I stand on this soapbox a lot, don't I? Funny before I entered this small family business owner & entrepreneur world, I never would have thought this hard about the "Shop Small, Shop Local" catch phrase. I never stopped to think about the behind the scenes of what that really means.
Why should one Shop Small? As a consumer, you’re a key part in helping small businesses thrive. By shopping or dining at small businesses throughout the year, you’re showing your support for the small businesses in your neighborhood and in the communities you call your own.
What's a small business? Small businesses are generally independently-owned and can exist in a variety of forms including, but not limited to, corner stores, online boutiques, among many others. They can give a neighborhood strength and create vibrant, diverse communities. So yes even our online customers are doing exactly what we're asking you to do!!! Online and in the store, your purchase has an impact on a family, a community, and a dream. Small picture? Your purchase is helping those business owners put food on table, pay for some guitar lessons, or even a medical expense! (hint hint: our "employers" are us.. so all those things most can rely on their employer to provide, we have to provide for ourselves!)
Am I perfect at this concept? No. But, the little things matter. I wanted to be better. So, back in March (March 29, 2019 as the post in our VIP Group is dated) I challenged my VIP Group to mindfulness, and I joined in, too! Just in case you're not in the VIP Group (you should be....), here's the info from the post:
Seems pretty easy right? Baby steps. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. Well, as of today we're almost 3 months past, so here's my update!
I've made some great strides - in business and in personal life. I've forged new friendships based on mutual goals for #shopsmall, I've met new local business owners and formed partnerships to the benefit of both of our family businesses, and my family AND BUSINESS has actually spent LESS money. Whaaaa?
Spent less money? By not using that one-click "ship it to me now" I actually sought out other options. I found better products and sometimes directly from the manufacturer. Even better, pricing was better in some cases! In other cases I found a better quality product and although paid a little more, it was so worth it.
For example, our business shipping packaging. We've always used USPS Priority Flat Rate packaging options - the boxes are free, so how can it be better right? LoL. Sometimes when orders don't require that free packaging we utilize a poly mailer. Those poly mailers are available everywhere. So I would find a fun color and order straight from Amazon and have them in a day or two. Who really knows where they're made, where they're shipping from, etc etc... right? Not to mention they arrive in a HUGE box that only includes my polymailers and a bunch of air. But it shipped free, right? *eye roll*
Instead I asked around to some manufacturers and fellow small business owners for suggestions. There are great companies like Eco-Enclose that focus on compostable, biodegradeable and sustainable packaging options! It was a hard choice, but we actually decided to give another company a try called The Better Packaging Co from Australia. Why did we pick them? I was SUPER intrigued by their DIRT BAG. I like the fun name too. Made from renewable plants, with PARTIALLY CARBON NEUTRAL . SOME WIND & RENEWABLE ENERGY production and is HOME COMPOSTABLE! They're WATERPROOF . TOUGH . FLEXIBLE/SOME STRETCH . TEAR RESISTANT . STICKABLE . WRITABLE . PRINTABLE . RE-USABLE. How cool are they!?
Another great retailer & manufacturer in our realm of Natural Parenting companies ALSO uses these.... do you know who!?
Family impact - our mindfulness led to some great family conversations with our children about our choices. It always feels like a big win when your children make a positive choice based on something you've tried and tried to teach them, right? After all, what we teach them and they put into practice impacts our world as a whole. Wait, isn't that #parenting? ;-)
Furthermore, our family was able to more easily invest in things we find important rather than only the things we NEED. And then there's that adorable featured image on this blog post. Our sweet Audrey - Baby A, number 3. This little lady turned 1 in March - right as we embarked on this challenge. Followed CLOSELY (like 2 weeks) by her Big Sis (#1) turning 7. So, what better way to cherish the days than with photography done on these milestones by our favorite family photograpger - Sarah Cropper Photography. Not only is she a High School friend who has helped us capture milestone memories, family holidays and store openings, but she's also a LOCAL Grove City mom and small business. :-)
It comes full circle my friends.
Stay tuned for the next blog post where I share some snap shots of the girls' photoshoots with Sarah on their milestones!
A photo created for us by Tiny House Vintage and Art artist Jennifer Kerr that we treasure - hangs right inside the front door of the Boutique <3
Be mindful. Dream Big. Baby steps.