Yesterday was rough. Ripe with confusion and chaos, news stations across the United States proclaim "America Shuts Down." Disneyland closes. The stock market plunges. People too afraid to leave their houses, secretly horde toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Conspiracy theories abound amidst everyday conversations. Friends of friends diagnosed with that dreaded thing we hope to not contract. It's almost like living in a dream, or rather some dystopian nightmare from which we can't seem to wake. Is this real? Is this even happening?
But sadly, yes. It's real. Very real. This is quite the time to be alive. Never in my forty years (yes, I'm THAT old) have I witnessed such confusion, emotional fraught, and uncertainty. Even worse, amidst all of this, there's something else coming to light. I've been watching it slowly creep out of the fog these past few weeks. Things that may have been hidden behind a seemingly roaring economy. And it's this:
SOME SMALL BUSINESSES WILL DROWN AS A RESULT OF THE TURMOIL.
As frightening as it is to say this, I don't feel it's far from our reality.
Now, will the market correct?
It always does.
But that takes time. Many small businesses don't have the luxury of time. They survive on a measly margin and rarely even pay themselves what they ought to. It can be a very challenging way of life, to put it sweetly.
To prove my point, on a personal note, it has been an exceptionally slow month for me and my business. Shops that owe me money from months ago, have been lagging. Customers aren't purchasing with the vigor of years previous. My business bank account has been stalled and slowly declining over the past few weeks. And I'm certainly not alone. Reading through Etsy forums are masses of individuals complaining about how stagnant business has become. Restaurateurs are losing money hand over fist due to dwindling customers and the sheer number of people choosing to eat in. Small local brick and mortars spend hours watching an empty store, waiting patiently for that little bell on the door to ring.
I posted in my Instagram story recently that I believe some of this can be repaired before it becomes too damaged. Even if you don't have money. Even if you don't want to leave the house. There are ways to support your favorite small brands and businesses that require very little effort. Below I've listed a few just to get us started:
But whatever you choose to do, this all revolves around getting involved. Here's the thing: Amazon and Costco, well, they're gonna be okay. Your favorite local eatery? Maybe not. Your friend who makes candles as her side hustle? Maybe not. Your sister that cuts and styles hair? Maybe not. Don't we want to show our community we can do this? That we can bond together to make this long and treacherous haul together? I think we do. This is how we start.
Have ideas not listed? Please share in the comments below!
Written by Meghan Wright, owner of Figs and Feathers Farm