My wife’s favourite thing to do is ride our bikes over to local farmers’ markets, art markets or other such community gatherings. She lights up as she cruises along the white tents filled with food, gifts and art.
We gather our beautiful artisan goodies and cycle home…
There is something so wonderful about shopping local and with small businesses. I love knowing that my purchases are made or grown with love; that there is a smaller footprint on the planet because we invested back into the local market, and that I am supporting other entrepreneurs who are in the same boat as I am.
And Canada agrees with me.
Interestingly, I am not alone! The latest RBC poll from September 18th, shows that the majority of Canadians (57%) like to shop local, even if it means they are paying more for their product or service. This percentage goes up to 63% when we are looking at millennials, and the millennials take it a step further! 75% say they support local businesses by promoting them on social media. Social media channels are also where 66% of millennials engage with small businesses.
OK, so we can all agree that we love small businesses, however, consumers find the lack of payment options typically offered by local entrepreneurs or small businesses as the largest reason why they are not spending more money with them! Almost 70% of Canadians say that they would spend more at small/local businesses if they could use something more than cash. Even more consumers said that they would increase spending with these businesses if they could do tap to pay or mobile payment options like Apple Pay and Android Pay.
What does this mean for you as a small business owner?
Well, your business will be serving the millennial markets so understanding how they spend their money is really important. They are looking to shop independent and/or local. They want active social media channels where they can check reviews, ask questions, rave about products, and share their experiences about your business. They also want to be able to pay conveniently, especially if your products are over $25 (cash is cool up to that point).
Top 5 Family & Baby Products
Ok, now back to the markets. As we are getting close to the end of the summer (*sniff, sniff*), Alana and I have been upping our attendance rates for the local markets and we have collected our top 5 family and baby products that we have seen in our ‘hood. Great news!! They all have online shops so you can browse, shop and support even though you missed the markets.
Our first favourite is a2d Designs which makes amazing modern nursery art with a traditional Japanese influence. Owner, Danielle Lewis, has a background in graphic design and has niched her talents in her custom wall art, mobiles, greeting cards and family trees.
Recently, she joined forces with siima – Needle & Thread Creations and together they have released a line of baby hats, blankets & teethers that are flippin’ stunning. Every little detail put into this line is incredible. Even the buttery soft leather tags communicate that the most care and consideration went into these beautiful creations.
Our second shout out goes to siima. An awesome brand in its own right. Owner, Sona Metcalfe, makes whimsical children’s clothes and custom garments like her awesome drop crotch leggings and matching headbands. Every piece is made with love and if her shop doesn’t have what you are looking for, she will make whatever you are looking for custom for the little one(s) in your life!
We could not get enough of the soft shoes and little monsters made by CGMonsters. We seriously stood in this booth for 15 minutes just gushing over all the textiles used to make these flexible and durable shoes and booties. Then when you move over to the monsters, you cannot help but grin like a dope at their cute faces and button eyes. Full confession, I am a closet textile hoarder and this stuff hit the spot for beautiful fabrics!
After we visited the Puddle & Jump booth, we walked away with a beautiful painting for our gallery wall. These sister-in-laws, Amy & Monica who co-own the biz, moonlight as crafters. By day they are a lawyer and graphic designer and by night they make beautiful bibs, watercolour nursery art, and cross stitch, just to name a few. They are funny as heck and talented beyond belief and our wall looks even happier and brighter with our original paddle piece on it.
Our fifth pick is McGuire Naturals and owner Shelagh has been making small batch natural organic home and body products for 15 years. We picked up some cleaning products and hair treatment and have to report that the stain remover stick was awesome. We loved the subtle essential oil smell of everything, and we are not a household that loves smells very much! Her website is easy to use and set up for some serious online shopping!
Ok, I know I said top five, and it is not really for little ones, but it was my birthday when I went to the DECA Arts Market this last weekend, so I could not help getting my annual pick-it-out-and-my-wife-buys-it prezzie. And I fell in love with my red headed girl Candace painted with love by AliStration. She makes me smile and looks beautiful in my office.
I strongly encourage you to check out these wonderful small businesses as well as what is happening locally in your community. If you are working on growing your own small business, make sure that you have a social media presence that you maintain daily (like Facebook and Instagram) and that you can accept multiple forms of payment!
Bianca Sprague is a birth doula, lactation educator, childbirth educator and business consultant. She and her partner, Alana, are the moms to their 10 year old daughter, Gray. Bianca is the CEO and co-founder of bebo mia inc. and Baby & Me Fitness.
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