How are small businesses changing the face of retail?

Do you shop at small businesses? If so, how often? I attended an online webinar, hosted by twins Daisy and Liv who run A South London Makers Market together. They spoke about how small brands are changing the face of retail.

Daisy and Liv have a mission to give power to small businesses by connecting them directly to audiences all around the world. They also want to show how talented creators are, encouraging people to change their shopping habits to include more indepependent businesses. This further encourages people to act more sustainably in their lifestyle.

The main reasons why small businesses are changing the face of retail:

In the online webinar, Daisy and Liv both spoke about how they have seen a shift over the last year in the way we all shop. 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of people’s attitudes to life. This includes thinking more about where we shop and give back to, encouraging people to choose smaller brands. Everyone has witnessed independent businesses being forced to shut down due to the pandemic so over the last year it is obvious we are all trying to help as much as we can. More people are looking on websites such as Depop, Etsy and Instagram to find small brands with the most amazing talent. And there are small brands for everything! Fashion, interior, gifts; the list goes on.

Luxury brands was another big topic in the webinar. Daisy and Liv spoke about how when asking people what they thought about luxury brands such as Gucci and Chanel they received a huge mix of answers. Some people said these brands were deluxe and lavish while others said they were inaccessible, costly and out of date. This just shows how people’s attitudes are changing and small businesses are overtaking big-name brands. The girls also discussed how shopper’s perception of the word ‘luxury’ has been altered. Our focus has been shifted back onto craftsmanship, quality fabrics, ethical production, true exclusivity, sustainability, privacy and customisation. This is instead of buying a product because of the brand name attached to it. It seems people are more evaluative about the products they are buying nowadays rather than the brand they are coming from.

What benefits do you receive by shopping at independent brands?

Shopping independently can have a lot of positive benefits for you as the buyer, and for the brand owner. Firstly, you are contributing massively to your local economy and community as you are helping that brand grow bigger and expand. After the year of the pandemic, small businesses definitely need all the help they can get as well. The products you receive from small businesses are likely to be made with extreme care and thought, something which mainstream businesses lack. As a buyer, you can guarantee you will receive better customer service from a local business and more personal interaction. Another benefit is most products from small businesses are more sustainable. This contributes to helping the environment and issues such as fast fashion. Lastly, products from local businesses are unique, holding more character.

So next time you are considering whether to choose a big brand or shop locally, make the decision to support small businesses. Not only will you receive an amazing product from a talented creator, you are massively helping both the environment and the economy. What’s not to love?

A big thankyou to Daisy & Liv for hosting a very informative webinar.

By Charlotte Brooks