Why it's important to support small business + where to find them
This post first appeared in our weekly Make Waves Mondays email series on November 1, 2021.
Something pretty cool happened the other day.
Last week was my lovely assistant Nichole’s one-year anniversary with A Drop in the Ocean.
My love language is not usually gifts, but I knew I wanted to gift her a puzzle for her collection. (If you recall last year’s sustainable gift guide, the puzzle subscription was one of her contributions to that list 😄)
But, the thing was, I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought a puzzle. Where the heck does one purchase puzzles??
I decided Target would be a solid bet, because Target has everything. I hadn’t been in a Target in who knows how long, but it seemed like the place to buy a puzzle gift.
So I walked into Target, got a frappuccino, and started wandering the aisles looking for the puzzles.
On my aisle stroll, I noticed the candles.
“Well, I have to get her a candle, too!” said the voices in my head.
I headed over to the candles, picked one out, and continued my search for puzzles.
And then I stopped. Dead in my tracks in the middle of the aisle.
What was I doing?? Buying these gifts at Target doesn’t make sense. Here I am, always an advocate for shopping small, knowing Nichole is the same, and walking around a massive national big box store with a candle owned by the same parent company as Yankee Candle. WHAT was I doing??
I stepped to the side of the aisle and looked up the hours of Stocklist Goods here in Tacoma. Great, they were open all day.
I clicked their website to see if I may be lucky enough for them to sell puzzles.
I couldn’t have made this up if I tried, my friend.
I opened that website and the VERY FIRST THING on Stocklist’s homepage was their vintage puzzle collection. I kid you not.
I stood there, staring at my phone in disbelief for a solid minute. The universe works in magical ways.
And then I promptly marched back over to the candle shelf, returned the one I’d picked up moments prior, and strutted out the door. Yes, I strutted. I was feeling real good about myself in that moment.
I headed over to Stocklist, ooh-ed and ahh-ed over EVERYTHING in there, especially their puzzle collection, found the perfect gifts for Nichole and even a pair of earrings for me. And I finally got to meet Liz, the owner, who I’d been wanting to connect with for months now. Oh and I met one of our EcoWarriors, Sarah, who I’d never met IRL before and just happened to be there shopping at the same time.
So why am I telling you this story?
Well, we’re coming up on the holiday season, and I wanted to share with you that even though I don’t buy much and I’m always saying to shop small, this was still a conscious decision for me.
I had to interrupt my own thoughts and actions and actively choose a different path.
We’ve been taught that stores like Target are the best place for everything. You know you’ll be able to find pretty much anything there, with a frappuccino in hand.
It takes conscious effort to shift.
But when we do, amazing things happen.
Did you know that when you shop local, 68% of your dollar stays in your community? When you shop big business, only 43% stays in the community.
When you support small business, you’re supporting real people. You’re helping someone support their family, hire within their community, and build resilient communities.
Small businesses are the backbone of the economy. They’re responsible for nearly 42% of the US private workforce. But between February and April 2020, 3.3 million small businesses closed - that’s 22% of the small businesses.
How we shop can change lives.
Every time we spend money, we’re casting a vote for the type of community we want to have.
So how do we do it?
Pledge to Shop 1 in 5
The first thing we gotta do is make the decision to support small. We gotta interrupt those habits.
So here’s what I want you to do. I want you, friend, to pledge right here and now to make one in five of your purchases from a small business - online or offline.
Just one in five. That’s 20%.
Maybe that’s one dinner this week at a local restaurant.
Maybe it’s one gift to a friend.
Maybe it’s coffee from a local shop rather than the ‘Bux.
Whatever your one in five is - take the pledge to make it happen this holiday season and beyond.
Finding Small Business
So you’ve made the decision to support small businesses. Great!
Now...where do we find them?
Well first, hello! I’m Krystina and I’m the owner of this little business right in front of you - A Drop in the Ocean. We’ve got all the sustainable essentials to keep your life fun, beautiful, and simple.
Second, we’ve joined forces with hundreds of other small businesses in the Small Business Directory. And lemme tell ya, friend, this directory is EVERYTHING.
Every time I’m on this website it’s like a serotonin hit. Seeing so many small businesses in one place, all showing off what they’re best at, telling their stories, and proudly displaying their products for the world… I just love it so much.
But what’s even better is how incredibly diverse this directory is. Whatever you’re looking for, I bet you can find it here. And not only can you shop by product, but you can even filter by brand values (think values like LGBTQIA-owned, made in the USA, social good, sustainable, and so many more).
I absolutely love scrolling the directory and finding new small businesses to support every day.
*cue infomercial voice* But WAIT there’s more! 😂
We’re part of The Biggest Small Biz Collab, Ever this year.
Over 200(!!!) small businesses in the Small Business Directory have come together in such a beautiful way for the entire month of November to give back to supporters of the Shop 1 in 5 pledge.
We’ve created ONE Black Friday-level discount code that is valid for every single one of our shops.
Yes - one code will give you access to literally hundreds of discounts for small businesses.
Grab your code here, and smash your shop 1 in 5 goals, easy peasy.
Oh yeah, and then, check out our blog post on how to finally break up with Amazon, once and for all. ‘Cause Jeff Bezos don’t need any more of our money. And neither does Target’s CEO...whatever his name may be.
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