Power to the Small Business

As you may well know last Saturday was both Small Business Saturday and Colour Saturday, the latter being a whole new celebration thought up by my mother-ship notonthehighstreet.com to celebrate the colour that small businesses bring to Christmas with their inspiring products.

Whatever you want to call it, Saturday was the day to celebrate small and independent businesses by showing our support and splashing some cash on the wonderful things they create. In my little house it was pretty flat out with boring business things but I did managed to squeeze in a few minutes of contemplation whilst drinking my tea and eating my Colour Saturday biscuit (NOTHS sent me a box of goodies to help me celebrate with them...it was ace!)

Colour Saturday Box NOTHS

I'm honored to be part of the Small Business Club, I really am. Until I stepped into it myself and met other people and started conversations, I realized I'd never quite appreciated what a great club it is and how hard everyone in it fights on a daily basis. Fights to stay afloat, fights to not pay the damn refund fee, fights to get customers parcels out in time, fights with the printer at 2am when it decided not to print, fights with the packaging and boxes that take over their houses (I can't tell you how many times I've tripped over flat pack boxes!) all so that they can bring us beautiful, imaginative, thoughtful products. When you put it like that it's a miracle anyone can bear to run a small business but like I've said before, a picnic it is not.

Of course it's not all bad!! There's hard days no matter what you do. Anyway, before this turns into a pity party, I'll try to get my point across; Small Businesses are great. They are made up of individuals and small groups of people who work from their dining tables, sheds, lofts, front rooms, spare rooms and occasionally fully functioning studios (what bliss!), to bring us inventive, colourful, creative, fun, exciting, original, unique, interesting and quality products.

Yes this may cost a bit more than that plastic tat you can buy from large corporations shipped in from China but is it not worth it to buy something that someone has put their heart and sole into? Something that someone has created just for you? They have picked up their tools, be them a scalpel, a needle, a press, a paintbrush, a pair of knitting needles, a mound of clay or a ..whatever it is that jewellers use so cleverly, just to make YOU something. With locally sourced materials, supporting the local and national economy and supplying us with something stupendously wonderful? ...I think so!

Lauren Aston Colour Saturday

So on Saturday, whilst scoffing my face I was thinking about how very lucky I am to be one of these small creative businesses. I get to do what I love day in and day out - and granted it's not always a walk in the park, it's the hardest i've ever worked in my life and the most stressed i've ever felt but occasionally, I get to sit down at 2pm on a Tuesday in my lounge and have a cup of tea with a friend then get back to knitting...who wouldn't want to do that?! And the whole time I have this incredible support network made of up friends, family, strangers, twitter followers, random emailers, facebook comments, instagram likes and blog readers that confirm that what i'm doing is somewhere on the right track. And that's not to mention my incredible customers, past present and future. Everyone who sends me pictures of their stockings and throws and cushions and footstools in place in their homes - it's like a huge hug. I can't thank you enough for this.

You have no idea how much it means to me every time you bother to type something out or send a picture or give that double tap or thumbs up. It's something that I can cling onto when i'm in the chilly loft at 3am knitting and watching America's Next Top Model. Something to bear in mind when I'm standing in the queue at the post office that seems to go on for days. Something to remember when people send me an enquiry that says 'do you sell the patterns?' without so much as a howdoyado. Thank you. You are babes and I adore you.

Lauren Aston Mustard Wool

Small businesses are made up of people. It's the fact that they are individuals that brings an intimacy to each order and makes it special that someone has worked hard to create something. As wonderful as it is to have a day to recognize this and bring it to the forefront with party hats and confetti poppers I think it's something that should be noted every day. Every time we place an order. Instead of spending 10 minutes searching to 'find it cheaper' why not spend those 10 minutes reading the original sellers 'about me' page and ask ourselves " Is this someone I want to do business with and support over a corporation who can generate something naffer using slave labor to save me a couple of pounds? " for me, the answer is often 'Yes. Yes it is!'

Support independant

So in conclusion, Small businesses are kicking ass on a daily basis, and our support, whether it be in the form of a positive review, a happy comment or an order, is always so well received and so much appreciated. I'm thrilled to see so many small businesses thriving and I'm making it my goal to support as many as possible - I may not be able to afford to buy from them all, but I sure will give them my time by liking their posts on social media and letting them know how much I love their work. I hope you'll join me in spreading the love.

Oh and one last thing...Thank you, for supporting this small business.

L x