Shop small or not at all?
Livia Cockerwell explores the growth of TikTok and Instagram for small businesses navigating the challenges of staying afloat during a pandemic.
“This app changed my life.” Not a phrase many would naturally associate with TikTok, but for many small business owners such as Maisie Crompton, this social media platform is far more than dances, Draco Malfoy and life hacks, it is an essential form of advertising and marketing.
For independent businesses, the lockdown period was a make or break situation as all non-essential stores were forced to close. How would they survive the financial implications of this? Would they ever be able to recover? For these businesses, social media offered a lifeline. You could say that Instagram and TikTok were the unsung heroes for independent entrepreneurs. They offered these businesses the opportunity not only to advertise their goods, but also to show people the graft that goes into making each product. Subsequently, it seems that more and more people are opting to shop small in preference to larger high street brands.
On her TikTok account @totesforyouu (which has now accumulated 101.1K followers), Maisie Crompton frequently expresses her gratitude towards the social media platform for facilitating the growth of her tote bag company. Her videos give an insight into the sheer effort that goes into establishing and running your own business. Not only is this inspirational for those contemplating starting their own companies, but it should also inspire the consumer – we should want to support these independent businesses who show this level of love and care towards their products.
Social media platforms have finally given these independent companies a voice and consumers want to hear it
Erin Cox Jewellery is a local enterprise based in Exeter and the Instagram page for this company highlights the individuality and quality of each product – something that simply cannot be achieved on the high street. Erin regularly posts photos and videos of the design and manufacturing processes that go into creating each piece of jewellery. Her knowledge and passion of her craft is remarkable and invigorates the consumer to have the same level of enthusiasm towards her products.
Social media platforms have finally given these independent companies a voice and consumers want to hear it. As people are becoming more aware of certain ethical and environmental concerns regarding the production processes of certain high street brands, they are frequently turning to smaller enterprises. Through platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, consumers finally have the opportunity to be truly informed about the goods they buy, and small business owners have the opportunity to share their passion.
We should want to support these independent businesses who show love and care towards their products
The growth of these companies is an exciting prospect. The consumer is more informed than ever and handmade, unique products that simply cannot be replicated are becoming more and more accessible. The influence that small businesses are obtaining has the potential to drastically change future shopping preferences. What’s more, if the financial challenges that so many small companies have faced during global pandemic have taught us anything, it should be that we have a duty to switch up our shopping habits and to support these businesses.