Reflections

7 Ways to Support Small Businesses (London Edition)

Well, originally this blog post was going to be titled “How to Support Small Businesses During a Lockdown”, but then I realised that some of these tips are still incredibly useful for small businesses even when there is not a global pandemic! Regardless, it is so incredibly important to support all those businesses you hope to shop from again once we’re on the other side of COVID-19. They truly are the heart of a community, and often are the reason you love where you live. I could not imagine my neighbourhood withouts its charming cafes, delicious bakeries, and high-end small restaurants. And while we’re not all made of sacks of money, I know many of us can help even just a little bit in several ways. Without further ado, here are 7 ways you can support your favourite small businesses!

1. Buy Gift Cards/Vouchers

To help small businesses get cash now and avoid falling into the pits, consider buying gift cards or vouchers. This is also a great birthday gift idea. Such vouchers are particularly available in the food and beauty industries. For example, Shoreditch Nails offers gift vouchers with amounts ranging from £10 to £200.

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Are you a movie lover? Then you can also help by supporting your local, independent cinema. The Rio is selling gift vouchers which can be validated as they’re back open again!

2. Shop Online

Several businesses now have products you can purchase online and have delivered to your door, contact free! My favourite coffee roasters, Dark Arts Coffee, have always sold their coffee beans but now grind them to your liking.

Small breweries are also taking quite a hit as customers cannot go to sites, or order drinks at bars. However, several breweries sell their beer online, so why not support them? My London favourite is Four Pure, so make sure when this is all over you visit their base in Bermondsey!

Signature Brew has conjured up something quite creative and fun: pub in a box! It includes everything you would hope to find or enjoy at a pub. It has a mix of their beer range, a brew glass, some tasty pub snacks, a beer mat, Spotify playlists to accompany each beer and even a music quiz!

Remember to also support your local jewelers and makers! Wolf & Moon have so many beautiful, handmade pieces to purchase online. Check out some of these pieces pulled from their website below:

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There are hundreds of artists selling their beautiful artwork online on their website or selling sites like Etsy, so don’t forget to look for your favourite creatives there too. I love to support my favourite illustrators (okay, yes, these aren’t London based per se, but we should support small businesses across the globe) such as Amelia Flower, Chalk and Leaves, Revelatori, Jang and Fox… there are so many!

3. Order Delivery

The government in the UK has issued a statement stating that while restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars have been ordered to shut, food deliveries and takeaways are still allowed. And I quote: “People can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers.”

When choosing a restaurant, think small and local. The little guys are the ones that are likely to suffer more during the lockdown and inevitable economic recession. Look especially for restaurants that have created their own delivery service as opposed to signing up with Deliveroo or Uber Eats. These big, chain services typically charge 20-25% commission, and even up to 30%.

For example, Yard Sale Pizza (East and North London) has its own contact-free delivery service. You can order pastries from one of my favourite bakeries, Pophams. If you fancy a romantic dinner, why not try a delicious array of dishes from Oren or Pidgin?

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4. Purchase Online Services

Several businesses are adapting to the online world by continuing to offer their services. Self Space, a contemporary counseling practice, is holding sessions via video conferencing or over the phone. In fact, at the moment you can get 10% off sessions by quoting: ALLTHEFEELS. I swear this is not an ad.

My favourite skin studio, re:lax, is still continuing to offer treatments but online! This is really unique. Their virtual services mean that you can “receive” treatment from the comfort of your own home. All sessions are 1-2-1, and their offerings include product advice, skin consultation, nutritional therapy consultation, and even a gua sha ritual.

5. Engage on Social Media

Even if you don’t have extra cash to spend, you can still support small businesses! You can engage online to support them and expand their audience. If a business didn’t have a Instagram account back then, well they sure do now! It’s a great service to keep communicating with your favourite small businesses and also market about them across all media platforms. The more followers they have now, the more likely they’ll have plenty customers when this whole coronavirus madness is over.

Some fun options to follow include Pizza Pilgrims, a pizzeria serving the best Neapolitan-style pizza in London!

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Another great follow is Deliciously Ella, a resource full of great things like a blog, app, deli, recipes, podcasts, and more! She’s incredibly active on social media, so why not engage?

6. Take Part in Online Activities

Along with engaging on social media, businesses have been really creative in engaging with their audience.

Bread Ahead is demonstrating online baking on Instagram (obviously, for free!). Many other bakeries and restaurants are offering their cookbooks online for free as well, so make sure you check out their websites or social media channels!

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If you miss the theatre, several productions are making their way online to the wonders of YouTube! The Globe (as in Shakespeare’s Globe) is premiering six plays on their YouTube channel, one at a time, on rotation every two weeks. Plays include classics like Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The National Theatre has started an at-home theatre, releasing a different play every Thursday and streaming it on YouTube for one week. And the best part? It’s completely free! I saw the first play they launched, One Man, Two Guvnors, and it was really great to watch from home.

7. Write Positive Reviews

And finally, you can support small businesses by going back to old school reviewing. Love your local nail salon? Give them five stars! Cannot imagine a world without your local ocakbasi? Share the love by writing up a great review to attract new customers in the future.

You see? There is so much you can do. As I discover more of what businesses are doing to stay afloat, I’ll update this post as and when. Shop local, love small businesses. Take care everyone, and stay home!

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