In a rapidly evolving digital age where mega-corporations often overshadow the quaint charm of local artisans, the 'Shop Small' movement emerges as a beacon of hope. This initiative not only encapsulates our yearning for authentic, personal experiences but also reignites the essence of community-centric commerce.

Journey with us as we delve into the transformative power of shopping small, and the profound impact it has on our communities, economies, and the very fabric of our societies.

These days we focus on the importance of being personal in everything that we do.  We’ve changed our attitudes in so many ways and have become aware of our mortality. This includes the way we go shopping and do business.

What Shop Small really means

Of course there was a reason for this. We had to change the way we operated, because we were isolated. To make a living in a world where people couldn’t come face to face involved becoming more personal, looking for ways to communicate that didn’t involve leaving home, and offering products that weren't important before then.

Many smaller businesses took advantage and emerged to cater for our needs, which had changed phenomenally. They found niches we didn’t even know existed and started to make their mark.

Even when we could venture out and use cash instead of cards online, it was little businesses that catered to every community's needs. The reason was twofold: people wanted to support the little businesses in their own communities, and it was also easier to interact with those who operated close by.

Why it's important to support small businesses

These little businesses, both long-term existing ones and new ones, still need our support now that the pandemic is behind us. In fact, this has become so important that the global initiative, 'Shop Small', is doing its utmost to keep these businesses afloat despite worldwide financial uncertainty.  

Here at maake we ourselves started as a smaller business, and we completely understand the pros and cons of being one. That’s why we have no minimum orders where you can order from as little as a 20x20cm sample to 1000m+ based on your needs.  

Let’s explore our focus on social responsibility, specifically Shop Small, and why supporting smaller businesses is so important, not only to you and your community but for future generations and to the UK economy. We’ve also come up with a wealth of ideas, a comprehensive guide to help you grow your little business. 

What does shopping small really mean?

Believe it or not, this concept started long before 2020 and Lockdown. It was launched globally, including in the UK, a decade ago by American Express card. 

The aim? To support smaller businesses on Small Business Saturday – the Saturday after Thanksgiving (this was between Black Friday (the last Friday in November) and Cyber Monday (the Monday following this). The aim was to use American Express cards or a gift card to spend. It was a way of promoting American Express credit cards, but it did so much more than just promote a credit card.

Thank you, Amex credit cards!

This initiative was created to make it easier for customers to purchase a Christmas gift and other items at special prices during the holiday season using any card, especially their American Express cards.

These days Shop Small Amex UK card celebrates local businesses on a daily basis to help communities thrive by using their cards, especially their American Express cards. Of course, they can use debit cards, too, or business cards people use to set up an account. They can also pay cash for items, including wine at a restaurant or hotel.

maake believes in local shopping

We are committed to supporting little and medium-sized businesses. By using smaller businesses, you show your support to your community, whether you’re using credit or debit cards or cash.

As a smaller company ourselves, it is very important to us to help other little businesses in the UK, by giving them opportunities they wouldn’t have with traditional textile printing companies. The cards they use to buy isn’t important: the fact that we’re shopping from them is what makes the difference.

Follow our lead to shopping locally

At maake, we do things differently. We focus on seeing happy, successful entrepreneurs making a positive impact in the textile industry – for clothing, interior design, homeware and any other fabric product:

  • We only use local, sustainably minded fabric manufacturers to provide us with fabric for you to print on. Or you can provide your own.
  • At maake, we focus on giving back. We have an extensive library of independent designers who provide us with exclusive patterns that you can print on the fabric. These designs come with a non-exclusive licence allowing you to sell products made using them. Each time you choose one of those designers’ patterns to print on, they get paid.
  • Our on-demand sustainable printing is extremely fast. It takes 2 – 5 days from ordering to receiving your order confirmation. That’s what shopping this way is all about. Also, free shipping costs are less than if you order from an overseas company.
  • maake prints only exactly what you need. No more. This way, we’re helping you to be sustainable and we’re being sustainable ourselves.
  • Personalised customer service is our focus. This includes artistic and technical support from an expert team.
  • Over 10,000 businesses have worked with us to introduce sustainable digital textile printing into their brand. Many of them have become more visible and increased in growth in their respected industries. That’s the essence of shopping this way in 2023, no matter the types of cards you use.

Why support local businesses in your community?

Every smaller company has its work cut out for them. It’s not easy to secure finance to start a business, but once you're in business, you still need enough cash flow to survive. With the current recession, life isn’t easy if you’re a smaller business. 

For those who need assistance, the UK’s Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) offers a service (at a fee) where they back company owners and those independent entrepreneurs in the community who are self-employed. They help them to start, run and grow their smaller businesses in every centre throughout the UK. 

