As a small business we believe in the importance of shopping small for so many reasons. Supporting other people is something we are passionate about and shopping small is a great way to do that. At this time of year when large companies are slashing their prices, we wanted to chat to some incredible female owned small businesses on why they think it's importance to shop small.
We spoke with some of our long term collaborators & friends of Sacred Hawk to understand more about their businesses & why they would encourage people to shop small.
In this blog we chatted to long time collaborator Holly Rollins of ROL STUDIO, the lovely Lucy Heath of Capture By Lucy who provides our gorgeous backdrops, Alma Brayley-Neale from incredible lingerie brand Coco Boo and the poet that inspires us Sarah Aluko. We have also added in a couple of our thoughts as well! See the bottom of the blog for summaries of each of their incredible businesses!
Why is it so important to shop small?
Lucy: . Small businesses need a steady flow of orders, not peaks and troughs which sound great on paper but leads to resource issues, spreading a small team too thinly which in turn affects your ability to offer the same level of customer service. Black Friday is a small businesses worst nightmare! I won’t bow to the retail peer pressure to heavily discount to cost price to compete with the band wagon. A loss leader strategy that annoys the people you still need to buy on the Thursday and Saturday. At full price.
We don’t need to sell the most, we need to create a loyal customer base who value our principles and know they can rely on me when they call my mobile number. And who are happy to pay for that service and quality knowing they are receiving a premium offering from me in every way.
Holly: As a small business owner i believe it's important to shop small not only is it more sustainable but it also gives us the opportunity to involve a more human aspect to our consumption of things. By shopping small you have a chance to connect with the owner and their mission within their business, it's not just about selling for most small businesses owners, it's about creating, making, initiating and offering change and alternative within their sector of the industry.
ROLSTUDIO. has a mission to create pieces that evoke feeling with pure intention behind every design aspect. 3% of all of every sale of The Aura Chair will be donated to mental health charity “Black Minds Matter” - The Aura is designed to soothe, relax and invoke happiness to its user, so it's only fitting that our customers feel that they are contributing to a greater cause whilst purchasing something that is so centered around self love.
Sarah: I think the thing that stands out most to me is the personal touch that a small business can provide. It can be as simple as a handwritten thank you note, or a quick reply, but with every sell each customer is made to feel like they matter, something that big corporations quite often don’t guarantee. As poet/author and all around creative, when I sell a copy of my book or an art print I aim to provide a service that is more personable and memorable.
Personally, I shop with small businesses because of the economic and community impact, as I’m not only supporting that individual business but also that local community.
What does it feel like when an order comes through?
Alma: Every purchase and online order feels incredible because it means we are giving customers what they want, and it’s even more special when we have customers returning, bringing their teenage daughters for their first fitting or recommending us to their friends. It makes us feel we are an integral part of the community and we want to help women feel great about themselves.
Holly: As an artist/creative/designer so many of us suffer from imposter syndrome and sometimes you have to ask others for their opinions. So when i debuted my pieces at Herman Miller in Holborn. It was really reassuring how much feedback i got and some of it was critical and that's good to grow. There is no other feeling like when you love what you've created and other people have the same feelings about it. It feels like nothing else.
Lucy: We say each and every time to each other when we are on the phone or on FaceTime “ooh order in!” And I said a while ago to a friend the day we stop feeling that rush and being thankful for every single order is the day to shut up shop! I pack them myself and my pet phrase is “ah what a lovely set, or what a lovely colour palette they have chosen”. The products mean so much to me personally that those feelings translate right through the image itself, my copy in my voice of where I shot it to sealing the tube and taking it to the Post Office. Even our local post ladies in the high street are part of our cheer squad, always interested in where they are heading. We never know who or what someone might order, where those images end up, in a PTA school cookbook, on the cover of a magazine in the supermarket or on a poster in Gatwick Airport.
Emily: Everytime someone buys something there is a Whatsapp message saying goodbye to the piece and a small dance. Knowing we have created something that we love and that someone else is willing to part with their hard earned money for is one of the most emotional things!
Tell us about your business & why you started it
Holly Rollins - ROL STUDIO
I really loved the furniture design industry, i just felt a lot of it was very stuffy and serious and I didn’t feel it needed to be that way. I wanted to create something that had intention, depth and meaning behind it while still maintaining its youthful and playfulness. Our debut piece The Aura is very curvy, very fun, bubbly and comforting and i really wanted to convey a message of playfulness and boldness in a traditionally stuffy environment. The Aura chair is designed to assist and aid in meditation, every aspect in it’s design is meant to comfort the brain from colour to shape language to texture and fabric so i really wanted everything to have a meaning and a purpose. I wanted to create something that has been carefully thought through from the start and the finished result.
Alma Brayley-Neale - Coco Boo
With a love for beautiful and well-made lingerie, Coco-Boo was born from my desire and passion to offer women the opportunity to purchase great quality, long lasting and unique lingerie and loungewear that you can’t buy on the high street. Coco-Boo is short for Coconuts and Booty, which is what we love to dress.
I started Coco Boo because I found it frustrating when I needed to be fitted for bras and couldn’t find anywhere locally that offered unique lingerie with a great fitting service. I am passionate about my customers feeling comfortable when they come for a fitting and pride ourselves on giving a first-class customer service experience, with a professional ‘fit by sight’ bra fitting. We don’t just size customers, we fit them. We can keep our customer’s sizes to allow us to offer a complete all -round styling service should they require something specific.
Lucy Heath - Capture by Lucy
A family business in the truest form. A pair of sisters combining my love and experience working as a commercial product photographer and my sister’s 20 year career in retail. I like to think we are each other’s biggest supporters and champions and with my best friend who helps a couple of days a week we are a small but mighty in heart and soul team.
We are continually but quietly developing the largest range of replica surfaces, from my original imagery for use by companies, bloggers and photographers all over the world. As well as a growing set of clients who we create bespoke backdrops for. Surfaces that each have a story from where I shot them and hopefully offering an indispensable resource for product and portrait photography shoots. At our very core is authenticity and premium quality. From the material we use to the end to end personal attention and service. I always have my camera with me, you never know when you might stumble across a perfectly aged door, tread over a piece of polished concrete or worn pavement. A surface that means nothing to someone becomes everything to us.
We started out of frustration at paying a small fortune for backdrops where I had to pay big import fees only to find they were stock images or Photoshop effect textures printed on visibly textured banner material that curled and wrinkled, with a print quality that wouldn’t stand up for close up photography.
Bex: We were sick of clothes not being made for actual body types and we loved vintage clothing and wanted to make that treasure more accessible while keeping a bit of a tough girl image.
Emily: Bex had always made me feel great and styled me, encouraged me to be bold in my fashion choices by working with my body rather than battling it. She has helped me with my body confidence throughout my life despite mainstream media telling me to hate it. I joined the Sacred journey to help her bring that same confidence to as many people as possible.
Please shop small this Christmas and know you're genuinely helping another human being to create and do something they truly love!
Have a day as nice as your butt!
Emily & Bex