Friday, May 16, 2014

Small Business Week

It's Small Business Week this week!
   Up until recently I didn't really understand the importance of celebrating the small biz out there.  I went to Target when I needed a new purse or scarf (I still go to Target, like all the time. Just want to be clear on that).  I went to the mall or chain store when a new outfit or a cute pair of shoes were in need.  When I was throwing a party, I went to my local Party City or again, with the Target, and I just made due with what they had. My craft supplies came from one of the three main craft stores.  My jewelry, accessories, ect all mainly came from big chains, malls and strip malls, department stores ect.  I occasional shopped at boutiques and second hand stores but they were not my go to shop.  I did fast, convenient, and familiar.  And then two things started to change all that.

First I started planning a  DIY wedding.  We wanted small, and casual, and we wanted nothing to do with traditional.  Because we couldn't make everything on our own, and we tried, trust me, we started to check out Etsy.   I had a very specific idea in my head and I wasn't going to achieve that from a department store.  I discovered small online businesses that were willing to do custom orders and work with my diy standards and incorporate what I already had.   We got our cake from a small local donut shop (the Donut Whole will rock your mind) and we were able to request donuts inspired by Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who!  I mean come on, how cool is that?!  Some of the food was ordered from a small Chinese restaurant that was a family favorite.  Flowers were ordered from Etsy and a small flower shop and we were able to break up bundles, mix and match a few things and got a great price.  When we tried to do that through Dillons Floral we were shut down and told we had to order more than needed so they didn't have extras. And somewhere along the way mine and Mr. N's way of shopping had started to change. 

Donuts from Donut Whole in Wichita KS 
(Check out that blue "meth" and the Tardis donuts! Plus our Glen and Maggie from licoricewits ?

Second , and this was the truly when I started shopping small, we opened an Etsy business.  A couple things started to happen.  First, I noticed that I was seriously limited on supplies and tools.  Selection for things like fabric could be skimpy and didn't change a lot so there wasn't many new choices coming in.  And then there were things like wool felt, diamond glaze, small oval embroidery hoops, ect that those stores do not even carry.  So buying through these small online companies as well as digging up local shops that I hadn't paid much attention to, became my saving grace!   And in addition I started to really get into supporting my fellow makers, artist, and small business owners.  Recently I was given the opportunity to join an awesome group of local makers and artist in the KC area! Joining Handmade in Kansas City has already taught me so much and exposed me to some really amazing makers!  I am going to be sharing them with you guys very soon, so stay tuned for my new Local Makers and Entrepreneurs series on the blog!  I'm a little shocked at how passionate I have become about buying small and buying local, and Handmade in Kansas City is one of the many ways I am looking to explore promoting and supporting small biz and the entrepreneurial spirit!!!  With all that being said, let me be clear.  I will probably never stop shopping at Target, seriously, like it's not going to happen.  And I most likely will continue to run to Barnes and Nobles when I want coffee and a book.  I will still continue to eat at various franchises and chains, as well as grocery shop for food to cook (hahahaha) at home.  I just think I'm open to more opportunities, more products, more experiences.  And in my book, you can't beat the personal touch, or the quality of the product from small business.  These people love what they do, and their heart goes into their product and their business...and sharing that with someone, whether you are the buyer or the seller, is just pretty danm cool if you ask me;)

Till next time,
ShellyLyn Nguyen

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