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 smaller businesses, 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 how we operate in a company.

What Shop Small means

Of course, there was a reason for Shop Small. We had to change the way we worked 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 to 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, little businesses catered to a community's needs. The reason was twofold: people wanted to assist the little businesses in their 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 assistance now that the pandemic is behind us. This has become so important that the Shop Small global initiative is doing its utmost to keep these businesses afloat despite worldwide financial uncertainty.  

Here at maake we started as a smaller business, and we completely understand the pros and cons of being one. That’s why we believe so strongly in Shop Small. 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 to help you grow your little company. 

An initiative started by American Express credit cards

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

The aim? To assist smaller businesses on the event called Small Company 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 an American Express card or a gift card to spend. It was a way of promoting American Express cards, but it did so much more than just promoting a credit card.

A big thank you to American Express 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 daily to help communities thrive by using their cards, especially their American Express cards. Of course, they can use debit cards business people use for their businesses. They can also pay cash for items, including wine at a restaurant or hotel, a gift or service, and much more.

maake believes in local shopping 

We are committed to supporting little and medium-sized businesses. By using the Shop Small initiative and supporting 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 aren’t important to us: the fact that we’re shopping from them is what makes the difference, no matter whether we use debi or credit cards or cash.

Follow our lead 

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 license allowing you to sell products made using them. Each time you shop for 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 confirmation. That’s what shopping this way is all about. Also, free shipping costs are less than if you purchase 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 assistance 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 respective industries. That’s the essence of being able to shop this way, no matter the types of cards you use.

      Why support local businesses and Amex card?

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

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

      It's important to help local 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 cash you spend to shop whether cards or cash, stays in your community and helps it grow. Also, the distance you travel to get to the store is minimal, saving costs as well.

      The more small businesses thrive, the more positive their impact is on the economy.  

      How does this work? Say you own a small company and use only products made in your vicinity to survive. You only shop local. You don’t need to travel far to get whatever product or service you need. And your customers don’t need to travel far, either.

      This means that everything your company uses comes from local producers and service providers (couriers, designers and other market specialists). By doing this, you’re ensuring that the entire community is busy and making a profit.  

      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, this initiative means you’re purchasing from businesses that make their products locally, in small batches. They also use more sustainable and ethical manufacturing methods than larger suppliers. 

      1. You can offer a personal touch

      By the very nature of their small company, 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. This is particularly evident if you’re running a hotel or restaurant.

      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. Providing exclusivity on a smaller scale

      When you Shop Small there’s another advantage: the small company can provide unique products compared to larger businesses. You know your community and what they want and need and can 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 to 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 via their cards. Here are some ways you can use the Shop Small concept…

      ·      Assist those who are supporting you, and find news about little businesses in your area, from new coffee shops to smallholdings with produce. It doesn’t matter whether you pay with business cards or cash.

      ·      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 with cards or cash at these smaller businesses, too. You’re giving these company owners a gift – your recommendation.

      ·      Shop local (smaller shops or businesses) when you use a card 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 with cards or cash – assist them in every way.

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

      You’ll also find a gem that offers a special fee compared to the original price. And there’s also an Amex Shop Small Map and a Shop Small app, easy-to-use lists of little local businesses which are specifically an American Express London list of smaller businesses. And you don’t have to use cards when you shop at these stores; you can use cash, too.

      Watch out for various special offers, some offering special offers to American Express card holders. Of course, you don’t have to use their card to shop or take advantage of their offers; you can use any card you wish.

      Keep your customers happy

      Here’s how to make people Shop Small:

          • Go all out to offer your customers the best, most personalised service possible in your shops. 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 your products from your shops simple, fast, and efficiently – and watch the positive reviews roll in!
          • Have an online store (look at Etsy for inspiration) where customers can buy a product or gift via card or EFT and purchase 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 company sustainability tips and information in our blog section, or you can read our blogs on the maakeAcademy website, filled with extensive information on every card, business success and other important business information. Follow the link to see how we can help your company further, and check out how our products and services find themselves compared to others’ offers. No password or account is 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 Shop Small 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 information about the vibrant tapestry of smaller businesses that define our community landscapes. By choosing to assist them, we're not only giving them an invaluable gift, we’re investing in quality and authenticity but also shaping a brighter, more connected future for all. At maake, we champion this Shop Small ethos every day and invite you to join us in celebrating the little wonders around us. Each is a gift that keeps on giving.

      Remember this!

      Take a look at maake’s superb range of base fabrics to print on.

      Now you’re ready to create your own fabric.

      April 13, 2023 — Artemis Doupa