I love the idea of supporting small independent businesses and self employed crafts people.
The realisation that there are people all over the world following their dreams.
Taking the risk to try to make something wonderful, beautiful and unique.
Following a desire to share their passion and make others happy.
Whether they make cake, beer, cheese, clothes, jewellery, art or candles they all have something in common - a passion for what they do.
I often want one of everything.
I want to say "I'm with you and I value what you bring to our society".
I don't want our lives to be dominated by large global commercial businesses.
I feel that handcrafted items have a little magic. Something special and wonderful.
But, the reality is that I don't always have enough spare money to actually buy anything.
As a small business owner myself I now realise that there are other ways to show your support without spending a penny.
Whether it's a friend working to create their dream brand or a small business you love, you can get involved and genuinely help them!
Recommending them to friends and family
Word of mouth is vital for any small business or maker!
So, don't forget to recommend your favourite small businesses to friends and family.
Tell people about this great person or small business you have found!
There seems to be a real movement for supporting independent business and crafts people.
A great way to do this is to tag someone in a post from the business on social media.
You could also send an email with a link to their website.
Anything to get the word out there.
You may even get some great recommendations in return and discover some more wonderful creative businesses.
Following, liking and commenting on social media
This actually benefits small businesses in two ways.
One it show thems (and others) you like their things.
It can be incredibly lonely and frustrating when you work alone and you are going through a quiet patch.
A small reminder that people like your items can really help.
Interacting with a posts on social media also means the social media platform knows it's interesting content.
This can mean it gets more exposure and therefore more chance for someone new to discover the business.
So liking a post on social media (which takes no more than a second of your time) can really help.
Comments and shares make an even bigger difference.
So next time you love a post from your favourite small business don't forget to take a moment to engage in some way!
Leaving a recommendation or review on Facebook/ their website
Now, let's be clear I'm not suggesting you lie and pretend you have bought something if you haven't.
You can still recommend a business if you haven't bought something though.
So let's break this down for if you have or haven't bought anything from the business.
I love the business but I've never bought anything
This isn't an issue! You can still recommend the business on Facebook.
To find instructions on how to do this visit: https://www.facebook.com/help/271128916342286
Just describe why you love them.
Have you spoken to them at fairs or festivals and they were super friendly and helpful?
Do you love their products and you are saving up for one?
Have you seen one and know it's great quality or value for money?
Did someone buy you something from them as a gift and you loved it?
Taking 5 minutes to leave a positive recommendation is one of the best ways to help a small business without spending any money!
You are showing other potential customers that they are a real business that is trust worthy and valued.
This can make all the difference to the success of a small business.
I've bought something from the business
If you have then great, describe your experience.
You can do this on Facebook and/ or on their website.
Reviews are invaluable for the business so this is something that could really help!
Was the product beautiful, tasty, well made etc? How would you describe it?
Why did you buy it? Was it a gift for someone else? Was it something as a treat for yourself?
Oh, and don't forget to include information about the packaging, delivery speed, customer service etc.
Great reviews build trust with customers and really help a small business.
Be positive, genuine and enthusiastic about the product (or service).
Tell others why you love the brand so much.
Instructions for how to recommend a business on Facebook can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/help/271128916342286
Sites like Etsy will often prompt you to leave a review by sending an email with instructions.
If the business or maker has a website then you can often also leave reviews there.
Tagging them in photos of you with their products
This requires a little more effort than those listed above.
If you have bought a product from them in the past then take a lovely photograph of you with it and tag them on social media.
Try to get a good quality picture to really show the product off.
One of the best ways to get a good photo is to use daylight. This should help the shot to be well lit and will help the colours to be true.
Small businesses often don't have a budget for "lifestyle shots". These are pictures of the item in use or being worn.
Shots like this can really help future customers to picture how the products look and how big they are.
Just as a quick note about copyright. You own the copyright for the image if you took the photograph. The designer/ maker owns the copyright for the product itself. They should ask your permission if they use your image for anything e.g. for marketing. If you are not comfortable with them using your image then be clear about what they can and can't use it for.
What do you think?
Was this article helpful? Do you have an independent business or crafts person you love? What other ideas do you have to support small businesses and self-employed crafts people? We'd love to hear your thoughts!
Let us know in the comments.