Why we should be supporting B Corp businesses
Ways to do good
READY TO #SHOPHEARTFULLY?
It’s 7:21am on the blur of a Monday morning. A waft of boiled cabbage hits your face as you swiftly open and close a bag containing the seven-year-old’s incubating PE kit. As you abandon it and shove some clean shorts and a t-shirt into their best ‘Sorry Mum’ face, School Gates Lady messages to see whether you’ve gone for the Harry Potter or Horrid Henry costume for World Book Day tomorrow. Your heart hammers out your chest and you reach frantically for the ‘app that shall not be named’.
Certain online businesses have been created to enable us to shop conveniently. A lot of money has been made out of emergency situations such as this — enough to put someone on the moon even. Whether we like to admit it or not, in some instances, they work. And in a handful of situations, they can be quite the lifesaver — especially for women stuck in a triple shift life trying to hold down three jobs at work, home and doing the lion’s share of the invisible labour on top.
But must this consistently be our go-to rather than being the exception? How about feeling inspired, excited, PROUD even of the shopping choices we’re making? Maybe it’s time for us to make a concerted effort to #ShopHeartfully.
Why I’ve coined the phrase
Some call it being eco-conscious, others say it’s ‘conscious consumerism’ but to me, it’s simply to #ShopHeartfully. In an independent survey, Recycling Lives found that four out of five people describe themselves as being likely to choose a brand with a positive approach to sustainability and 90% of us agree that it is vital that society becomes more energy-conscious¹. However, the charity Clothes Aid also reported that 350,000 tonnes — that’s around £140 million worth of used but still wearable clothing — goes into landfill in the UK every year². Just think what we could do with that money!
Similarly, our high streets are floundering, the divide between rich and poor is now practically a gulf and our throw-away culture is far from being thoughtful, creative or like the kind of legacy we’d be happy to leave behind.
So despite these ‘get it in an hour’ warehouse shops potentially having a role in our lives, there’s good reason to believe they should only ever make up the minority of our habits rather than the majority. We know it’s imperative we act against mindless consumption — and not solely because of sustainability either.
Must this consistently be our go-to rather than being the exception? How about feeling inspired, excited, PROUD even of the shopping choices we’re making?
What is shopping heartfully?
Shopping heartfully is an active statement; a political act even to take a stand for the kind of world we want to live in. If you are a person who cares, you’re likely to want to behave in a thoughtful way and give all those in your life finds that are filled with love and carefully chosen or made. You know what they say, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
It’s filling a bag with some handmade chocolates, a loaf baked locally, a posy of fresh flowers even, and dropping it off on the doorstep of a dear friend to cheer them up. That’s the beauty of humans, because we want to show love.
It’s supporting small businesses that pour everything they have into what they produce; giving your custom to them because you believe in people working hard to put food on the table and doing it their way.
It’s waiting for your orders when you can, because you know it’ll be worth it. It shows that overall we care about more than time and money. And speaking of which…
Shopping heartfully is an active statement; a political act even to take a stand for the kind of world we want to live in.
Why we should all vote with our money
Did you know that small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy, with SMEs making up 99.9% of all private sector businesses in the UK?. Employment in small businesses was 12.9 million, with a turnover of £1.6 trillion in 2021³. They also bring a wealth of creativity and originality, and prevent our home towns becoming clone towns.
Voting with our money is even a feminist act, depending on who you choose to support, because precious few (if any) of the top name convenience brands are owned by women. By supporting small, you’re helping mums (and dads) work more flexible hours, fit their jobs around their children and show the next generation that people don’t always have to be away from their families for long hours undertaking occupations they don’t like. Especially as unemployment is at an all time high, university is fast becoming the preserve of the rich and over 20 million Brits have said that they would love to start their own business one day⁴.
So how can we #ShopHeartfully?
There are lots of ways to shop heartfully and the difference it can make is monumental. Here are some of them…
Support small businesses
Whether it’s on our local high streets or online, the number one way you can #ShopHeartfully is to support small. In a survey we commissioned in 2021, 90% of people said they wanted to support the independents but weren’t sure where to find them. So we created a whole Directory of winners from our Independent Awards, and I’ve been busy pulling together my carefully curated collections of ‘Holly loves… ‘ small business finds to help address this, too.
One of the things I love about independent businesses is that they often go the extra mile, whether that’s popping a handwritten note in with orders, making sure something is beautifully wrapped for you or taking commissions to make things just the way you want them. So what’s the loveliest thing you can say in return? What would help another customer to really see the benefit? Who else could you let know? Reviews help businesses get discovered, 90% of customers say that what they decide to buy is influenced by positive online reviews, and 94% of people use a business with at least four stars⁵. Letting others know what you think is part and parcel of shopping heartfully. If it helps us, shouldn’t we pass on the good karma to others, too?
Did you know that small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy, with SMEs making up 99.9% of all private sector businesses in the UK?³
Small businesses aren’t faceless organisations but often in my experience, simply friends you’ve yet to meet. So let them know you thought their coffee was incredible or you loved their last Instagram post. They’re people who have worked so hard to create a brand around their customers, so will relish the chance to do more for you if you let them. It can only result in a better experience for you and everyone else when you shop. And if you like them, let others know about them, too. Share their story and introduce them. There are real humans behind these shopfronts; folks with crazy lives and kids who need collecting from school and parents to care for. Spreading smiles matters. That’s how communities flourish.
Buy once and buy well
Shopping heartfully is also about reducing waste and putting thought into the things we buy when we can. It’s remembering that it can be better to choose items that are beautifully crafted, and made with love, using intelligently sourced materials; heirlooms that can be re-used, handed down or passed on, to give them longevity. It’s about really thinking about who you’re shopping for and using their love language to find something they’ll cherish and hold onto.
There are real humans behind these shopfronts; folks with crazy lives and kids who need collecting from school and parents to care for. Spreading smiles matters. That’s how communities flourish.
This means supporting female founders, Black businesses, shops in your local area — doing what you can to help level the playing field and redistribute the wealth more fairly among our communities. Especially as certain start-ups are often far less likely to be able to access funding and will have to work a great deal harder to stay open. If you fundamentally believe this is unjust, the power is in your hands to help change it and I cannot say that clearly enough.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this in the comments below. If you believe in shopping heartfully, please do support small businesses and furthermore, please share this article so we can encourage others to do so, too. Meanwhile, good luck with whatever minor emergency life throws your way! If it happens to be a gift you’re after, take a look at my collections for friends, little ones or lifting sad hearts.