Shopping in a recession: small businesses need you now more than ever
Today’s announcement that the UK has gone into its deepest recession on record may not be a surprise for small business owners, but it is still heart-aching news.
I can tell you how I feel - as the owner of a fledgling company in a niche market where many of my customers will be disproportionately impacted by both the pandemic and this recession. Spoiler: it’s not good. Frankly, I am terrified.
People often advise business owners to steer clear of politics, but I don’t agree, so here it is. I don’t have any confidence in the current government and their recent strategy of scapegoating asylum seekers is offensive to us all.
I am trying not to panic, but it is hard. My gut reaction to the recession news, as a business owner, is to make a plea to consumers. Please make thoughtful choices with your money. The companies that are most at risk of collapse right now are the small ones. These types of businesses are also highly likely to care deeply about their products and services, and about their customers.
So, if you can, please shop local for food. Use your high street butcher, grocer, or fishmonger. If you’re shopping online, I’ve got some suggestions for you, which I’ve whittled into categories.
This list is by no means exhaustive so please feel free to comment with your own ideas. For transparency, I should make it clear that I know most, if not all, of the entrepreneurs behind the business below. But I wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t think what they made was awesome!
Food n’ Booze:
- 4 Sisters Gin – their passionfruit and cardamom gin is not to be missed. If you’re going to treat yourself to a tipple, make sure it’s a damn good one.
- K’s Wors – multi award-winning range of Southern African inspired Boerewors created by the excellent (and lovely) entrepreneur Delight Mapasure.
- 3 Pugs Gin – Yes, another gin-based company (I’ve got a one-track mind). The bottles are ace, and the Lemony Sherbet gin liqueur makes for a great gift.
Fashion and Beauty:
- Calla Shoes – if you have wide feet or bunions but don’t fancy wearing comfy but unfashionable shoes, there is an alternative. Calla is a brilliant small business creating high-quality (trust me, I’ve worn a pair), pretty and comfortable footwear.
- MissKick – a fiercely female brand creating sportswear, specifically football gear for girls and women.
- Kandi Cosmetics – selling gorgeous, cruelty-free cosmetics at affordable prices – perfect for makeup artists and enthusiasts alike.
- Kintsugi Clothing – Well, err, yes. We would say this, wouldn’t we! But if you’re looking for high-quality, sustainable workwear and key wardrobe pieces, you’ll enjoy our inclusive collection, designed with a range of body types in mind.
Homeware and Gifts:
- Hemming and Wills – a contemporary home brand with a conscience, focusing on customer service excellence. They even offer a key worker discount.
- Shole – if you’re pro the environment (and who isn’t?), check out Shole. Created in 2019, this company aims to help people kick their single-use plastic habit and find more sustainable alternatives.
- The Earth Friendly Rocker – housed in Manchester’s Affleck’s Palace, was set up to help bring ‘everything for a low waste lifestyle’ to the alternative community. You’ll find a range of brands here, from fashion to health and homeware.