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This article was written by Raqhelle Milbrooks, a member of the Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble content team. Entrepreneur NEXT powered by Assemble is a freelance-matching platform leading the future of work. If you’re struggling to find, vet, and hire the right freelancers for your business, Entrepreneur NEXT will help you hire the freelancers you need, exactly when you need them. From business to marketing, sales, design, finance, and technology, we have the top 3 percent of freelance experts ready to work for you
We are a month away from 2021 and the holiday season is here. Similar to early 2020, many individuals including your employees, will avoid the hustle, bustle and unpredictability surrounding shopping in stores during Covid-19. Amazon makes it easy to shop safely online, which according to NPR, proved to be true. Between April and June, Amazon doubled its quarterly earnings to $5.2 billion, adding more than $60 million to its founder’s already-exorbitant wealth.
Amazon will continue to be a default for customers to fulfill their holiday gift giving but a darker reality looms over small businesses. PNAS surveyed over 5,800 small businesses and across the board, majority of local businesses suffered from closings, dislocations, and rapid employment declines. This holiday season, consumers have the opportunity to flip the script and make a difference.
Although two-day shipping is convenient, consider feeling immersed in the shopping experience this holiday season by shopping with local small businesses and artisans. For small businesses, every customer matters. Through small business shopping, you will be given a unique and diverse experience with every order handcrafted from the heart. Shopify, an e-commerce leader for growing businesses, provided 12 ways to support small businesses, saying “Entrepreneurship inspires and facilitates more entrepreneurship.” Your impact supporting a local business provides direct significance on positive development in the community. Empower the next generation of entrepreneurs by indirectly aiding in business skill development, new job skills and locally sourced development.
Below are examples of the best apps and online marketplaces to shop instead of using Amazon. These include gifts for loved ones, as well as ideas to show your employees you appreciate their hard work during an impossibly chaotic year. By shopping now, you can ensure your gifts arrive in a timely manner. Cater to all of your gift-giving ideas from home decor, handcrafted gifts, thrifting, and healthy living by being sustainably conscious this year.
The number one problem shared among entrepreneurs today is finding, vetting, hiring, and retaining expertise.
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SHOP WITH INSTAGRAM
If you’ve noticed, Instagram has a new update. The app’s new look features a brand new shopping tab. With 85 percent of users shopping online these days, Instagram is getting business owners ahead this season by getting discovered and building a story behind their brand. At first glance, many users may seem annoyed at this new update. Yet on a positive outlook, users will be connected to more brands and companies that match their interests and likes. A variety of companies, even small businesses at a specific threshold, are featured on the shop page and will lead you directly to their site for purchases. Feel connected and immersed with curated collections to purchase from your favorite, or even new brands you find on Instagram.
Find top brands, experience low prices and free shipping on the world’s largest marketplace of new and used products. Ebay has your back, with protection for both buyers and sellers. Ebay wants to ensure you get exactly what you crave the most. On eligible purchases, use their money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied — and yes that applies to everything on their site. Bid, bid, bid, and bid again until the product is sold and in the palm of your hands.
Shopify is a multinational e-commerce company for online stores and retail. There’s no doubt that Shopify’s e-commerce software is curated for business owners to launch or grow their business. Even more important is that small business owners thrive through their easy user functionality. Look for the Shopify symbol during your shopping extravaganzas and note that your purchase is supporting a local business. Check out their list of 70+ businesses including sustainable products, self care kits, survival gear and sweats.
WeBuyBlack is the Amazon-inspired website that is the largest online retailer for minority-owned businesses. This online retailer is your one stop shop for all homegoods, clothing, jewelry and more. Black business owners showcase their products to the world in all categories, and the marketplace offers fast and free shipping. Get ahead of the holiday rush and start browsing today.
