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Small businesses and Festive favourites...

So it's started!!! I've already had an influx of festive shoppers looking for that something special this Christmas. It's heartening to know that after the year everyone's had people are choosing to shop at small, indie stores and supporting small businesses.

In fact it's more important than ever before that people choose to shop local. The in-person markets, small stockists and fairs have almost, if not all, been stopped dead in their tracks with only a handful opening on the same terms as at the start of the year. Artists, artisans, crafters and makers have found their normal outlets diminished and their need for new stock, understandably, minimal. So online sales and a social media presence has become the main priority for many small businesses. Many an hour has been spent posting and learning about Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok etc. And now they bring out Instagram Reels....oh pass the wine! Online markets like Pedddle and Etsy have had to be creative and consider how artists, who normally sell face-to-face at markets, are now shifting to online markets. They have been the saving grace for many businesses and the camaraderie this year has been something special. Essentially it's like attending a market but you don't have to get out of your PJ's or bed! Makers are on hand to ask questions, there are demonstrations and live events for people to take part in too. All of these small businesses and markets are now heading into the busiest time of the year, so what can you do to shop local and support small businesses.

(Pictured: Sheila's Greengrocers, Rose & Hen, Henshelwoods come to the rescue during 2020)

First and foremost do support them on social media channels. For some it's their only voice right now so follow them, like their posts and drop a comment no matter how short. If anything it just makes them feel they're doing a great job and that they are appreciated. Buy from small businesses, the big boys have already had their pockets lined this year and that just gets spent on jets, tropical islands and fat pay cheques. When you shop small you're paying for people to live and support their families! When you have bought something drop a little review or an email, again no matter how short, to the maker. Products and service reviews are notoriously hard to get (you'd be suprised!) A lovely review might be the last thing someone is looking for before they commit to buying and they can be worth their weight in gold.

Pop in your diary online market dates, make a brew and set the kids off with some lego! I've been really impressed with the quality of products I've bought this year at online markets and you get a lovely warm glow when you unwrap it, knowing I've made the buyer do a little happy dance (yes we all do it!) Also they tend to do discounts for the duration of the market so it's a win win situation.

So here at Morgan + Wells it's been no stop since the little one started full time school. Who knew there were so many hours in the day, not just post cover lockdown (1!!) but during a school day?! It's been fabulous to get really stuck in and for the first time since the business started, having a proper working day and all. There are still evenings to work and social media posts at random times for the US market but I'm loving it. Brand new in and selling really well (only 1 left now!) are the Haworth soft calf wraps, for artists, writers, tool users and make up artists alike. Next up are the Riptide card and note holders, in a vegetable tanned leather which is twisted by hand to get the pattern. how ace is that?! I'll just leave you with the super cute Bow Peep bow cuff, it is time to bling up a bit after all.

Here's a few of my favourite small businesses right now to start you off on your road to awesomeness, festive (done all my shopping already) smugness and warm autumnal bellies.

Sheila's Greengrocers - Fruit and Veg Rose & Hen - Cards and Prints

52 Broadway - Cakes

Dawn Reader - Paintings

The Hairy Fig - Deli Scamp & Dude - Clothing

Winstons of York - Clothing

Made in Oldstead - Premium food box

Theolyn's - Toy Shop

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