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How to Support Small Business Without Spending Money

I want to make my work affordable for makers and fiber art lovers, which is why MCreativeJ finished pieces, embroidery kits, and patterns are available at a variety of price points. While I’d love for everyone to buy my work, I know that that’s not always possible.

I know this is true of other small businesses as well. I often love another makers work and am also unable to support them with a purchase. This doesn’t mean I can’t support them in another way though. Some of the best ways I’ve found to support other small businesses are:

1. Share about them with your friends! Word of mouth recommendations are still some of the best ways to share with others. When you truly love a product, people can tell and will want to learn more. When I'm able to buy from some of my favorite local makers, I proudly tell everyone who made the item and where to get it. Even when I'm unable to purchase an item, I offer my favorite local products as gift ideas to others.

2. Follow their social channels, sign up for their newsletter, and engage with them. This could be liking, commenting, or resharing their work with credit. Engaging with an artist online helps broaden their reach to others and brightens their day. Whenever someone leaves an encouraging comment or signs up for my newsletter, I do a little happy dance.

3. Be supportive and encouraging. This might sound silly, but many artists, like myself, work in isolation. I often have no idea if my art will sell, if my new pieces will be a hit or a flop, and question what I’m doing all the time. Hearing a few words of encouragement helps me know I’m on the right track and that even though I enjoy what I’m doing, others do too.

4. Don't ask for free or discounted items.

Not all artists can afford to run a sale or offer their products at a discount. Please acknowledge that the price they've set for their goods is what they need to make a living and support themselves (and their family). I rarely offer sales or discounts because hand embroidery takes hours of work from the ideation to the creation phase. While some pieces are expensive, I've also found a pricing formula that allows me to sell my work.

5. Buy from them when you can.

Even a small purchase brightens a makers day. As a maker, it's hard to break through the internet and people's daily lives to gain awareness for your brand and products. When you acknowledge another makers hard work with a purchase—even if it's a small one—it means the world to us!

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