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Why do we need to ask to support friends small businesses?

support friends small businesses

I do Facebook, as they say. It’s a necessary evil of running a small business. For me it helps me maintain a connection between my local friends and my business and has resulted in sales from friends who otherwise might not see what I sell. However, more and more I see posts on Facebook saying things like ‘5 ways to support your friends business without buying anything’ or pleas to ‘support friends small businesses like you support celebrities you don’t actually know’. I’m left wondering why do I need to ask?

Why do we need to ask to support friends small businesses?

I just find it bizarre that ‘we’ feel we need to ‘ask’ friends to support our small businesses.

What is a friend? If I consider myself a friend with someone then surely I want to support them? Why on earth do they need to ask me? I think our society is coming to something very bereft if supporting our friends isn’t just a given.

Perhaps the very same Facebook (or other social media platforms) are responsible? Have they disconnected us so far from ‘community’ that we don’t care or identify with each other any more. Or is that just an excuse for justifying a self-centred existence that just thinks about ourselves, our convenience. Do we resent so much when our friends seemingly give up on the traditional ‘proper job’ to try and make it on their own that we don’t want to support them. Perhaps we want them to fail so that we can feel better about not taking the same leap of faith and giving up all to start our own businesses?

Perhaps it’s none of my business?

My business, if you don’t happen to be a friend who has found this blog post by clicking a link on my Facebook page, is cards and gift wrap. I’m not selling anything wacky. I’m not selling anything unusual, expensive or so exclusive that you’d never want to use it. I sell birthday cards. Everyone has a birthday I’m pretty sure everyone knows someone who has a birthday. So it stands to reason that everyone I know will at some point need to buy a birthday card. I sell gift wrap too. Most people at some point need to wrap a present, or put it in a gift bag (I do those too!).

Yet, I know lots of ‘friends’ who never buy a thing from me.

I do need to add here that I have LOTS of friends who do buy from me and without them I’d have given up my small business years ago. I’m not ungrateful and this isn’t a post to beg the friends who don’t support me to buy.

I’d like to beg, if I thought it would do any good. I’d really like to tell you how hard my family is finding things. I gave up my ‘career’ to look after my children full time and my husband has just gone part time in his ‘proper job’ to try and make it as a writer. Oh we’re struggling but it’s our choice to be where we are. We didn’t think it would be easy. We have asked for help with little things but only sometimes do people listen. A good example is when a friend reads one of my husband’s books, we ask them to leave a review on Amazon. Just to click the stars, not even to write anything but only a small minority of people have. That small act can make a huge difference to a writer. If everyone left a review it would help enormously.

All the posts on Facebook are true. Liking, commenting, sharing friend’s posts does help a small business. But for flip’s sake it’s not half as helpful as actually buying the stuff!

But your choices are none of my business.

Is it too much to ask?

I’m not going to ask you to buy anything from my shop. I suspect I’ve already lost a few ‘fans’ just by writing this post. Perhaps I am just too disconnected from my friends. I’m probably too busy myself to really understand what they need, why should it be any different them to me.

Instead I’m going to look up a few friends I know who have small businesses and give them some support over the next few days.

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Just A Card

Just a Card

I took the Just a Card 5 day social media challenge and shared what Just a Card means to me and my business.

I’m Janet and this is my wee independent biz, Cards and Gift Wrap.

Day 1 My Story

Cards and Gift Wrap started because I am a full time mum at home with 4 children, now aged 2 to 12. I seemed in constant need of birthday cards and wrapping paper for the children and their class mates parties. Other friends were in the same position. Always having to go shopping at the last minute for a card and constantly feeling disappointed at what was on offer in the shops but having no other choice. Now they too are wise and keep a stock of my cards because they are nicer, more afforable, better quality and because it’s just so much more convenient than the last minute panic.

I became an Independent Flamingo Partner (formerly Phoenix Trader) in 2012. I fell in love with the bookmarks and then the notecards, then the gift wrap and eventually the whole kaboodle! I’ve expanded my range to include other gift wrap and accessories, including monthly themed subscription box and I now design my own notebooks and have plans to develop that range and others in the future.

I love seeing others grow and encouraging them. One of my children now makes her own cards and runs her own little business as a result of Cards and Gift Wrap. Over 30 other women across the country run their own Flamingo biz in my team and that’s growing monthly. My notebooks are designed to encourage and boost self confidence. These things alone are motivation enough to keep running my business. It’s never ‘just a card’.

That’s kind of me…oh and my husband is a self published author so that also motivated me to build a business that would allow him more time to write and market his business.

Well done if you’ve read this far!

Day 2 What ‘Just a Card’ means to me.

Funny cos what it means to me is the exact opposite.

When you send ‘just a card’ it’s never ‘just’ a card. It’s a smile, it’s a hug in an envelope, it’s an ‘I care’.

When you receive ‘just a card’ it’s never ‘just’ a card. It’s a warm glow inside, it’s a wow someone thought of me, it’s a heart pounding boost.

When you buy ‘just a card’ from me it’s never ‘just’ a card. It’s showing that you appreciate quality design and not the mass produced. It reminds me that it’s worth the effort running my wee biz cos you need it. It supports a family of 4 kids to do what we do, which is spend as much time together as possible.

Here is one of my favourite Flamingo Paperie cards and it’s soooo much more than ‘Just a Card’

Day 3 share the love.

Here are some of the places I get my own cards from and others where I get supplies from.

Meanwhile here’s the tagline that the Greeting Card Association agreed on for the card industry…I think it pretty much sums up what happens when you send ‘just a card’ don’t you?Just a Card

Some of my gift wrap comes from Flamingo Paperie too but most of it comes from Deva Designs, including the ribbons, bows, tissue, gift bags and most of what goes in my monthly subscription box. If you see something in Deva that I don’t have in stock, just ask and I’ll add it to my next delivery from them.

All the colouring in tablecloths now come from Eggnogg, they do some fabulous other products too. My favourite tablecloth is the party one because it has cake on it!

Day 4 What’s new and how do you get hold of my stuff

I have recently added notebooks, designed by me, to my stock. There are new designs in the making all the time. My first one was the So Flamboyant flamboyant

You can browse all my items in my shop. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please just ask.

Day 5 Happy Dance

Every time you buy from a small business a real person does a little happy dance. I am no exception. Even when you buy ‘Just a Card’ from me I do a happy dance. You’ll have to nip over to my Facebook page or Instagram profile to see this one.

So you see really, it’s never Just a Card!