Afterpay has skyrocketed amongst online retail businesses by providing alternative ways for consumers to afford the products they love the most. If you want it, you can get it! Products can be paid for in four, interest-free payments for up to six weeks. Get approved fast, pay on time and sit back and relax while your products ship as usual. One of the best parts is their featured list of Black-owned and LGTBQ+ businesses to support opening you up to a plethora of new businesses that offer unique gifts for your loved ones.
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HANDMADE FOR THE HOLIDAYS | Etsy & Made Trade
Etsy is the top site to access beautifully unique items made by artisans around the country. Etsy has customized products in a variety of categories including clothing, home decor, bags, furniture and toys. Sellers are small business owners, hobby enthusiasts, or vintage collectors that gain exposure through building their own shop. Sort and filter within your own budget, and put your dollars into the hands of local families and small business owners. Check out other gift and craft items on Love Crafts, and Levenger.
Made Trade makes it easy to shop with a conscience this holiday season. Find wonderfully designed home goods and clothing made by cunning independent artisans from around the world. Made Trade is mindful about the products showcased on their site, and finds dignity in supporting all communities. Buying from Made Trade means building global, loyalty and comfort to entrepreneurs honing in on their craft and expertise. Not only are you bringing them comfort and satisfaction, but the site offers throw blankets, pillows, loungewear and cozy gifts to keep you comfy during the winter months.
THRIFTED CLOTHING | Poshmark & Vinted
Consider being even more sustainable this year by buying gently used clothing on Poshmark or Vinted. Both of these platforms are online social marketplaces that connect people from across the country through clothing. Poshmark focuses on selling a mix of used or never-worn, high-end brands at flat-rate shipping costs while creating a social thrifting atmosphere. Vinted also allows its customers to buy and sell second hand clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories. Find vintage gems through either of these marketplaces, and create your own personalized shopping experience. Don’t forget to bargain to maximize your dollar during the holidays!
NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCTS | BLK + GRN
Tired of trying new beauty and skincare products that just don’t work? BLK + GRN is an all natural marketplace curated by Black artisans. These Black health experts provide quality ingredients and natural products that actually work for all skin types. Not only are all products quality tested, but they pride themselves on being plant-based and free from over 70 toxic chemicals. Find your next product in categories like bath and body, hair, skin and home while cultivating your community. Project the voices of Black artisans that have spent hours tirelessly providing the best products to their customers.
HEALTHY LIVING | Thrive Market
Healthy living shouldn’t be exclusive to only those who can afford it. Thrive Market is not only your one-stop-shop for healthy groceries that taste delicious but with every regular membership, Thrive sponsors a membership for a low-income family to reap the same benefits of building a healthier lifestyle. We love their ability to recognize how the affordability of healthy living can be quite impossible for some families. The company gives back to the community and environment while you build your personalized market made for your family or dietary preferences. Starting at $5 a month, a one or two-month subscription for your employees makes for a great gift during a time when budgets are tight.
HOUSEHOLD ESSENTIALS | Grove Collaborative
If you’ve imagined a world beyond plastic, Grove has you covered! Over two million households are subscribed to Grove Collaborative which provides sustainable home essentials right to your doorstep. Start your sustainable journey at home with products powered by plants while living a plastic free and powerfully clean lifestyle. You’ll find products that are all sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly and you’ll never run out of what you need most. Know someone who can’t kick the chemicals? Throw a subscription their way.
BOOKS & MUSIC | Bookshop
Ever wondered how you can support locally owned independent bookstores online? Bookshop is an online bookstore that completely supports the book community with 100 percent of proceeds going back to local independent store fronts. Browse the list of 2020 National Book Awards Finalists, find a local bookstore near you, or purchase a recommended holiday read.
Looking for other selections or even cheaper finds? Try these online book stores for all of your literary and musical desires:
Every dollar makes a difference. This holiday season provides you the opportunity to branch out and directly support your community by placing dollars in the hands of small businesses and artisans. Empower entrepreneurs and impact communities by thinking consciously of online marketplaces that are community driven, eco-friendly, and sustainable. Gift giving can be unique and diverse while benefiting everyone with holiday cheer.
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