By Daisy Wallis
The current coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented effect on our everyday lives. With the vast majority of us in lockdown around the world, it is no surprise that many businesses and brands are struggling with the sudden drop in sales.
In fact, a recent report by The Corporate Finance Network, predicts that 18% of all Small or medium-sized enterprises in the UK will not be able to survive the next 4 weeks in lockdown. This statistic almost doubles in their prediction for a lockdown that lasts 3 months, with an estimated 31% of businesses having to close by June.
Despite the government’s attempts to aid the economic struggles facing small and medium sized businesses, it is clear that many businesses will struggle with an extended lockdown.
Kindness in a crisis
The worldwide quarantine, however, has inspired the nation to care for their neighbours and wider community. This sense of comradery and community can be felt across the world. From around the world, stories of neighbours volunteering to buy groceries for others and lending a hand in their communities have been seen.
Across the world, citizens are also taking to the streets to clap and show love for their national health services and key workers. Displays of gratitude for national health services have been seen in India, Italy and Portugal, and in Spain and France citizens take to the streets daily to express their thanks.
Similarly, in the UK, a nationwide campaign of ‘Clap for our Carers’ saw neighbours take to the streets to clap and show their appreciation for the NHS. It is clear that working together is the best way for the world to cope with such a devastating pandemic and isolation period.
The importance of supporting independent brands
This is why it is so important that we reach out to the smaller businesses and brands that are set to struggle during this lockdown. In recent years, there has been a rise in great independent sustainable brands, all looking to be more sustainable and transparent not only in how and where they make their products but in educating the consumer about the environmental and social impact of their clothes.
With the lockdown set to last for the next few months, it is important that we continue to support not only small businesses in general but also the small sustainable brands that are looking to make the fashion industry and the way we shop more eco-friendly and ethical.
With an estimated 4 million people set to lose their sources of income if these businesses fall, it is important now more than ever to consider purchasing from independent brands and boutiques.
1. Look online for your favourite small brands
Many small brands are switching their operations online so that they can still reach their customers. So instead of heading to online giants and superstores, why not look to shop for your essentials from local small businesses to show your support. This just doesn’t include your favourite small fashion brands, even small restaurants in your local high streets are offering home delivery options.
If you are on the lookout for more small sustainable brands to support, check out KeiSei’s Style Edit page where our fashion editors curate their favourite sustainable brands and the latest styling tips. You can also try searching on social media. Using hashtags such as #sustainablebrands, is just one of the many methods we use to find the next best sustainable brands and start-ups.
2. Buy a gift card
Another great way of supporting small brands and businesses without purchasing things that you maybe don’t want or need at the moment is purchasing gift cards or tokens for later use. A gift card is not only a great way to support your favourite businesses financially but is also a nice gesture of appreciation and thanks for the shop owners and workers.
3. Share on social media
As the lockdown has put many of our careers and jobs on hold, many of us are unfortunately not in the financial position to spend money on these small brands. Sharing small business websites and pages on social media is another great way of showing support and raising awareness for the products and services brands are currently offering without spending money.
Why stop there? On your next Zoom or Skype call with friends and family, why not share some of your favourite independent brands. Just like posting on social media, it spreads the importance of shopping in small brands and gives you more to talk about during lockdown. Discuss how your favourite small brands are using sustainable and ethical practices in interesting and exciting ways to not only promote the brands themselves but the wonderful work they are doing to help make the industry more sustainable. They might even have suggestions of small brands for you to try too!
4. Leave Reviews
There are plenty of review pages on Google and social media that many refer to before purchasing from small businesses for the first time. Just like sharing on social media, leaving positive reviews for small brands can be a great form of advertisement and could potentially encourage other customers to purchase their products or services.
Leaving positive reviews for a brand doesn’t just have to encourage others to buy from the store, reviews can also be a show of moral support and gratitude towards the shop owners and brand founders that are struggling during this difficult time.
5. Offer creative help
Are you skilled at web design or just a bit of a social media wizard? Volunteering your skills to help your favourite local small businesses and brand owners could help them make the move to digital. A good website and strong social media presence are some of the biggest aids in helping with the success of a brand.
To get in contact with your small brands, reach out on social media or offer your skills and expertise on sites like The Dots, a site designed for creatives. It’s a great way to show support for the brands you love whilst also working on your own creative and digital skills during this uncertain time.
In this difficult time, it is important we all stay safe and look out for each other.
Check out some of our favourite independent and sustainable brands!
Sustainable fine jewellery made with ethical practices
Sustainable clothing brand using natural, organic and recycled cottons and yarns
Ready-to-wear brand ethically made in India which use biodegradable materials
A zero-waste denim brand based in East London that uses discarded denim to create new styles. Currently, 15% of each sale is going to a local charity, Made in Hackney.
A Norwegian timeless and eco-conscious brand
A luxury jewellery brand with a conscience, check out our latest piece with the brand here
Making clothes that regenerate the environment and build a community
A slow knitwear brand using natural yarns