in the process of making my own website, which is very exciting. I am so excited for the next chapter of Tillys Textiles and am so appreciative of the love and support I’ve had along the way.”
“Hello! Making extra special gifts and cards for your loved ones is the purpose of Hester Ruth Designs.
I am based in the Shropshire countryside and previously worked in Heritage, planning family events at historical sites. I turned to painting pretty flowers in April after all events were cancelled for the foreseeable future, and this evolved into Hester Ruth Designs.
I mainly paint flowers and foliage to create personalised handmade cards and paintings. I strive to create that joyous feeling you get when you open something special in the post. This is particularly important now, when you can't see or hug your nearest and dearest.
Being as environmentally friendly as possible is paramount for me. I have worked hard to produce high-quality products at affordable prices, whilst using plastic-free options for packaging and branding where possible. Any plastic that I use is plant-based plastic and can be composted domestically. Even during the creating process, I have been able to find some really good eco swaps. I use washable flannels, old plates as mixing palettes and have rescued glass jars from the recycling for my paint brushes.”
“LoveBug Designs provides stunning and unique solutions for your accessory needs, including earrings, necklaces, brooches and more coming everyday! I work to create pieces that amplify your style, giving you the look that leaves a lasting impression.
Since starting in 2016, my work and style have continually evolved to bring you the jewellery you see today. By using a combination of wood, metal, resin and nature, I am able to bring my love and passion for the outdoors into each piece, all lovingly and laboriously made by hand in my home in the Hampshire countryside.
From everyday to wedding day, LoveBug Designs jewellery is the finishing touch to your look without overdoing it. With the foundation of love and kindness, I pride myself on customer experience, making sure that you not only receive beautiful handcrafted jewellery but also a lasting connection you can trust.”
I hope that this piece will inspire you to explore and discover the wonderful work of such talented people and the products that they have to offer. Starting a small business has really opened my eyes to the hard work and dedication that goes into producing and supplying handmade and bespoke products. When shopping for Christmas gifts this year, please, consider shopping small and supporting the amazing people around you in their business ventures.
Some other great small business Instagram accounts to follow:
What's your favourite small business?