Why shopping small is so important this holiday season

Posted by Taylor Barkin on

Shopping small for the holidays has never mattered more than it does right now.

Whether people share it or not, this year has been hard on every small business. Our community has panicked, we’ve questioned if we’d survive and we’ve had to fight in ways we never thought we would. The ones that are still standing are undeniably on the verge of burning out. Many of us won’t back down but we all still need support from you, especially going into the holiday season.

We always preach shopping small but this year matters more than any in our lifetime. Our lives as small business owners depend on it. Jeff Bezos is beyond rich enough so PLEASE make the conscious effort to shop small. If you don’t, so many of your favorite businesses are going to fold whether they have expressed it or not. We’re all hanging on by a thread and need your support to get through it. 

To be blunt, this year has been hell on small businesses.

I always preach shopping small because not only is our entire life devoted to our small business, but most of our friends are small business owners too. The community, craft, innovation, uniqueness and so much more are huge parts of our society that we need. We don't need another Amazon, we need to keep neighborhoods full of vibrant restaurants and shops run by people who put their all into what they do. But, I'm telling you right now that if they haven't folded already, they could very well be on the brink. Even if they have been able to survive financially, I can assure you that this year has taken a large mental toll and at some point, if we start to lose support, a lot of businesses might just have to call it and move on.

You can make Jeff Bezos of Amazon richer, and richer or you can make the decision to put your dollars where it truly matters-with small business.

Here we are, gearing up for what is typically the busiest season of the year and you have the option of how to buy gifts this year. If you don't choose to shop small and encourage others to do the same, we can't sit here surprised and devastated when your favorite shop folds next year because this Q4 wasn't enough to get them through it.


Just when things were feeling bright and busy again, we got knocked down. About a week ago Denver went into a phase 3 shutdown which is essentially just one step above lockdown. We started to see the same consumer panic that we did in March with our retailers. The difference? This time is worse because it's the second time we're all going through this after fighting all year long and it's right before our busiest time of the year, Q4. When phase 3 went into effect a week ago, we had over $10k in outstanding orders get cut in the matter of a few days because our shops couldn't risk buying, only to get fully shut down in prime buying season.Y es, we had already bought all of the supplies for these orders and started making them. In a normal world, there wouldn't be a question about whether they should get those orders in or not. 

Q4 is normally where we do 50% of our business for the year, yep 50% of it.

We spend all year gearing up for our 5 week sprint of dividing up a team to run events across the country, we work tirelessly through the day to stock our thriving retailers that also do most of their business in Q4, we spend the entire month of October making hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of products to be ready for the holidays. It's a rush, it's fun and we typically know we're going to crush it no matter what.

This year is different and mildly frightening.

We need it to account for 50% of our revenue but we don't know if that will happen. Of course we're going to fight and do all that we can but at the end of the day, we just don't know-and it's dependent on consumer choices. We can't assemble our team to be at events every weekend, because they aren't happening and for the ones that are, we morally feel wrong participating. We don't know how our retailers will fair and we can tell that they are cautiously spending because of that mentality. Lastly, I can't preplan much of any production (which I normally CRUSH to the T) because I have no idea what Q4 will bring. Can I do my best? Yeah. But do I truly know what is going to happen? NOPE.

In true 2020 fashion, we've stuck to the Moto: Pivot or die.

Our business is our entire life. When I say we, it's Tanner and I, a husband and wife run team. If our business couldn't make it through this chapter, not only would we be in a really hard place financially but our spirits would be crushed and that would be the most heartbreaking of all. To know that everything we worked to smartly build for a solid decade could be gone because of reasons out of our control, would kill all spirits. So, we've had no choice but to pivot time and time again this year to make it out of this okay. It's been so freaking exhausting but we're still here and ready to keep fighting. Just like the rest of the year, we've put our all into thinking about how we can pivot to make the holidays as successful as they can be while living in a world we've never navigated before.

We wanted to get creative and make it really easy for our customers to support our small business. Here's what we've decided to do for the holiday season:

  1. Offer in person shopping by appointment. We had to shut down our retail section of our shop in March and tore down most of our shop because we didn't know if we'd even make it out of this alive. But we are here! So, we are going to thoughtfully set our shop back up and offer appointment only shopping so that our customers know that the experience will be safe. This will be the first time in 2020 that people can shop with us in person which is very strange considering we normally see people daily. We miss our humans and want to safely connect! We miss everyone so much so we will be providing a swag bag for all in person shoppers. Book an appointment here!

