We've all heard of the term "shop small". It helps that American Express Small Business Saturday is now in its thirteenth year. But what does it mean exactly to support small businesses? While intuitively, we all say it's a good idea, sometimes people are inwardly skeptical or feel they are trading off. Some of the unspoken biases might be about not wanting to support a founder that "doesn't deserve it", feeling like your purchase won't make a difference or feeling unsure about the product or brand -- maybe you question it's efficacy, whether they will stay in business or the quality of their supply chain. At the Conscious Beauty Collective (a pop-up of 40+ small businesses currently in Rancho Cucamonga, CA), I've had someone actually ask me "but what if I love the brand and it's not around in 6 months?".
The reality is that supporting small businesses is good for everyone. We've all heard the statement "small business is the backbone of America" and here's why (thanks to the Federal Reserve Bank of NY for these statistics):
- Over half of America’s workers own or work for a Small Business
- Small Businesses have generated over 64% of new jobs in the last 15 years
- Small businesses create 2 out of every 3 jobs today
Add to that the fact that small businesses help women, who are more likely to start a business than men. According to American Express, since 2014 the number of women-owned businesses grew by 21% to nearly 13 million in 2019. That’s 42% of all companies at least 51% owned, controlled, and managed by one or more females.
"When you support a small business, you are not only contributing to a community, you are equalizing the playing field for women in business." Raana Kashani Gregg of Lunaescent, a brand she founded in 2021 that's part of the Conscious Beauty Collective.
Photos by Tim Mossholder, Unsplash
And to a small business, every customer and every relationship matters (much more than a large business). Literally a great review or an expected purchase can make your day as a founder. There are so many tough days that a small gesture can help fuel you to keep going. It doesn't cost anything to tell a friend, write a review or post a comment on social media, but it means a lot to a small business.
Caroline Fabrigas, CEO of Scent Marketing Inc. (her brand Scentfluence is also in the Conscious Beauty Collective says, "You often feel very alone, especially as a small company. And that's why the clients that we've had have been so important."
Most small businesses these days are also much more transparent than their large corporate competitors. You can much more easily find out who owns the company, what ingredients they use, who they partner with and more. Small businesses appreciate the importance of living into their values, vs. just talking about them.
And most small business founders I know love to answer questions -- so don't hesitate to ask. You have the power to choose where your dollars go, so choose the option that helps everyone: shop small.