By Emma Donahue

How to be a Small Business’s Best Customer

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Utilize Social Media

Social media can be used to keep up with the store, the artist's life, and get exclusive promotional offers. But most people underestimate how many people they can reach with just one post.

Next time you’re shopping at your favourite boutique, try snapping a video of the set-up for your story. Make sure you include the business name, and even tag them if you can. Literally every platform can be used to advertise the lesser known businesses you love - Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Reddit. You’ll even be letting the social media algorithms the artists content should be promoted, not repressed.

You can also pop into a forum for people in your city to tell them about all the local places worth going. Share the owner's story, or a picture of the amazing view at that small café! You’d be surprised how many people can be swayed into going themselves from just one story update. 

Post-Buy Promotions

Picture this: you just bought an artisan hand-strung Malas, or a silk vintage dress. You’re obsessed with your new, sustainable purchase and believe everyone needs one in their life. What do you do?

Maybe post a selfie in your newly-thrifted vintage outfit, or show off how you’ve arranged your sustainable dishware. A simple at-home shoutout for a product allows the creator to know you love the piece, re-post you on their socials, and let everyone know how great their products can look.
You’ll be helping the small business owner drum up business while you show off in your sustainably in-season clothes: a win-win! 

Photo source: sariKNOTsari / Instagram

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Word of Mouth

This may seem overly simplistic, but it can actually be the most effective at promoting a local store. When you finally see other people in public, you can tell them directly where to buy your favourite chic upcycled jewelry, or delicious local desserts.

Talk to your coworkers, your family, and anybody else you think you can sway into more sustainable shopping. Tell them about the long-term benefits of slow fashion, or supporting small business owners. Share your favourite products and deals face to face, and witness your peers become loyal customers.

Photo source: SariKNOTSari website

Don’t Forget the Review!

Most local businesses are just a few bad reviews from losing lots of their business, and racialized business owners are no stranger to swarms of trolls trying to take them down. That’s why taking the time to show any support -- online or IRL -- can make a huge difference.

For example, don’t forget to leave a 5 star rating every time you order from your local Falafel place. Anything less than a rave review can put businesses at the bottom of the page, or on the algorithms' bad side. Great reviews, from Google, to Yelp, to DoorDash, make all the difference. ●

All photos from Getty Images unless otherwise specified. 

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