It is crazy to me that I can be browsing online for underwear and socks for our son because he’s outgrowing his and then poof there’s boys underwear and socks on my Facebook feed. I sure hope those spys following me don’t think something weird is going on. I promise I’m just a mom of a boy who even at age 9 seems to lose his socks all the time. Why would I want to see boys underwear in my social media news feed anyway? Are marketers that desperate for a sale they have to remind me my son needs new underwear and socks? Why does it feel creepy rather than personal?
Here’s what I find ironic in this situation. On one hand you have a big chain store filling your social media feeds and popping up ads everywhere that you cannot even read an article and we don’t think anything of it. It is entirely likely we’ll go back and shop there later too despite it being downright creepy how they are tracking you online and knowing what you are needing or wanting to look at. Then on the other hand we have a friend selling a product that is the same kind of product, probably better quality too, but we consider them annoying and desperate in trying to sell it to you; even though it too is something we need and are interested in.
Why do we do that?
We can’t say it’s more expensive because in most cases that I’ve seen that’s not true anymore. We also can’t say quality is better because that is really not true. Look seriously I have Tupperware that is at least 20 years old now and no plastic ware I’ve bought at any big box store has held up like that. So if it’s not cost and quality what is it?
We are sold to constantly by marketers of major corporations every day all day long. Yet it is our friends who suffer because we won’t give them 5 minutes to tell us what they have to offer. We call them desperate and avoid them. We even say they are annoying all because they sell products. Here’s the real deal, the store you buy stuff from is also in direct marketing sales. They didn’t personally make that plastic wrapped item in your cart. They are getting a cut of the profit and sending the rest to multiple other places. Yet we say our friends who sell in direct marketing sales are part of a pyramid scheme and scam. I’ve never understood that logic.
All of this year due to the shutdowns, economic downturns and hardships so many communities have felt there has been a fresh look at what it means to shop local. More than ever I believe it is important to consider what we can buy from those friends and family members who have a small business, whether it’s on Main Street or online. There really is not anything we can buy from a big box chain store that we cannot get from a local small business these days at about the same price. There are several differences when we make this shift in where we choose to spend our money:
We’re directly helping families just like our own
We’re putting money back directly into our community and not a big corporations pocket
We’re bringing opportunity and jobs to our own neighborhoods
We’re saying no to mass produced, Made in China products
We’re strengthening our connection to one another
We are helping ourselves most of all
Did you read the last item on the list above? I firmly believe that the person and family helped most is ourselves when we shift how we shop to local and individual based businesses. Here’s why I believe this is true:
We receive incredible service that is unmatched in any big chain store
We get value for our dollar through high quality products
We get exactly what we need versus a mass produced something that everyone else has a copy of
We feel better making a purchase from a small and individual business
I say we feel better because when we make that purchase from a friend who is selling high quality supplements, like me at Dragonspit Apothecary, we can feel we have done something more than just hand over our credit card or some cash. We have paid it forward. We helped another human. We made a difference. We have something we need and want and we helped another person get what they need and want too.
Even your friend’s little direct marketing sales business is a sale that counts on the Small Business side in this example. Your friend is making about 20-30% of all sales and that money supports her family, gets spent in your community and helps other families directly. If you shop a farmers market then that farmer is taking home directly almost 70% of the profit. He still has expenses like feed, packaging and other but as you can see the majority of your money again stays with families you personally interact with on a regular basis.
Given everything that has happened this year, I more than ever appreciate the small business structure. Realizing the impact my dollar has on my community made me realize this is bigger than just choosing a product that is natural. I can expand how I am choosing to live more naturally by expanding how I think about shopping for what I need, who I buy it from and where it is sourced.
I don’t know about you but when I crack an egg I bought from the farmer down the street from me somehow it just tastes better than one I bought at the grocery store. Maybe it doesn’t at all but it makes me feel like I did something good in my day for another person. I also cut out a lot of middlemen who have no business profiting off my breakfast eggs. I put money back in my own neighbors hands. I know he and his family will in turn shop from me the next time they need some essential oils, personal care products and vitamins. This isn’t fancy commerce but it is real commerce that is natural and feels good. So is it just a bottle of shampoo, tube of lipstick or gallon of milk or is it something more?
The next time you need something I invite you to consider the journey your dollar will make when you hand it over for that item. Your friends, farmers, Main Street shops and small businesses also have websites, social media pages, shipping, delivery and some of the warmest connections you will ever make in the purchasing process. There is often the ability and willingness to customize things for your personal needs instead of just picking something pre-packaged and hoping it fits and works for you. Knowing this and the impact your individual dollar has, how can we shop anywhere else?
How will you spend your dollar knowing that?
To learn more about Dragonspit Apothecary, including our custom baby quilts, natural products and learning resources check out our website and social media! dragonspitapothecary.com