Soulful shopping and soulful business: A gentle reminder for both the festive season and for the future.
It’s been a long time since I’ve sat here and wrote to you, hello my dear internet friends. I’m not really sure where I’m headed with this so I’m just going to go with it. You know the way that blogging can be? It sure is with me. I get stuck and can’t think of what it is exactly what I want to say and then don’t blog for a year. But recently I’ve been doing some thinking. I have lots of time to think when I’m sawing away in the studio! And if you are another small business, particularly one where it’s just you running the whole thing then I dare say that you can relate.
It’s that time of year again. The calm before the storm that is Christmas. Independent craft businesses all over the world are anxiously watching and waiting for things to really get going, and often worrying that it isn’t going to happen. As a small business that has been going for a few years now I’m familiar with the many (many) online gurus who (claim to) know exactly how to drive sales to websites. But the loudness and sheer arrogance of it all leaves me feeling dirty and uncomfortable. There are probably marketing ‘experts’ reading this right now and shaking their heads in dismay. But thinking about who I am as a person has made me realise just how unhappy I am with their ways. That’s precisely it actually – me as a person, not just a business. I am my business.
A really old photo of me!
I have come to realise that the way that I think and do things in my life directly affects my thoughts and feelings about business and selling. I’m an advocate for buying from small businesses. Be it a birthday card, gifts, wrapping paper, flowers, food, and even a board game (I’ll get on to that one in a minute) I like to buy all of these things, and whatever else I can from small businesses because I know from my own business how much of a difference it makes to the person/people who run that business, and in turn that makes me feel nice. That makes me happy. Also you can get to know people just by simply shopping with them and having a chat at the same time. It’s the way that things used to be I suppose, like when you would get to know your local green grocer. (Side note – the board game: it was my birthday last weekend and some friends bought over a board game which I fell a little bit in love with. I’d been given some birthday money and decided that I’d like to buy the board game. There is an independent shop in town that specialises in board games, but it was closed over Sunday and Monday. Yes, I could have been impatient and ordered it from Amazon but I choose to wait until I can get to the shop, support their business and have that tingly feeling inside of supporting the small fish.)
I’m not a big business, I’m just me. I do like to tell you all what I’ve been up to on my business adventure, and I enjoy chatting with you when you DM or email me. I realise that I have to make people aware that my business exists – but I’m not happy shouting about things. I’m happy when I’m making, happy when we’re chatting and happy when I’m helping people and being true to myself. And the people who choose to become my customers are a lot like me. You not only ‘get’ the sentimental value of what I do, but you also (I hope) like me as a small business, my ethos, and me in general – which is a huge thing to learn to admit to yourself! I have actually heard this more and more this past year from my customers and it means the world to me.
The problem with this is getting the message out that there are actually about five weeks, give or take, left to get any orders that are for Christmas to me because I need the time to make and post them all – it’s as simple as that. Because there is just myself here and I need to sleep at some point in December and retain some amount of sanity or my family is really going to love having me around come Christmas. Plus the fact that over the last 12 months my health has had to take more of a front seat. I really have learnt the hard way, the importance of rest. And so I gently remind you, and your friends and families if you choose to share this message with them – that if you would like to shop small for the festive season and even more so if those items are to be handmade, that it is time to start communicating with those businesses, discussing options, sharing stories, and getting your order to them so that they can make those special and unique gifts for you.
If you have enjoyed reading this I would love to hear from you – if you agree with my thoughts, if I have inspired you to get thinking about special handmade Christmas gifts, or just generally the way that you think about shopping. Join in the conversation.
Love, Daisy x
PS. The term "soulful shopping" - I'm not sure if this is already a thing or if I just made it up? But either way, it's a good thing. The phrase alone makes me feel warm, calm, and caring. Can it become a better known term please?