Dream Big & Shop Small

This year I'm participating for the first-time-ever as a seller next week on Small Business Saturday. If you haven't heard of it, this is the holiday squeezed in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It's a time for you, the Almighty Consumer, to support me, the tiny, hobby-like wannabe entrepreneur.

 See what the front of this  Fair-Trade Long-Sleeve Tee  looks like!

See what the front of this Fair-Trade Long-Sleeve Tee looks like!

In a world of cut-throat capitalism, why would I put a plug in for small business? If you can't make it, get out of the market, right?

But if you've ever played (and lost) the game Monopoly, you might understand why putting all the power (i.e. money) in a few huge companies is a rather short-sighted pleasure. So here's how and why I hope you shop small this post-Thanksgiving season.

 Doodling ideas & dreaming big while learning about diabetes at the annual AADE Conference

Doodling ideas & dreaming big while learning about diabetes at the annual AADE Conference

Stimulate the Local Economy

It's estimated that 60 to 80% of new jobs created in the U.S. are linked to a small business. Shopping at small businesses supports these jobs.

Spending money locally has been shown to have a multiplier effect - meaning that a dollar spent at a local small business will be recirculated and have a much bigger impact on your local economy than if you spent it at a big-box store. For every $100 spent, local businesses will re-circulate about $45 into the local area while large corporations will only re-circulate about $14.

Politicians can argue all day long about how to best stimulate the economy, but you have the ticket in your pocket. I'd argue that the vote with your dollar can be more influential than your vote at the polls to keep your local community vital.

Why I'm Dreaming Big

In addition to all those economic reasons I just listed, one of my biggest reasons for supporting local and small biz is to support someone's dream. It's not so easy to break into the market even if you have a great product. Lots of real-life challenges (like how to afford health insurance? and how to budget for an unpredictable income?) stand in the way. The entrepreneurs I know work incredibly hard and are fueled by their passions.

To be honest, I don't really know why I have a page selling products. I'm quite certain I'm never going to grow into Wal-Mart or Patagonia. I make a much more steady income at my day job and I'll probably not even reach very far outside my hometown (except by the blessing of the Internet). But coming up with food puns and sharing my ideas with the world is fun, challenging, and invigorating. I hope somewhere in my passions I can bring joy to others, as well.

So why not? Some people spend their free time watching movies or playing sports. I like to do those things, too - but instead of sitting in front of my TV this morning I made a cup of coffee, sat down at my dining room table, wrote a post, created an email blast, and scheduled marketing posts on Facebook. This is the real life of an "entrepreneur."

Go Small or Go Home

Instead of ordering everything this season from Amazon Prime, consider stepping outside your comfort zone to see what your local downtown has to offer. Check out a craft fair or pop into that cute shop downtown you've had your eye on.

If that's too overwhelming, check out the websites of a few of my favorite entrepreneurs. Go find something you love, support small biz, and give something unique this holiday season.

  • Adorable hand-made earrings by Caitlin Kastner of Poptone
  • Hand-made paintings & Travel Bingo cards by Sarah-Lambert Bender of Sarah-Lambert Cook
  • Spin-off original paintings & magnets by Karen Lechtenberg of MonaChewy

Do you have a small business? Know someone who does? Share their story (and their link!) in the comments below.

With love from Peas and Hoppiness