BY JEN BROWN
Spend a day around a local small business owner – especially a female – and you’ll probably hear the phrase ‘community over competition.’ Search the hash tag on Instagram, and you’ll got 2.6 MILLION hits.
The phrase makes sense. Small business owners often feel isolated, alone, stressed. When all their friends have gone out to play, they usually are still working and often by themselves. This is why community is so important. When you can commiserate with another business owner, suddenly you aren’t the odd person out – you’re part of the group. That value is worth more than the feeling of scarcity and fighting for a customer or dollar. There’s enough business to go around, and we celebrate the community more than fret about the competition.
But what does the phrase look like in real life?
For Alyson Lawton of Jasper & Fern, Danielle Hoover of Southern Comfort Boutique, Taryn Jerez of One Crafty Miss and me, Jen Oleniczak Brown of Fearless Winston Salem, it looks a lot like the Small Biz Crawl 2018.
Small Biz Crawl 2018 will showcase 17 local vendors as well as ten brick and mortar businesses on Small Business Saturday, November 24th, from 10 am – 4 pm. The vendors and their wares, from soaps to snacks, will be housed at Jasper & Fern and Fearless Winston Salem, complete with a scavenger hunt of brick and mortar businesses located between the two locations.
“Winston-Salem is full of amazing makers and small business owners,” says Danielle, “and as a small business owner myself, I wanted to create an opportunity to raise awareness about what this community has to offer.” Danielle actually first approached me at Fearless about her idea, and since my whole purpose is to elevate women, I leaped at the opportunity to do what the space was made to do.
After that single conversation, I spoke with Alyson about how we could collaborate on events, since we were in such close proximity, and immediately asked her to participate as another location. She added the idea of a scavenger hunt with local brick and mortar small businesses. While discussing how to make the event come together, we knew we had to reach out to Taryn, who coaches creative entrepreneurs on how to grow their handmade businesses. She was able to connect us with more awesome local vendors.
See the pattern?
Danielle could have never reached out. I could have thrown my own Small Business Saturday event. Alyson could have said no, and done her own. Taryn could have seen it as a conflict of her interests and gone off on her own with a separate event.
The reality is obvious: we’re stronger together.
That’s also why shopping local is so important. When you ‘shop small,’ you’re directly impacting a someone you might see in ANOTHER local business. Local businesses aren’t supported nationwide – someone in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, won’t necessarily buy something from a store in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, unless they are visiting.
You, dear reader, who lives in Pfafftown or Buena Vista or Clemmons, will.
The mini-painting of an avocado by a local woman who lives in a rainbow house and fosters kids, or the cupcakes from the woman that opened her bakery while her husband was dying of cancer, or the gender-neutral handmade baby gifts made by the woman who also teaches sewing classes – those gifts and treasures are made by a person you might also see in line for coffee. So remember, when you’re buying that painting or that cupcake or the cute bib, you’re supporting that community that thrives by working together. Small businesses are supported by locals – locals like you!
In the spirit of small business, community over competition and your friendly local business, we hope to see you at the first of what we hope will be a yearly tradition – Small Biz Crawl.