I recently published this video outlining 5 ways you can help support small and handmade business, 3 of which don't cost you a penny! In this post I'd like to share this list plus a little more information which you hopefully find helpful.
Buy online and participate in online events
As I mentioned in my video, there are lots of items you can purchase from SBKM online and a lot of them cost less than $10. And don't forget, I have some FREE crochet patterns and digital downloads too.
Check out the Non-Medical Crochet Face Masks I've recently added to my online store, and remember that we can also crochet together online:
Missing the ability to browse and socialize at craft shows and stores that sell handmade? Here's some alternatives to look out for:
- Brick and mortar stores selling online. One of my all time favourites here in Hamilton is LEN: Democratic Purveyors of Fine Art and Beautiful Things. I got one of their Covid Candles for Mother's Day and it smells divine.
- Online events. Not only does Handknit Yarn Studio sell yarn and other goodies online but if you're missing socializing with fellow yarnies then join them on Saturdays for Knit in the Cloud.
- Online craft shows. If you're already missing craft fairs (and who isn't) then check to see if some of your favourite organizers are hosting any online. Here in Hamilton for example, Craftadian just hosted its first virtual market and has a couple more planned for later in the year.
Shout out to 5 of my favourite small, local, woman-led, handmade businesses
This is by no means an exhaustive list but here are 5 of my favourite local maker businesses:
- Inspiration Vintage. Renee makes the cutest and comfiest cotton lingerie I have ever worn (no exaggeration!)
- Three Peas Design. There are lots of terrific diffuser jewellery makers out there but Carrie is one of my favourites. What stands out for me is the quality of her work (her bracelet beads are stranded on nylon cord, individually knotted and the bracelets are adjustable) and how mindfully each piece is made.
- Bell + Whistle. Sierra makes classic, timeless, vegan leather accessories. I've bought several items as gifts and for myself and always crave more.
- The Real Cake Bar. We may not be able to attend parties, weddings and shows right now but the need for cake is eternal! Chelsey makes amazing and delicious cakes, cake kits, cake pops - highly recommend!
- Pawsitive Pets Inc. A monthly subscription box service for the pup in your life where all the goodies are from Canadian makers.
Not sure what to get for graduation, teachers, parents of newborns, Father's Day? Gift cards make a great option! You can even buy now in advance of the holidays because SBKM offers gift cards that never expire.
There are even two ways you can earn SBKM gift cards for FREE!
- If you refer a friend to SBKM and they spend $50 or more then you are eligible for a $10 SBKM gift card - and there's no limit on the referrals you can make!
- Spend C$100 or more (before shipping) and you will earn a $25 SBKM gift card.
Support on Social Media
Why do small businesses ask for support on social media? Well, all the platforms you're active on use algorithms which decide which content people see. Everyone's newsfeed, timeline or home page looks different, based on their activity on that platform. It can be tough for small businesses to be visible in this kind of environment. So, how can you help?
- Comment! Don't just "like" a post, photo or video on Facebook and Instagram, take the time to comment! It doesn't have to be a lengthy treatise but it does need to be genuine - if it's just an emoji or if it's less than 4 words, the algorithm won't be impacted.
- Share! Sharing posts and videos with your friends or followers helps ensure that more people see them. Share in your Instagram and Facebook stories and on your Facebook personal page.
- Tag! If you purchase something from a small business and love it, don't forget to tag them in any photos of it that you share on Instagram!
Make referrals and write reviews
Gaining new business from happy customers is crucially important for small businesses. People trust word-of-mouth recommendations and act on them. And remember, if you refer someone to SBKM and they become a customer then you could receive a $10 free gift card.
Even if you don't have friends or family to make referrals to, writing a review for a small business is a huge help. You can leave a review for SBKM on Google, Facebook or both! Here's some tips to keep in mind when writing your review:
- Describe your situation (For example, "I always thought I couldn't crochet, just couldn't seem to get my head around it")
- Talk about the benefits you received (For example, "This class was one of the most helpful I have ever taken - you learn so much!"
- Specifically name the person you worked with (For example, "Deanne is such a wonderful instructor!")
Sign up for their newsletter
Why subscribe to receive SBKM news by email? Well, not only will you receive a coupon code for 10% off your first order but you are guaranteed to hear about important updates. These include special offers, discounts, sales and events as well as new crochet patterns, crochet classes and products.
I mentioned above that social media algorithms can work against small businesses. An important way for businesses to counter the detrimental impacts of social media is being able to communicate directly with their customers via email.
I hope you found this list and video useful - don't forget to comment sharing your favourite small, women-led, handmade businesses.