AN ODE TO SMALL BIZ
I have loved small business since my first job in 2007, especially during my first holiday season. Not only were people buying things they loved, for the people they cherished, but they would spend their precious time, energy, and money shopping for things that brought unbelievable joy and connection. I was hooked; I still am. This time of year is especially important to me because it's the first holiday season for Ardent Market.
At AM, we are here to celebrate the meaningful objects and traditions that enrich the life of each individual. One of a kind goods will always have a place under the tree and in your hearts, but you have to know what you're creating when you shop small.
As consumers, we've been conditioned to want more, faster, and for a door-busting deal while our bodies are still digesting turkey and that second mashed potato helping. I am here to tell you that isn't what small business is about, and it's not what AM is about.You're telling the market with each click, save, and purchase what you want to see more of, and it's accommodated. You have a wonderful opportunity to express through your shopping and spending behavior that you don't just want more; you want better.
What you deserve as a shopper is real, human connection and transparency. You deserve to know how goods are made, who makes them, who/what is impacted during the process, and how it's reached you. It's essential to know all about the belongings you place on your body and in your home. Small businesses will always be your key to access quality, ethical, environmentally friendly, and feel-good things.
If you cast your vote on what aligns with your values and speaks to your soul, you can not only live with better, but you can create better for the environment, and your communities.
Small businesses, like Ardent Market, provide ethical, environmental, and economic bonds with makers and customers. In the search for what is new and exciting, buyers and curators, like myself, have standards for purchasing and sourcing. We want products that respect other humans- their culture and livelihood. We are also looking for objects and artists that respect the environment and nurture communities.
When you shop with AM, you're placing the human part of the business dynamic first. We carry makers that are paying off student loans, have been on maternity leave with their first baby, have hired on and grown a team to teach their trade to, and have left full-time jobs to throw themselves into their craft. You've done those things; you've helped those makers with your support.
Shopping local, choosing to purchase from your neighborhoods and communities boosts our economy and frankly, goodwill. You can make more jobs, better pay, cooler objects, and more local pride just by purchasing right at home. These businesses and makers exist to share the love of craftsmanship, art, and you! We exist to make your life pretty, functional, and more enjoyable!
Your commitment to small businesses can go beyond your neighborhood. By focusing on working with independent creatives, so many items we have access to can be fair trade— giving quality education, training, and employment to less populated areas and less privileged people.
We can talk about pretty things all day long, but it's the people that make any of this possible. They create partnerships and relationships, pass along their skills and talents, improve their manufacturing to generate less waste/better products, and they stimulate our economy.
With every dollar, you're encouraging humanity, innovation, and creativity to its core.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
I will say it for the millionth time- Every day is Earth Day at AM. The same is true for many small businesses!
Makers and curators ensure that each item is looked over for the quality of design and environmental impact. Eco-friendly can mean it's constructed from sustainable materials, there was little to no waste during the construction, and there is an ecological funding program attached to each purchase. Most of the time, it also means it can be used to create less waste in your own life. And, of course, it can be a broad mix of all these factors.
We also have access to vintage! Vintage is a chance to give something a second life and keep it out of a landfill, but it is also an ode to our traditions and history. It's a significant moment to find those one-of-a-kind things that have a sentimental purpose in your life and inherent sustainability.
Small business will always be about the quality of goods, not the quantity. The pieces you cherish, the items you hand down, the objects that serve you through each phase of your life— They all have quality in common, and they are all intentionally made by humans.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
We like you so much we made a business for you! So what better way to celebrate than with Small Business Saturday?!
We so look forward to having your support on the 30th, And we are celebrating all the incredible makers right here in-house. But, please get out there and spend time and money in your local shops, restaurants, coffee spots, florists, and spas. Show each small business your love, appreciation, and cheerfulness.
We need you, and we adore you enough to make sure you have access to the best, so take advantage!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Here are some simple ways you can support your favorite small businesses and makers!
+ Any small business is grateful and flattered by your purchase. It's not a joke that we dance when a sale is made; I sure do — every time.
+ Sharing is caring. Share business cards or social media accounts. Save shopping ideas on Instagram, repost objects you love or stories from the makers, pin items to wish lists, send emails with links to the website in them, and take the time to fill out (hopefully positive) reviews!
+ If you know a maker/small business owner, reach out to them with coffee or a quick meal to bring over. Most makers I know don't take many breaks this time of year. Help them with that.
+ Educate your loved ones, tell them precisely where you would like them to shop for you. Gift givers honestly would like a point in the right direction, so don't feel bossy!
+ Say "hello" or "thank you." I think sometimes we get caught in this idea of not "bothering" someone. A simple message, handshake, or reply means the world. You might not get a response, but you will always make someone's day. I screenshot my first DM of praise and look at it from time to time! It means something.
+ Enjoy their hard work. Savor each box unpack, celebrate your items in the home or wear them regularly, make memories, and pass things along. Your appreciation and gratitude are one of the leading causes of job satisfaction.
It takes courage to live fully aware of how you impact others and the environment. It takes faith that what you're investing in does good for everyone.
My challenge to you is not just to celebrate small businesses on the 30th, but actively support them 365 days out of the year. Know that you're contributing to a system that you can believe in— a community of visionaries, makers, and innovators who care. We don't have to be big to be significant.
Cheers to small businesses and big hearts.