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It’s Episode 190, which means it’s time for another solo episode! When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for this episode, I was talking to my husband about how surreal this time is that we’re in right now while we’re social distancing all over the world. I’ve been taking social media Sabbaths on the weekends from Friday night until Monday morning, and it has been so good for my soul. Limiting my news intake has been life-giving for my mental health and my family’s mental health. I realize that there is a privilege to be able to do that, and it may not be the reality for so many people, so I want to be very intentional about using it to bring glory God and to uplift others. While I realize we could have whole podcast series about to support people during this time, I am in a unique position to speak to you about the specific challenges these brands are facing and highlighting ways to collectively support them. While I will be speaking on topics that require a certain amount of monetary investment, I also realize that money is tight for a lot of people right now, and I’ve also included ways to support that are completely free.
It might feel like you can wait to support these small businesses when things get back to normal. But truly, right now is the time to support these businesses so that they are still here and thriving when we make it through this season. Just a few of the things that they’re facing right now are that all conferences, expos, markets, and speaking engagements have been canceled or postponed. That means these ethical businesses are experiencing less exposure and fewer sales. Small shops are closed, so wholesale has come to a halt, and trips to visit artisan partners have been canceled, which means there are no new products to offer or promote. Additionally, artisan partners have had to cut back on production, but the businesses here are still trying to pay them so that they can continue to eat and provide for their families.
There’s such a hard balance for feeling guilty for trying to sale products, but that’s exactly what they rely on in order to continue supporting their artisan partners. The entire country of India, and many don’t have money in savings or credit cards to continue buying food and supplies for their most basic needs. It’s a life or death situation for so many people, completely unrelated to the fear of catching the virus.
There is hope, especially when we come together to support each other and continue to make big change happen to help these businesses not only continue in this season, but continue to thrive in this season.
7:56 – I’m going to start by sharing six ways you can support ethical, fair trade, and small businesses during COVID-19 that are completely free:
- Follow them on social media
- Engage with their content. Every engagement is the opportunity to get more eyes on their products that are changing the world:
- Sign up for their newsletter
- Like their posts
- Comment on their posts
- Share their posts
- If you already own products from a small, fair trade, or ethical business that you love, post pictures of yourself using or wearing those products and tag them online. Think of a friend who might also like that product and might have the funds to buy it right now.
- Recommend small businesses, ethical, or fair-trade businesses to friends when they’re looking for suggestions for certain things.
- Get involved with Fashion Revolution Week (happening this week)! Fashion Revolution Week 2020 is from April 20th – April 26th. You can go to http://fashionrevolution.org/to learn more. You’ll hear conversations from people all over the world about who makes our clothes, how to help the ethical fashion industry, how to stop things like fast fashion, environmental sustainability and more. You can also get involved with Fashion Revolution throughout the year!
- Be patient. Patience is key, as is grace. There’s a lot that’s delayed with backorder delays, shipping delays, and shipping pauses. Everyone is experiencing these challenges, so please give businesses some grace and understanding, they’re doing their best to fulfill orders and there is so much that is out of their control.
11:32 – If you have the means to purchase products to support ethical fashion, fair trade, and small businesses, be thoughtful about it.
- Is this item that you want or need something you can buy from a small or ethical business right now? Even Amazon is behind, so being able to wait a few more days for something from a small, ethical business makes a huge difference.
If you need gifts, The Flourish Market has fantastic $30 gift bundles for anyone you need a gift for: kids, Mother’s Day, teachers, friends, etc.
You can also reach out to some of your favorite brands to see what they have in stock. Buying what’s already in stock helps them sell current inventory.
13:30 – Gift Cards:
If it’s a company you know you love to buy from, but they may not have something that you want right now, buy a gift cards. Not all businesses are receiving small business loans or stimulus packages.
Shop small and local as much as you can during this season because every single sale means the world to them. Even if it’s just $10.00. It could mean a day’s wage for an artisan overseas or an hour for a worker in the US. Your purchases really do make an impact.
As a small business owner, there are ways I’d appreciate your free support as well! You can share this podcast, rating and reviewing it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen, is a free way to support me at this time. Since I’m a Sseko Fellow, you can also shop with me at Sseko Designs! Every email, comment, review, likes, shares are each so special to me. Your support and this community mean more than I could ever put in words.
Please reach out if there is something specifically that I can be in prayer about for you. If you’re a business or organization that has a specific need, I’d love to help connect you with so many communities that would love to rally around you at this time. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. I want to love and support you at this time too.
I know each week I usually sign off by saying, “Go do something good with purpose on purpose”, and I still want you to do that, but I’m going to borrow a line from my sweet friend Chidimma Ozor who has been signing off her social media posts with the following: “Stay well, wash your hands, and may we take care of ourselves and one another.”
5:21 – “Right now is the time, if you’re able to, to support these businesses.”
7:42 – ”There is hope, especially when we come together to support each other and continue to make big change happen to help these businesses not only continue in this season, but continue to thrive in this season.”
6:30 – “There’s this extremely difficult balance between feeling guilty for trying to sell products, but also recognizing that it’s important that they do their best to continue supporting their artisans partners during this time.”