Hello! I hope that you are all well. I’m feeling really happy and positive right now – there seems to be a bit of a shift going on in the world of shopping and I think that it was well overdue but am so pleased to see it happening. You might remember that I wrote a blog post around this time last year about Black Friday and the negative impact that it was having, particularly on small businesses around this time of year (it’s a bit moany, but if you want to read it you can read it here). This year has seen shoppers start to think a little more about where their shopping comes from, and I really do think that all of the small business campaigns that I have seen unfold have had a lot to do with this. This year has also seen shoppers become more conscience and considerate about the environmental implications of their shopping and the packaging that their shopping comes in. We all seem to want change, and that is such a brilliant thing. I myself have ditched any packaging in my business that contains plastic, and I have also noticed many other small businesses do the same.
Image from the #nakedcards campaign, encouraging card sellers to not use the cello wraps for their cards.
This November we will see a couple of small business campaigns pop up, the “Just a card” campaign and also a “Meet the Maker Week” (I’ll pop the links for these below for the official websites and tags and whatnot). The Just a Card campaign began with the idea that if everyone who went into a small business bricks and mortar shop could buy “just a card” (the cost of a coffee!) then they just might still be open next year. The idea stemmed from this and has very much become about supporting small businesses in general, both online and offline, and no matter what they really sell.
Image from #justacard campaign
Throughout this year I have been making conscious changes in the things that I buy, both for my business and home, gifts and more. I can recall trying to do this last Christmas with my gift shopping, but I know that I can do better. As an example, each Christmas for the past few years I have bought particular soaps and candles from big businesses as I was told that they were a firm favourite of the people who I was buying them for. This year I have made a change to this as I have felt that it would make me as a shopper happier, and also the recipient really (really really!) won’t miss out! I went to a Christmas market at Derby Roundhouse last weekend and discovered a business that hand makes candles, and another that makes soaps and they were such high quality and smelled amazing! The candle that we have been asked to buy up until now is a Christmassy scented candle, and the seller that I met at the market made the most wonderful (far nicer in my absolute honest opinion! I would very much like to receive it as a gift myself!) Christmas scented candle and for a number of reasons I decided right there and then to make the switch (soy candle burns for longer than a normal candle, lovely friendly business owner who was more than happy to chat, amazing scent… I figure I surely can’t lose on this one!). I would say that my Christmas shopping is about half done now, and I plan to continue to buy from only small businesses for the rest of them too.
In case you are still wondering – I won’t be taking part in the Black Friday madness again this year. If and when I do run any sort of offers, I run them because I want to say thank you to my wonderful customers. This doesn’t happen too often (I wish that it could, but the logistics… I’m sure that I don’t need to explain that one!) This year I have offered discounts on my “guinea pig” pieces, and have been so very greatful to those who supported me when I launched new products. It just wouldn’t have happened without them. And I have run a couple of offers on a couple of my products to my loyal followers over in my private Facebook group. All done with a real sense of thankfulness and bought by those who support me (you guys are the best!). You can join the group here.
Image from Joanne Hawker's #meetthemakerweek campaign
On reflection, I suppose that my super moany blog post last year may have changed me, and most definitely for the better. This year I choose to simply ignore anything Black Friday that may be going on, and continue to nurture myself and my small business, and be supportive to the other makers out there.
Oh and lastly if you are inetersted in taking part in or just having a good old browse at the small business campaigns that are about to pop up:
Just a card – Indie Week 19th-23rd November https://www.justacard.org/ and on instagram: @justacard #justacard
Meet The MakerWeek 26th-1st December – ran by @joannehawker on instagram, you can find all of the prompts on her page and further info on her website www.joannehawker.co.uk #meethemakerweek