In an increasingly corporate, regulated and money-centric world it is getting harder and harder for small, independent businesses to make a mark. But it is perhaps one of the most reassuring idiosyncrasies of the UK that we produce such a wealth of pioneering people, groups and movements that all work together in a network of communal spirit to keep the little man, or woman, alive.
Going back through history you will always find evidence of individuals working hard to make the most of one idea, using entrepreneurial endeavour to make a splash and flying by the seat of their pants as they try to keep their head above water. This is the true spirit of independent businesses, and it remains the case today, as inspiring people use all their limited resources to compete against the high street giants and multi-national behemoths.
The struggle for independent businesses
At Dom & Geri we know all about the struggle to get your name noticed and to compete as a small fish in a big pond; the nature of our business means we have embraced the digital age and all the possibilities that allows us, but it doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the struggle of the small businesses who operate with the same kind of budgets and financial pressures we do, but exist in a traditional bricks and mortar environment and have to physically attract people off the street. And that’s why we are supporting the new ‘Just A Card’ initiative to help small independent businesses everywhere.
Every small business is working to the same fundamental principle of offering their wares to a certain market and then working to attract that market. As a result, whether that market is online, on the high street or on a little cobbled backstreet deep inside one of the UK’s quaint and characteristic tourist hotspots, the network of small independent businesses have always supported each other because there is a mutual appreciation of the sheer hard work, nervous energy and calculated gamble required to succeed.
‘Just A Card’ is a movement aimed at supporting small creative businesses and championing their pioneering spirit, the inspiring talent there is in this country and what they contribute to the tourist industry and the infrastructure of local economies. The idea started when artist & designer Sarah Hamilton saw the quote "If everyone who'd complimented our beautiful gallery had bought 'just a card' we'd still be open" by a store keeper who had recently been forced to close their gallery.
What is the ‘Just A Card’ campaign?
The campaign is really a call to arms to show people that buying ‘anything’ in a small shop or stall is a major contribution, when such organisations are faced with tiny profit margins and a lot of expenses to cover before they even begin to see some money for themselves. Many people think that spending only a small amount is deemed as miserly, but anyone that has stood on a market stall or in a small shop knows what a great fillip any sale can give you, however big or small.
So the campaign aims to encourage people to buy from designers, artists, craftspeople and independent galleries and shops, by reinforcing the message that all purchases, however small, even 'just a card', are the lifeblood of small businesses and are vital to their prosperity and survival.
This is a campaign largely being held on social media but will culminate with ‘Just A Card’ day on September 28th when it is hoped as many people as possible will go and seek out their favourite independent shops and experience the industry, love and personal touch that you so often never get in a large department store.