One of my resolutions for the upcoming year is to make a bigger effort to shop small businesses more often. It’s so easy to fall into the habit of shopping with big box stores and major shopping websites, but where we spend our money can affect more than just our own pockets. Shopping from small and local businesses supports families, communities, and small economies – places that need our help more than ever as the world of online and local shopping becomes more and more swamped with mega-stores and online giants.
What I find when I branch out from those standard shopping spots is that the world of small business can be a far more pleasant and compelling place. I love discovering new treasures and trends, and drooling over the beauty and ingenuity of hand crafted items. There are so many people out there making things that are truly special. We just have to take the time to go and find them! These reasons, and more, are why I’m committing to shop small businesses more than ever in 2018.
Small Scale Means Big Quality
There’s a reason that mass-produced bread never tastes quite as good as what you find in a local bakery. When it comes to certain things, quality just can’t be scaled. The same often goes for anything hand-crafted. Whether it’s cosmetics made in small batches or ceramics produced by an actual artisan, things that are created by people are often higher in quality than those made by machines. Maybe it’s the attention to detail or the freshness of the ingredients. Perhaps it’s just the love that goes into something handmade. Either way, one thing I love when I shop small businesses is knowing that every order, every object, every recipe, is special to someone.
Support Small Economy
When you shop with a small business, the money you spend is going directly to supporting its growth and the success of the people running the company. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel pretty good. I like the idea that my hard earned money is going toward someone else’s hard earned dream. Shop small businesses and you’ll be a part of something big!
It’s kind of comforting knowing that you, individually, really matter to the company you are shopping with. Small business owners tend to be highly involved in their companies. From customer service to sales or special orders, you can be sure that a small business is doing its best to pay attention and keep you happy. After all, every order counts when you are working on a small scale. This often means that you can reach out to a small business with questions or concerns and receive a personalized response from a living breathing human being – and they actually care!
Unique Products and Services
Obviously there is no lack of appealing products at the big box stores. Big companies know how to produce products that are cute, well marketed, and cheaply produced. The only problem is that no matter how special or adorable an item you find, you buy it knowing there are about a million more being bought across the country. If you want to find something that is truly unique – REALLY special, shopping small businesses is the way to go. Small businesses are often ahead of the trends, so you can find something that is really cool before the big box shops catch on.
It’s Easy and Convenient
With the internet at our fingertips, shopping small businesses is easier than ever. Choose from a whole wide world of artisans, hand-makers, and small batch cosmetics companies with a few clicks, then have your goodies delivered straight to your door. No waiting in long lines or hustling through crowded parking lots. And with PayPal, you don’t even have to dig out your wallet. Checkouts are simple, quick, and drama-free.
My favorite recent small business discovery is Apoterra Skincare. While I love making my own products, and have a tendency to lean on homemade recipes for daily use, I LOVE trying out natural products from other makers too. Apoterra is a small but mighty skin care business that focuses on using natural ingredients to promote healthy skin.
Products are produced in small batches and are made with a broad palette of natural and organic ingredients that really thrill the skin care geek in me. Exotic goodies like hibiscus, açaí, copaiba balsam, and prickly pear are used in clever combinations with more standard favorites like evening primrose oil or shea butter. I ended up buying myself two products from their line for dry/mature skin, and a sampler of products from their line for oily/acne prone skin for the hubby.
I tried the Rose Hydrating Toner and the Hibiscus Exfoliating Mud, and am loving them both. The toner includes natural hyaluronic acid which can help skin to retain moisture. It helps my skin keep a soft and dewy finish, which is such a treat during dry winter weather. The Hibiscus Exfoliating Mud was also wonderful. It has a thick, concentrated texture that helps the product last longer. You just need a tiny bit while using it as a facial scrub – and just a pinch more if you are using it as a mask. Personally, I love products that can be used multiple ways. It makes me feel like I’m getting more for my money!
My husband has been using sampler sized products from Apoterra’s line for oily/acne prone skin. I’m impressed that they include not only cleansers but TWO types of moisturizers in this kit. Finding suitable moisturizers for this skin type can be tough since the products need to condition skin without encouraging clogged pores or over-production. Simple solutions, like oils and serums are great choices.
Shopping at Apoterra was fun and easy. The site offers a quick skin care quiz on the home page to help you discover the best products for your skin type. I checked out using PayPal – which meant I didn’t even have to pull out my wallet. I’ve been a dedicated PayPal user for years. I love being able to checkout quickly without having to fill out a ton of information or hunt around for my debit card. We live in an age of convenience, after all. And I am most certainly spoiled!
PayPal’s One Touch feature makes the process as quick as possible. Users can check out without having to enter credit card or billing details. Easy peasy.
In addition to being super convenient, PayPal offer some other great features too! For example, did you know that PayPal offers return shipping refunds? The program is called Return Shipping On Us, and lets customers get up to $30 in return shipping costs per order on 12 orders per calendar year.
PayPal also makes digital gifting easier through their Digital Gift Cards program. You can purchase gift cards from a huge variety of merchants and set them up to deliver automatically on a scheduled date. The best part? You won’t be charged for the gift card until the day it is sent. That means you can schedule gifts for the whole year in just one afternoon. Pretty cool, huh?
PayPal even offers credit and special financing for purchases of $99 or more. You can find out more about PayPal credit here.
I hope you’ll have fun shopping small businesses this year too. If you have any favorites to recommend, please be sure to let me know! I’d love to find small businesses to shop from for all of our family’s needs.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.