So many people in the community, friends and family included, are small business owners that have had to completely shift the way they run their businesses during this economic crisis. Businesses all over the country have switched their dine-in or brick and mortar locations to take-out, curbside pickup or delivery operations because that’s the only way you can do biz right now, if you don’t offer digital services (and digital services are providing their own challenges as disposable income and ad money dry up).
If recent events have proved anything it’s that people are innovative AF. Small businesses are finding creative ways to adapt given the new set of rules we all suddenly have to abide by, APW included. If humans are anything, we’re resilient. So we adjust, and we make it work the best we can.
Like almost every small business in this country, we’ve faced a near total freeze on cash (and small businesses depend on cash flow) as the wedding industry has all but ground to a halt. In short, after years of community building, it was our turn to ask for help. So we set up a Patreon and we are so, so grateful for the patrons that have signed up. Just like our small business needs help, so do many others. And fortunately, there are many ways you can support them right from home.
Supporting Small Businesses from the Comfort of Home
Small biz owners are changing their business models at breakneck speeds to try to acclimate to current times. It’s heartbreaking to watch our neighborhood favorites have to close their doors and some have to layoff their entire staff. If you’re looking for ways to support small businesses you can start by:
- Making donations: Local emergency funds for all kinds of industries (don’t forget about independent contractors and freelancers) are popping up. Most emergency funds accept donations so if you’re up to it, send a little love to an industry in need or a cause you care about.
- Ordering takeout or delivery (and tipping well!): To say the service industry is getting hit hard is an understatement. In Oakland alone, plenty of businesses have shuttered in the past week and many are headed in that direction. These establishments need your food orders to keep the doors open. If you order takeout or delivery, please, please tip (and tip well) if you can.
- Purchase gift cards: Even if a small business near you has had to temporarily close, many businesses are still offering gift cards. If you purchase a gift card now, that’s money the business is getting in their pocket that they can use now (like a mini loan) and you can treat yourself to a nice lunch or dinner when all of this passes.
- Shop small on the web: Support artists, makers and independent contractors by shopping their online stores. Go follow them on Instagram and see what they’re offering. It’s likely that these businesses have had to shift production or fulfillment schedules and are probably strategizing new ways to generate income.
Local Emergency Funds
If you or someone you know is in need of emergency funds, the resources below have a ton of support options for folx in different industries with locations all over the country. Please explore these options and share with those in need.
- New York Foundation for the Arts has compiled a comprehensive list of emergency grants for artists all across the country
- KQED has an updated list of resources for San Francisco Bay Area freelancers and creatives
- Eater has published multiple resources from all across the US for food service workers, along with resources for bars and bartenders
And because everyone on staff tries to prioritize shopping small, I asked staff members to send me their favorite small biz products and they delivered. Items that increase productivity, creativity, inspiration or just invoke pure joy (because we can all use some of that). And if you can’t buy anything right now, we get it. Either way, here is some (small business) inspiration for tomorrow or you know, the better days to come.
Our Small Business Picks
Ariel Tidar: Ariel makes these amazing statement earrings that are all the things you need them to be, they’re huge and look great on zoom conference calls (and of course offer evil eye protection, and are a proud statement of Jewish identity).
Meena Patel Studio: Meena’s cheerful art reminds us of the power of pushing through and marching forward together, even if that means digitally for now. (Hint: she sells children’s books too!)
Mimu Maxi: Someone has FINALLY SOLVED the problem of a wrap skirt that doesn’t show your everything. They made it for modesty, we want it for a different kind of modesty… not showing the world our underwear. It’s jersey so it’s comfortable enough to wear during WFH and still feel put together.
Philz Coffee: When I need a WFH pick-me-up, Philz is my go-to. They’ve got a blend for everyone, my favorite is Jacob’s Wonderbar, a full body, dark roast blend with chocolatey undertones.
Girl Tribe Co.: A feminist band tee from Girl Tribe Co., friends of APW who are trying to keep their business afloat, while providing vital income for all of the vital businesses who sell through them.
Mischief: One of my favorite East Oakland shops is Mischief. They have a great selection of art supplies and kits, prints, cards and apparel from local artists.
The Xocolate Bar: This year I had to get creative on what to do for my partner’s 30th birthday. He grew old of my #quarantinecakes so I had to switch it up instead of a birthday cake this year. These fancy bonbons did just the trick!
Tierra Sol Studio: Shelter in place means less outdoor activities so it’s time to bring the outside in. Brighten up your space with this cute little zebra plant!
Oaklandish: This small Oakland business has done big things for the community. With a mission to “spread local love” they’ve done just that by creating inner city jobs for locals and donating a portion of proceeds to local non-profits that directly impact the Oakland community.
Nathan & Co.: Like many other small businesses, Nathan & Co. is having to switch their operation from a brick and mortar store to an online business. They even styled their shop windows with beautiful items that are shop-able online and available for delivery. Window shopping at its finest!
Ordinaire: Now isn’t the worst time to be a part of a wine club, right?
Now that we’ve shared some of our favorite small businesses with you, we want to hear all about your favorites. Which small businesses to you wanna give some love to? Tell us all about them in the comments!