I know you've heard it before; supporting small is crucial to the economy, but do you know why? Small businesses are mega important because they provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to create something new in the world. They also can help create more meaningful job satisfaction with happy employees. Something you don't always see with the burned-out-corporate-ladder types of larger organizations. They also stimulate local economies, keeping your money close to home and supporting neighborhoods and communities. It's truly something so much bigger than I ever imagined and I never fully accepted this style of thought as a consumer before.
And believe me, I totally get it. Running to Target or using Amazon to purchase everything you could ever want/need is definitely convenient. And for many, it's the best way to get these items because they are either disabled, do not drive, don't have enough time...etc. I'm not dogging the ease and availability of goods on these platforms or stores, but if you have the means to spend a day visiting smaller shops, I hope you consider doing so.
Small businesses also have the opportunity to bring more visitors to the area that if it wasn't for that store, they may not have ever stopped by. Which in turn, helps level up the community because they may pop in to the small coffee shop nearby since they're already there. It's all a giant circle! It's also good to mention we buy from smaller, independent creatives too!
So, let's get to the meat of this subject: why do small businesses need your support more so than larger businesses?
The biggest reason I have found is scale. I will use cupcakes for an example (hello to my neighbor Bethel Bakery😂 ) If you look at a singular cupcake, you will see that the cost is a bit higher than if you were to purchase a 1/2 dozen or even more compared a full dozen. Why? Because it's cheaper to buy in bulk. That exact same concept is true for small businesses across the globe. No matter what they specialize in.
That concept melts into my line of work as a plant shop owner. When I purchase planters for the shop, the more I buy, the cheaper the product is. Which is why you can find planters (sometimes the same ones) for wayyyy cheaper at Homegoods/TJ Maxx/At Home than you can at my shop. They have the means to purchase in huge bulk, thus lowering the cost of their inventory. That also means lower retail price points for them because their profit margins are met at a lower sale price to begin with. I don't have the upfront cash to be able to purchase 1,000 planters at once, nor the physical space in my shop to hold that much inventory. Have you seen the size of my fun-sized plant shop lol? So I have order smaller quantities and because of that, I pay higher prices, thus making my profit margins higher than those big box stores. Damn the man!
So now I hope that you can see why it's good to spend a little more to support a small shop. It helps shake out the benefits to hard working independent folk who went out on a limb to do something on their own rather than further deepening the pockets of the already wealthy megacorp.
I am constantly trying to find the balance between quality, uniqueness and affordability for my customers here at Ruby Flora. Not only plants, but all the goods that come along with them. So thank you to those who see the difference between my plants/goods and a box store's plants/goods. I appreciate you so much!
If you are now wondering, okay so how can I help, what do I do now? I got you. Below are a few small ways to go about helping a small biz:
- Be social: Word-of-mouth and social sharing is one of the main ways customers have found out about me. Whether you mention a small business in conversation or post it on your social media, personal recommendations hold a lot of value!
- Reviews: Google, Facebook, literally anywhere you can helps!
- Explore: Meeting a friend out somewhere? Head out a little early and grab coffee from an independent coffee shop or stop by a small florist and pick your friend up a cute little gift.
- Acknowledge Diversity: Seek out small businesses owned by women or people in the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities.
- Use Cash (if you can): I never realized how much a POS system/CC machines take from a small biz, but it's a lot and they add up quick.
- Practice Kindness: The person working in that small business is human and I'm sure their passion is strong but sadly, things can still go wrong. Channel your inner zen if things don't go as planned.
- Feedback: People in small shops wear many hats, so that means sometimes small things can slip through the cracks or be overlooked. If you notice a price discrepancy, or even sometimes a pest (lookin' at us plant shops!) please just notify the person working and I promise you, they'll fix it or go above and beyond to ensure you're happy. I know I try my absolute best to not sell a plant with pests, but alas, sometimes it happens.
Also, try to remember I rely on my regular customers just as much as trying to source new ones. So thank you all who have supported me! OGs or new, I appreciate every single one of you. Thank you for taking the time to read this!