Why the "Shop Small" Campaign is so Important

The beginning of the pandemic marked a lot of changes in society for the worse, but there are several things that came out of the lockdown that are positive, among them the stronger push for the “shop small” campaign. 

What is the shop small campaign, you ask? The idea of “shopping small” is centered around the support of your locally owned businesses and smaller online stores where individuals sell their skills and craft on sites such as Etsy. The rise of this campaign came with the pandemic because a lot of larger companies use their funds to exploit others, whereas supporting small businesses directly help individuals in need, which became crucial when many people lost their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Some other benefits of the shop small campaign are that most small business owners are more likely to support local funds, so if you are looking for an easy way to give back to your community while also gaining something for yourself, shopping small can achieve that. It’s also usually the case that small businesses are more cognizant of social issues, and are more likely to support giving proceeds to different organizations than larger companies. For example, Lakota Coffee in Columbia recently had a day where all of the profits of iced coffee sales went towards funds stopping AAPI hate in response to the recent shooting in Atlanta. This shows their support for social issues, as well as bringing attention to their shop, where people may come more after realizing their awareness within society. 

Shopping small also helps support the sustainability movement. Many local businesses and online shops get their products locally sourced or they create the products themselves, so your purchases are not only helping support the local businesses, but you are also helping prevent more labor hours in sweatshops that are often used in larger businesses, especially in fast fashion. Small businesses are also a lot more conscious about sustainability, and a lot of their products will likely be more environmentally conscious and oftentimes their packaging is biodegradable. 

Shopping at small businesses often provides a more personal connection between the buyer and the seller than larger companies. When you buy something on Amazon, you simply can “buy now with one click” and get your package. If you were to find a sweatshirt you liked from a seller on Etsy but you wanted it customized, you could request a customized sweatshirt upon checkout, have a one-on-one messaging conversation with that seller, and then receive a personalized sweatshirt with a hand-written note addressed specifically to you from the seller. This is how most small businesses operate online, and oftentimes shipping costs are lower and faster than some larger corporations. Both you and the seller feel fulfilled after making the purchase, and you both receive something a little more personal than a typical purchase.  Those who work at small businesses in stores are also more caring towards their customers, remembering their names, orders and genuinely wanting to start up conversations with the people that enter their stores than a place like Walmart, where the people feel more obligated to offer help to their customers than genuinely caring about helping them. 

Some people think that it is more difficult to shop small because it appears more costly than simply buying from a large corporation, but many small businesses actually offer cheaper services than larger firms. It is also about contributing the best you can, even if that is simply supporting your local coffee shop once a week. Shopping small doesn’t have to be big, but if more people start doing it, then there is a greater community impact, and overall everybody is better off. 

So, even if you have to start small, shop small and make a BIG change.