Dear Small Businesses,
From following many suavely branded ‘Insta shops’, Just a Card Week has sprung up across my feed, with many of you introducing your lovely selves, revealing the behind the scenes of your hustle and offering amazing discounts spanning the diversity and genius of your trades. You think huh, genius, I’m just a parent or student or work from home…r who had an idea and some courage. It doesn’t go unnoticed.
Do you realise how desperate I am to walk into a bakery and smell fresh bread, instead of having to choose between monotonous toastie loaves (not my choice – I like seeded) on the shelves which buzz under florescent lights? I couldn’t tell you how far away the nearest bakery is.
How I’d love to rummage through trinkets and jewellery for hours instead of clicking onto Amazon and have it delivered by a nameless, harried man in a white van who has to deliver 9 more parcels in the next 20 minutes. (Prime is fantastic; Amazon’s mandatory inclusion of the UK’s Modern Slavery statement on their website not so much.)
I would revel in having affordable homemade furniture and decorations in my home, rather than there being a 99% chance that Stuart up the road has an identical Ikea sofa, or Kyla owns that exact mass-manufactured canvas hanging on her wall: perhaps not in her living room but on the landing. (Percentage not accurate and I know no Stuarts or Kylas, but you catch my drift.)
Small Business, you could be years in the making or just finding your feet. You may sell something 100 other people do, or something completely fresh and unthought of: both are just as difficult in my eyes. Perhaps you stand for hours taking photos of newborns, chisel, mix or paint away.
Supermarkets, Amazon and Ikea are incredibly easy for the mass consumer. Okay, Ikea really isn’t all that easy. But the act of clicking and receiving cardboard boxes is. I like pretty packaging. I like personalisation. I like talking to sellers who call me ‘hun’ and ‘babes’. Call that tacky, but it feels human without having to prove I am by clicking on the cars in the photo below. Tick, I am not a robot.
I can’t avoid toastie bread, nor will I be able to afford hand-carved chairs from the Forest of Dean… If they exist. What I can do is say thank you, your courage and genius is noticed by people: don’t give up!
I’ve purchased from a few of you over the last few months because a) your stuff is really great! and b) I can’t really control myself. I wanted to share with my readers the fabulous purchases you’ve sent to me – pretty packaging was obviously included. Obviously.
Danglefoot Nail Polishes
The first thermal polish I bought was from a company in the Caribbean 8 years ago. I didn’t really know how to ‘make them work ‘: turns out I didn’t have to do anything. It was just crap. I liked Hayley’s website, I liked the rare names of each polish and of course the swatches from genuine customers clinched the first sale. Lovingly termed ‘danglies’, I’ve never been disappointed by the quality of these polishes – in fact they’re possibly the highest quality polishes I’ve used in terms of pigment and longevity. They’re super affordable and Hayley offers deals on her Instagram (@danglefootnailpolish). Yes that’s a free dinosaur pin.
Melissa at Watermelon Studio was super personable and patient with my print order. It hangs amongst photos of my family on our bedroom wall and I take satisfaction in the fact it’s ours, nobody else has this on their wall. She created something exactly as I’d envisioned, and from working in customer service for a number of years, I can tell you this is the kind of person I would rather give my money to. Find some gorgeous, unique and bargain prints on her Instagram, @watermelonstudio94.
Jade creates gorgeous, intricately hand-painted peg dolls which are perfect for decoration or in my case, little toys for my son. Might I add he is obsessed with trains, especially Thomas the Tank Engine, and so when this lovely lady said sure, no problem, I was over the moon! She can make them to order as she did with me, or has popular sets and offers over on her Instagram: @pocketpegdolls. Check out The Hungry Caterpillar set…just amazing! Jade is also genuinely one of the nicest sellers I’ve purchased from and she packages these beauties to perfection.
Inspired by Leo
Amy creates stunning fabric teethers, dribble bibs, cushion covers and as pictured here, personalised banner flags. She’s another patient seller who shows genuine appreciation to each and every customer – you don’t get that from Ikea customer services. Believe me I know… I’ve never seen such stunning fabrics and the personalisation really clinched this for me. As well as the fab price! You can check out her colourful Instagram @inspired_by_leo. (I chose this print because Noah thinks toucan beaks are carrots which is just delightful.)
Small Business, if I could, I would fill my home with your incredible creations so I could have a story to tell about each of them, rather than “the Ikea courier was useless” or “this is from Amazon. Oh that is as well.” But alas I cannot; I’ve been plummeted into the world of mass consumerism because of the difficulties of small businesses staying afloat. You’re all doing amazing things, and I hope Just a Card Week inspires you to stay creative and strive through.
I can’t stand Clinton’s anyway, it’s bloody extortionate.