The back of the t-shirt I’m currently wearing says “Buy Local Shop Handmade”. I should know, after all I helped have the t-shirts made.
This particular t-shirt is the one we had made for the volunteers at our most recent craft show. Over the past several years I’ve had the great privilege to help lead a group of handmade artists in my area. Together we put on events and craft shows throughout the year. It’s a cool experience to walk around the booths at those shows and see the amazing thing that my friends and community can make.
Of course those makers aren’t my only friends who are selling items as part of a business. I have a handful of invites to events just this week for friends hosting different parties with things I can buy. And while I love being able to buy from friends whenever I get the chance, it’s not always possible. It might not be in the budget, or while I like their items they might not be things that I can use.
I have a friend who makes dog accessories, I don’t have a dog. Another makes little girl clothes. I don’t have a daughter. Wedding veils? I’m already married. So how do I support those friends and businesses?
With that thought I asked some fellow makers and business owners to help me put together a list of ways to support small businesses without buying from them.
- Referrals. Have a friend who is looking to buy a specific gift? Let them know about a small business who makes or sells just the item they are looking for. Small business owners would love for you to share their businesses.
- Interact on social media. Like, comment, retweet, pin, share all the things.
- Share links. Think of them as digital business cards and pass the links around.
- Reviews. Write a public review for their business and share the review on your own pages. Tag the business in your reviews.
- Spread the word offline. Tell family, friends, acquaintances, your waiter at dinner (you get the point) about your favorite businesses. Carry physical businesses cards and leave them where you can.
- Networking. Have a couple friends whose businesses could benefit one another? Introduce them. Tell the friends about each other so they can work together. This benefits two businesses at once!
While I still encourage everyone to shop from your friends when you can, these are things you can do year round. And I promise that your small business friends will thank you for your support.