October is Women's Small Business Month - Shop Small, Woman Owned and Fair Trade
October is Fair Trade month and it is also National Women’s Small Business Month. This being the last blog post of the month I thought I’d take the time to share the importance of shopping small, fair trade and women owned especially during these times.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), there are 9.9 million women-owned small businesses in the U.S., according to the SBA data. On some of the most important metrics – business starts, revenue growth, job creation, and the number of years in business – women entrepreneurs have either achieved parity or surpassed businesses owned by men. A 2019 report shows that 21% of employer businesses have majority female ownership, employing 9.4 million workers and amassing $1.5 trillion in total annual receipts.
Another interesting statistic shows that In 1972, women only owned 4.6% of all businesses in the United States. As of 2019, women owned 42% of all businesses.
Statistics aside, women owned businesses are not only a large percentage of businesses today, that percentage is growing. Shopping small and women owned is important to boost the economy and keep businesses sustainable during these times.
In Fair Trade we highlight the importance of knowing who makes your products. Fair Trade gives transparency into the supply chain process, especially if the organization has been verified or certified by an organization such as the Fair Trade Federation or Fair Trade USA.
Everyone knows that ordering from big box stores or other online sites is fast and requires limited thought. You need something, you go to your Amazon App, Wal-Mart App or whatever stores you are buying from, search the product and click and buy. Fast, easy, simple. People can do that on their phone in less than 30 seconds.
Being intentional about some of your purchases requires some additional effort. We are in such a microwave quick serve society that we want everything, fast, easy and as thoughtless as possible.
I buy pet food and supplies for my cats every month. I go to a certain website and order online. It’s quick, easy and ships within a day. Recently, a local pet store sent an email with a discount to bring in business. It’s easy for me to order from the big box online pet food supplier but I need to set an intention to go to the pet store and buy from them. Given the fact that many small businesses are going under at a rapid pace, I have decided to support the small business even though it’s a little inconvenient.
Small businesses are at the greatest risk of failing right now because of being shut down due to COVID. In California where I live, many of them are unable to open or limited in how many customers they can have because of the extreme restrictions put on by the state.
In some counties, indoor seating is allowed at restaurants with limitations, but others, only outdoor seating is allowed. In order to stay open, many had to create outdoor spaces but it’s still not quite to capacity for many. I make it a point to support at least 1 small business restaurant a week and I tip the server or driver if it’s ordered online because they need support too.
Where I get my hair done can only have so many clients in the salon at a time. Each stylist can only have 1 client at a time instead of being able to work in more than 1 at a time. This limited capacity has affected the business owner and the stylists in the shop because their hours are limited and their income is reduced because of the restrictions on clients.
I buy some of my clothing from a woman owned boutique in Newport Beach CA called Tropez Boutique. I have been a customer for years but COVID has put a severe strain on her business and many businesses like hers. With everyone being stuck at home for so long, many of us weren’t thinking of getting more clothing. I stopped by this week and picked up a couple of pieces, not because I needed anything but because I wanted to support her business.
While you may make quick purchases for many of your thing, please consider setting an intention to shop small with a woman owned business. The holidays are coming up and if you are going to give a gift, give a gift that you know where that gift came from. Give a gift that has meaning behind who made the product or where it came from.
Baskets and Beads is a woman owned, veteran owned small business and we support and work with over 30 black women owned businesses in Kenya. When you purchase from Baskets and Beads and almost every other Fair Trade business, you are shopping small and you can feel confident that you know the product you purchased was made by someone, who is paid a fair price for their work and there is no forced or child labor involved.
October is Women’s Small Business month but that doesn’t mean this is the only time you should consider shopping with women owned small businesses. Make a conscious effort to seek out those women owned businesses that could use your help to keep them afloat. Maybe that means finding a one off restaurant, clothing store, pet store, gift shop, fair trade shop of any other store for the things you may buy that could be purchased from a woman owned small business with a little effort.
Amazon, Wal-Mart and other big retailers don’t need you as much as the small business in your area does. Shop Small, Shop Woman Owned, Shop Fair Trade.