Why you should help small businesses thrive

Here is a list of some important reasons to ensure that small businesses keep on thriving: 

  1. Entrepreneurship is an inspiration to others

Little companies that started out at home inspire others to do the same thing. It makes sense: when you buy from a neighbouring company or supplier, the money you spend stays in your community and helps it grow.   The more smaller businesses thrive, the more positive their impact is on the economy.   How does this work? Say you own a smaller company and use only products made in your vicinity to survive. You only buy local. You don’t need to travel far to get whatever product or service you need. And your customers don’t need too travel far, either. This means that everything your company uses comes from local producers and service providers (courier, insurance broker, designer and other market specialists). By doing this, you’re ensuring that the entire community is busy and making money.  

  1. You create jobs in the community

By using neighbouring suppliers, you create more jobs in the area. This helps your own company as well as other businesses. You’re helping to strengthen the community and its businesses and encouraging entrepreneurship.    

  1. Local businesses are often sustainable

This isn’t always the case, but often these local businesses are more sustainable. After all, it’s easier and faster to service customers in your area and ensure that products are fresh.  

Also, Shop Small means you’re purchasing from businesses who make their products locally, in smaller batches. They also use more sustainable and ethical manufacturing methods than larger suppliers. 

  1. You offer the personal touch

By the very nature of their smaller business, owners add a far more personal touch to their customers. Their customers are important to them, and they tend to have a more personal relationship with them.  

Knowing the owner of a little company personally makes a huge difference. When you’re an entrepreneur, every customer is important to you and you offer very personal service. Smaller businesses also often offer more unique products and experiences, which is another big plus. 

At maake, we offer free designer tools, including the option to book a FREE Products and Designer Call with one of our team specialists, this is one of our clients’ favorites as this gives the option to book a 15-minute call, according to their schedule to discuss all their doubts.

5. You provide exclusivity on a smaller scale

A smaller local company has another advantage: it's able to provide unique products compare to larger businesses. You know your community and what they want and need, and are able to provide them with exactly that. 

Whereas larger businesses that cater to larger audiences don't know their particular audience that well. They can't provide them with that unique, exclusive touch.

How you can support small businesses

As an owner of a little to medium-sized company yourself, it’s important to know how to help other companies thrive and how to assist them with money health. Here are some ways you can use this important concept…

·      Support those who are supporting you, and find news about little businesses in your area, from new coffee shops to smallholdings with produce. 

·      By word of mouth is a speedy way for little businesses to grow. Be sure to share new finds on Social Media and in your group of friends and colleagues, so that others can shop at these smaller businesses, too. You’re giving these company owners a gift – your personal recommendation.

·      Buy local (smaller shops or businesses) wherever and whenever you can. As a smaller local corporate owner yourself, you know the importance of supporting others. Buy from them online or in person – support them in every way.

·      American Express Card has a Little Blue Book of Sharing that lists Amex Shop Small 2023 UK locations, many independent little businesses where you can use their card for points in the UK and support them. Of course, none of these American Express affiliated businesses will refuse any other type of card, which is a sign that you can shop locally without having a specific method of payment.

They also often provide a special price compared to the original price. And there’s also an Amex Shop Small Map, an easy-to-use list of little local businesses which are specifically an Amex shop small London list.

Watch out for various Shop Small near me offers, some offering special offers to American Express card holders. Of course, you don’t have to use their card to shop; you can use any card you wish.

How to keep your customers happy

  • Go all out to offer your customers the best, most personalised service possible. Make sure you are their preferred choice, rather than a larger company in the same industry. You’ll know if this is true by their reviews!
  • Keep ordering and delivering of your products from your shops simple, fast and efficient.
  • Have an online store (look at Etsy for inspiration) where customers can buy a product or gift via card or EFT and order at any time of the day.
  • Make sure your website is right at the top of its game: user-friendly, professional – and beautiful.
  • Regularly communicate with your customers via email or Social Media. Make each message special, information that is a personal gift.
  • Did you know maake also offers more business sustainability tips and information in our blog section, or you can read our blogs on the maakeAcademy website, filled with extensive information on cards business success etc. Follow the link to view how we can help your company further, check out our products/services find. No password or account required. Or send us an email – we’ll respond right away. We care about your privacy and the urgency of your message. 
  • Remind customers to talk about your excellent products and services.

In an age of globalisation, the decision to buy this way is more than just consent about a transaction; it's a commitment to community, sustainability, and the individuals who pour their heart and soul into what they create. As we move forward, let's not forget the vibrant tapestry of smaller businesses that define our community landscapes. By choosing to support them, we're not only investing in quality and authenticity but also shaping a brighter, more connected future for all. At maake, we champion this ethos every day and invite you to join us in celebrating the little wonders around us.

Let your creative juices flow

Take a look at maake’s superb range of local base fabrics to print on and Design your own fabric. 

April 13, 2023 — Artemis Doupa