Supporting Small Businesses Is A Big Way You Can Help This Christmas
It really is a funny time of year. The countdown to Christmas is finally on, and while the high streets would normally be bustling with frantic shoppers, we’ve found ourselves in the midst of another full lockdown here in the UK.
The ongoing pandemic has changed so many of our lives this year, from the way we work, to how we shop – with many people opting to rely on delivery services to keep them safe during difficult times.
Global businesses like Amazon have profited, seeing billions of dollars from the huge increase in sales brought on by the closure of many high street shops. But while the restrictions brought in to help curb the spread of coronavirus force everyone to stay at home, many of us are now looking to how we can help support small businesses this Christmas.
Of course, many people have been left without work at the moment and cash is tight for lots of families up and down the country, but here are some of the inexpensive ways you can show your support for small and local businesses.
Buying gift cards
One of the easiest ways to support small businesses at the moment, from beauty services to independent boutiques, is by purchasing gift cards. The beauty is you can spend as much or as little as you can afford, while still making a difference.
Of course, you might not be able to enjoy your purchase right away, but that money could go a long way in helping your favourite eyelash technician or your favourite café to be able to reopen, once normal life resumes.
Plus, gift cards are – in my humble opinion – one of the best Christmas gifts you can get a person, and it will feel extra special knowing you’re supporting people who really need our help right now.
Bespoke Beauty, in County Durham, is one of the thousands of businesses that has been forced to close its doors this year as a result of lockdown restrictions. However, even though the doors are closed and the beauty treatments have come to a halt, like many other businesses up and down the country, it still has bills to pay and payments to keep on top of in order to survive.
‘Clients buying gift cards from us makes a massive difference because it helps us pay for monthly costs of machines, equipment and insurances that we still have to pay for, so that we can carry on offering a range of treatments when we are eventually able to reopen,’ owner Jess Bradley told UNILAD.
Shop via social media
If you’re looking to discover new smaller businesses to shop from, the best place to start is on social media. If it’s homeware you’re looking for, all you need to do is look at a home interior account and take a look at the businesses they’ve tagged in their posts, or simply look for businesses by using hashtags to find certain products.
Lauren Dryburgh uses Instagram to promote her homeware and self care boutique Electric Honey – a business she set up from her home in Nantwich earlier this year after finding herself on furlough during the first UK lockdown.
‘Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it would take off at all, but I was furloughed and it’s always been a dream to run my own business from home, so thought now was as good a time as any to try and see what happened. I wanted to start a homeware and self care boutique store because I know how much I love shopping online – pre and post pandemic – for unique and quirky stuff for my home and love to offer that to other people,’ she explained.
For people like Lauren, even the smallest of purchase means so much more than just another order on a spreadsheet, as every order is supporting not only their livelihood during these difficult times, but their dreams too.
She explained, ‘Starting a small business is so scary, but when someone makes an order it honestly makes my whole week. Times are tough for everyone at the moment, so I appreciate every order so much. It makes all the hard work and late nights worth it. Receiving and giving gifts from small businesses for Christmas is much more personal, in my opinion. Not only are you helping to support a small start up, but you are gifting something different and made with love.’
Make the most of takeout services
So, we all know that there is a coffee shop on pretty much every street corner in any town or city here in the UK, but the vast majority of them belong to huge international chains. While there’s nothing wrong with using these vendors, so many other businesses are now being forced to adapt in light of the current restrictions, and many cafes and restaurants have turned to offering takeaway drinks and snacks.
Calling by your local deli for a takeaway latte and a sandwich on your lunch break might not sound like a big deal to you, but if you can afford to treat yourself while also making a small business owner very happy, then you damn well deserve it.
And, it’s not just coffee. With so many bars and restaurants forced to close their doors at the last minute, loads of places were left with tonnes of booze that needs flogging, meaning you can get your hands on takeaway pints. Let’s be real, it tastes so much better out of a keg, than a can.
Support on social media
You might be looking at the rest of the points and be thinking, ‘But I’ve got no money?!’ – and you’re certainly not alone. But there’s one sure-fire way that you can support local and small businesses, and it’s absolutely free!
One of the best things you can do is show small businesses a whole lot of love on social media during these difficult times. A like, a comment and a share costs you nothing, and means so much to the businesses on the receiving end. For all you know, one cheeky share could result in multiple sales for the business, and you can sit at home feeling happy and smug, knowing that you’ve done your bit without having to spend a penny.
These are difficult times for everyone, but what has become abundantly clear over the past eight months is how much better it all seems if we just support each other. I can promise you this – the love and support you give out now certainly won’t be forgotten once all of this is over.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
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