Don’t be a Scrooge. Buy Small.

Founding and owning our own business has completely transformed my personal economy.  If I could send one message to the world this Christmas, it would be this:  Buy small.  The smaller the business, the larger the impact.

Why?

When you make a purchase from a small business owner, you are directly changing their life.  Not only do you get to take home a product that is unique, rare, and often one-of-a-kind, you are investing in a dream.  You are making or breaking someone’s heart.  You are giving them a date with their two-year-old to get french fries.  Or paying for their heating bill this winter. Or giving them the opportunity to experiment and create newer, better products.

You may think, “But the $5 I save on a similar item at a corporate retail place will enable me to take my child out for french fries.”  The problem with this thinking is that the money stops there.  Your impact stops with yourself.  But by purchasing from small businesses, you are investing in the dream chain.

Consider this: You buy a handmade sweater for your sister for Christmas for $25 from a small, local vendor versus the one for $19 at a corporate chain produced en masse by machines.  Those $6 extra enable the knitter to buy ice cream with his family at a small, local creamery versus the $3 cones at a fast food joint.  Those $3 extra enable the ice cream parlor’s owner to purchase cream from grass-fed cows at a small, local dairy.  Which then allows the dairy farmer to invest in higher nutrient grass for her cows.  Which produces a richer milk.  Which creates a more delicious ice cream. Which gives the knitter a better memory with his family.  Which spawns more creativity, giving him new ideas for knitting projects.  Like the Yoda hat you’ll buy from him next year for your daughter’s Halloween costume.

It’s easy to think selfishly as an excuse for individualistic living.  But what we don’t realize when we live this way is that we are actually harming ourselves.  Humans are meant to live in community, investing in each other, contributing to greater ideas and dreams ultimately resulting in a better world.  And its that last part that I cannot emphasize enough.

Every time somebody purchases a bag of our handmade tea blends, they contribute to the following:

  • Shiloh taking Clarity on rides on the carousel, hearing her laughter echo throughout the mall
  • Our purchasing a wider variety of herbs that we have used to create our new pregnancy blends and soon-to-be-released Mint Chocolate Truffle holiday blend
  • Buying myself a new pair of slippers to keep my feet warm this winter, finally enabling me to throw out my years old, hole-y ones
  • Creating jobs as we hire friends to help us, thus boosting the economy in a very direct way

We’ve been at events at which a vendor has taken a huge risk investing an incredible amount of time and money to be there.  Desperate to make ends meet for his family with his dream, he fakes a smile with each passerby that doesn’t even glance at his product.  We’ve seen these vendors, these craftsmen, these dreamers leave these events empty-handed.   And it breaks my heart.

And I believe that anyone else who could see their face as they pack up having nothing to show for their very hard work would also be heartbroken.  These are the faces that I remember when I spend a little more time, money, and effort to purchase from small businesses.  The faces that I remember when I pass the coffee shop and even the coffee truck to buy my cup from a guy with a tent and a table.  The faces that I remember when I’m up all night preparing for a market in the morning.  And these are the faces that I hope you’ll remember as you purchase meaningful gifts this Christmas.

‘Tis the season to invest in big dreams.  Buy small.

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