Have you heard of Small Business Saturday? What began as a marketing campaign (from American Express!) in 2010 has evolved and grown to its current status as an official holiday that is important to local businesses and communities.
The U.S. Small Business Association was created in 1953 "as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns...(SBA) helps Americans start, grow, and build resilient businesses." (SBA)
Official designation from the SBA as a small business is based on three factors: company type, average annual revenues, and number of employees. Across all three of these, Bonsaify qualifies as a small business (in fact, as a very small business). For businesses like ours, consumer participation in Small Business Saturday is exciting and inspiring.
What Is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is an annual holiday that encourages everyone to shop at local businesses for the holidays. Small Business Saturday takes place on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. As mentioned previously it began as a campaign launched by American Express on Nov. 27, 2010 "to help small businesses gain exposure and to inspire consumers to shop within their own communities during the holiday season." (FBFS) The day became official in 2011 through support from Washington State mayors, governors, senators, and President Obama.
Thanks to local shoppers everywhere, participation in Small Business Saturday continues to grow year after year.
Why Should You Shop Small?
For small business owners like Eric and me, Bonsaify is more than "just" our business. It's an extension of who Eric is an artist and a grower, and who we both are as dreamers and entrepreneurs. It's also a family affair that is helping our sons learn deeply about starting and maintaining a business. Supporting local businesses like ours not only enables us to keep growing and evolving, it benefits the communities we serve as well. We're able to hire locally; we've developed a friendship with our USPS carrier who stops by daily to pick up Bonsaify packages to be delivered; and we meet new members of the Bay Area every week through workshops, events, and appointments.
If you plan to purchase holiday gifts this year, why not shop at a local eatery, boutique or neighborhood store first? Of every dollar spent at a local small business, 67 cents stays within your local economy. Your favorite small business may not be local, but you can bet they're offering support within their own communities or even more broadly. For example, we donate 1% of our revenue to One Tree Planted, specifically to support reforestation in California.
Supporting Small Business
If you typically shop national retailers in-person or online, or generally purchase only from big-box type online stores, you may wonder how you can do more to support small business. Here are four ideas.
1. Stop and stare while out and about: while visiting your favorite coffee shop or bakery, take a look around the neighborhood. Are there boutiques, local bookshops, or specialty stores you've never been inside? Give them a second look!
2. Crowd source through friends and the web: ask your local friends for suggestions or look for reviews online. And once you've found a few small businesses that you want to support, share them through your social networks to help spread the word!
3. Gift cards for all: Whether you purchase one to use later for yourself, or to give as a gift this holiday season, gift cards are a great show of support to a small business. Not only are you using your wallet to show support, you're introducing the people on your gift list to the business, and perhaps helping them gain a new customer. And yes [shameless plug] we do sell Bonsaify gift cards.
4. Make every day a small business day! While the official holiday is Saturday November 26, there's no reason to limit your support of small businesses to one day. Keep the mom-and-pop shops; the local boutiques; and the small specialty stores in mind every day!