Shopping Small for Starters

There's Always Time for Late Gifting

So, you are down to the wire, and unable to do your normal holiday shopping at the mall or other major retailers due to social distancing, or simply desiring something different for your gifts this year. With the recent passing of Small Business Saturday after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday, which are retails biggest shopping days of the year, you might be wondering what it means to shop small and, if you were like me not that long ago, how and where to start shopping small.

Analyzing What You Buy

First, when attempting to expand on shopping from small businesses, take a look at what you desire to buy and what you buy commonly for yourself. For some people, shopping small for basic day to day items may not suit them, especially if you have brand or ingredient preferences or aversions that can only be found at major retailers. You may not want to risk purchasing any sort of lotions for sensitive skin if you’ve no idea what the small business is putting in it or what their manufacturing process is like. That tip, research, will be explained later on in my post. However, you may be more comfortable purchasing things you don’t ingest or put on your body from small businesses. What around your home, plates, cups, furniture, home décor, or even clothes, can be replaced (if it needs to be) by purchasing the item for a small business?

Try starting there.

Discovering the Small Business

Once you’ve figured out what you desire to purchase for yourself, or for someone else, you’ll have to figure out where to purchase it. Social media is a great way to figure out who runs a small business. It gives us a snapshot into the creation and manufacturing process, it tells us who runs the business and even more information than we may care to know, such as this person’s political leanings, what their diet may be like, how they source materials for the products they sell, and even other collaborations they may do with other shops.

With that research, you’ll actually figure out what the small business you’re shopping from is supporting, and even catch a few sales that you wouldn’t normally get when purchasing from a larger big box store. Unlike making a purchase at a larger retailer, with the research you do on social media, it can be a bit easier to see what and where the money you spend at this retailer goes to! It can also be good to read the other comments, or the businesses Instagram Stories, Highlights, or go directly to their website to get updates on shipping processes, delays, stock updates, or any other relevant information.

Making the Purchase

Often, when we purchase things from larger retailers, we are hoping and expecting to receive the items within one to two business days. For smaller businesses, this speed of shipping the product or even making the product, is often unreasonable. This is because, in most cases, there are one or two people on staff at small businesses and as we know, few hands do not make light work.

Thus, be mindful that your order may take a day or two beyond what you might be used to ship and ultimately wind up at your doorstep. Now, small businesses will almost always have faster shipping options, but as more people order from them, as the holidays grow closer, shipping for a lot of retailers small or large, can slow down a bit.

Finally, find a shop that sells things that you or your gift recipient are passionate about, that makes the purchase and connection you make in gifting all the more positive!

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