  2. Offer in shop customer pickup for local Denver area people. Want to shop from your couch but want to save on shipping and guarantee that your items get in your hands? Boom.

  3. Offer local Denver area delivery. We love the USPS and we want to support them as much as we can but the reality is that they have had a ton of trouble this year. We have had to reissue hundreds of packages (think about that hit on a small business) because they never made it (also like what does this black hole look like with all of the lost packages?). We wanted to come up with a way to guarantee the delivery to your doorstep without leaving your house. Our web shop provider recently added a feature to offer delivery and optimize the routes on our end so that we can quickly and efficiently personally deliver your goods. No lost or damaged packages! Oh, and we'll deliver it in a reusable tote. Win.

  4. Offer corporate gifting to gift our products to your team. For many years we've thought about how much we'd like to be a part of offering gifts to your team of hard working employees or clients but with all changes this year has brought, we decided to actually implement this program this year. We wanted to offer different price points, different packaging options and the option to gift small or large teams. We've moved volume for years with our retail partners and are excited to be a part of making your employee or clients holiday special. To be honest, they don't want another nut and cheese basket so why not partner with us, as a small business crafting our products by hand to make them feel special this year with something they will actually love? Find out more about it here

  5. Always open online. We're ready to make and fill all orders that come through. When we shut down back in March, our only saving grace was to watch orders come through online and safely fulfill them. You can shop whenever it's convenient for you and we'll ship it to your door. Sad you won't see as many people this year for the holidays? You can shop from our site, add a note and get your package wrapped and delivered to your friends and family. Easy, fun and you just supported a small business!

  6. Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM). Get your wishlists ready, we've got the best deals of the year hitting 11/27-12/30.

We've had to make the sad decision to opt out of all events.

Events were such a solid constant in our business almost every weekend for years. Holidays were extra insane. Last year my sole job was to be our runner for events where we would have people set up all over the place and I would be in charge of assisting with setting up, tearing down, running restocks, offering breaks and support etc. Then we had Tanner doing our nation wide travel. He'd go set up in different cities while I offered support back home. I'd prep all of his products based on the market and size, load up his car when he'd quickly return and send him on his way to hustle at the next.  I mean they were insane and a huge part of our growth last year-so to be going into Q4 without that genuinely feels like something is missing and it's really sad for us. We love our community so much. We have the option to be at events because some are still going on but no amount of money is worth risking my health, Tanner's health, our teams health and even our communities health to make a buck. This was a hard, but necessary decision we had to make but an important one.

Other things to remember:

  1. Shop early & be patient with delays. I say this for a few reasons. One, there will be mail delays. For the first time ever, we are not guaranteeing any delivery dates because we can't control something that we don't have power over. Q4 is a lot on shipping carriers as it is but we have spent a ton of time speaking with our favorite mail humans and they are still playing catch up from our initial round of outbreaks because everything got disrupted. Second, like I mentioned before, we normally put all of our money into product prep in October but now we have to make most things to order so there are just a few delays on our end. please don't make your last minute shopping panic our fault when we are all trying our best and will be moving as fast as we can. Please shop early to allow ample time for any type of delay.

  2. Remember to treat yourself. This year has been hard on everyone and while I don't say this all the time, some retail therapy with your favorite small businesses can go a long way. I try to understand consumer behavior often and one thing I keep hearing is how much money people have saved not traveling or going out as much. Whether it's coffee from your favorite coffee shop, a to-go margarita from your favorite local cantina, a set of candles to find comfort in your home, we encourage you to find the things that you can get from a local business that you would be buying for yourself anyway.

  3. Send some kind words to your favorite small business. Trust me, a little bit of kindness goes a LONG way. We've been greeted with a lot of impatience this year which has been a bummer but we've also been greeted with some great kindness (Debbie, we see you). One morning I woke up to the kindest note from one of our customers and it truly made my week and made me sit there and say "this is what's kept us going." Be like Debbie and let them know you care.

Please shop small, please shop early because there will be delays. Please show grace when things don’t go as planned because a lot of things are almost impossible to control. We need you and your support. Not just with your dollars but with your kind words and grace. You don't need to buy from us, though we think that would be neat-but please consciously make the effort to buy from your favorite small brands and encourage your people to do the same.


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