What it means to support small businesses
This blog post gives a little insight into what it means to support small businesses, and some transparency around why prices tend to be a little higher than large corporate brands you may be more familiar with. What do you do to support smaller businesses in your community and what does it mean to you?
With major brands competing for customers, paying huge amounts on advertisement across all marketing channels and ensuring they are front of mind globally through mass and often irresponsible spending, being noticed let alone a success as a small business is becoming increasingly challenging.
We wanted to share below a few examples of how by supporting smaller businesses, you can better the local community whilst also contributing to a healthier planet and environment:
Help build the local economy:
Small businesses tend to invest more locally as part of their fulfillment and general admin, this can be anything from buying local produce for their restaurants or shops, using local shipment and packaging distributors, getting products made locally and even providing jobs. Each of these aspects of a small business lead to continued investment in the local community and other local businesses get support, keeping the areas open and alive ultimately ensuring communities are kept exciting, busy and not run down.
Sourcing locally helps care for our environment:
Small businesses tend to choose local produce, products and materials for their business needs. This ensures higher quality products for the end consumer and also drastically lowers the carbon footprint of that business meaning less damage to our environment. Sourcing goods and services locally reduces overseas carbon emissions and is a far more sustainable and Eco-friendly alternative to large corporations.
High quality support and customer service
Small brands are able to offer far greater levels of customer support. Every purchase is so important for them in order to sustain the business and caring for customers and ensuring high customer satisfaction rates is of the upmost importance. It is also common for them to take more care when it comes to their products and services, resulting in a higher quality experience for you as the end consumer. It is also worth noting they can be far more flexible and innovative, resulting in quicker reactions to feedback giving you more control as the customer for what you want to see or purchase next
Through supporting local businesses, you support local entrepreneurs. By choosing the smaller, local option over larger corporations your purchasing habits can allow more entrepreneurs to flourish, thus making for a very healthy economy.
The Barriers Small Businesses Face:
At SOS we wanted to be as transparent as possible and give you a look into the barriers we have been faced with starting our brand and providing you with affordable sustainable activewear and hopefully provide food for thought as to why it’s important to consider supporting smaller sustainable brands when making your next purchase!
MOQ’s - This refers to Minimum Order Quantities which are essentially the minimum amount you have to commit to buying when sourcing materials of any kind. Whether it’s packaging, swing tags, fabric or product units in our case, MOQ’s are always a real head scratcher and often result in having no option but to invest more upfront in order to obtain a better price putting strain on finances.
A couple of examples to put this into perspective can be the difference between a T-shirt costing you £20 to make if you only needed 2 units in each size or £5 to make if you are able to commit to 25 in each size OR with packaging it could be the difference between one box for the goods costing £1.50 per unit for 100 units or £0.50 per unit for 1000 units.
Large corporations are able to commit to huge order quantities driving down their up front costs and seeing an even higher return for each item they do sell meaning they can be more competitive from an RRP point of view. Often smaller businesses can seem to be the more expensive alternative and this is largely down to having much lower margins than larger businesses and as a result, less profitable returns. With SOS we are faced with each of these challenges, not to mention the difficulty with finding sustainable materials for our environmentally friendly activewear.
Sourcing - This is another huge challenge faced by smaller businesses and with SOS, sourcing the best sustainable products (in our case, the best sustainable fabrics) takes hours of research, time and determination. It is very common that higher quality fabrics have much higher MOQ’s (often not at all achievable) resulting in having to hunt far and wide for the next best thing. Larger corporations often have whole teams dedicated to this research everyday, not to mention building their own factories when they struggle to find the right materials. It is impossible for small businesses to keep up with the ever changing fashions and trends and so next time you pick up a local product made by a small business we highly encourage you to think about it’s journey and the time it has taken for your product to go from just an idea to reality (it’s likely to have been years)
Keeping things Local - Such an important element of SOS is to keep as much of the business and brand within the UK as possible. We are all about sustainability, Eco-friendly processes and ethical production ensuring you as the consumer can access environmentally friendly activewear. We love that we can support local businesses and British brands, however it certainly has meant our costs have been so much higher than if we were to source overseas. Understanding where your products come from has always been so important to us., making sure workers are treated fairly, equally and ethically throughout the whole process and we have loved being so close to every part of our brands creation, it has meant we understand and meet the people making our products and can ensure quality of conditions as well as product quality assurance. This has equated to higher costs within the production process which is another thought worth keeping in mind when prices you see in small shops are higher than the large corporations. Despite all this we have still done our very best at providing affordable sustainable activewear for you guys!
Marketing and Brand Awareness - It truly is an amazing feeling when you have crafted a product and brand and are now in a position to market it to your consumers and start generating sales. The challenges smaller brands face here is how much it costs to compete with big corporations with (what often feels like) unlimited budgets. Some examples of high costs that a small business can incur include: website development, professional content and photography, social media spend and management, SEO optimisation, event planning and investment, influencer marketing and ad words investment and that is really just to name a few. All of these requirements add up and is very hard to track the return from each of these channels, however, you can help by engaging with content online when you see it, spreading the brand through word of mouth and reviewing your purchases with your peers and online!
Now these are just a few points that we hope have provoked some thought, next time you see a local business and or a small shop / brand, have trust in the process behind the products and be confident that you will be satisfied with your purchase. Always keep in mind the reason for slightly premium price points and know your investment makes such a big difference to individuals, the economy and our environment.
At SOS we are doing everything we can to provide affordable sustainable activewear and environmentally friendly activewear to our customers enabling them to make better ethical choices. We are faced with challenges everyday but are overcoming these all the time to ensure you can get your hands on the best recycled plastic activewear possible!