We’re a small, home-based business in Colorado. For a decade now, we have brought fair trade, handmade clothes and jewelry to our customers in small venues like farmers markets and festivals. Our mission to empower, support and uplift artisans in marginalized countries such as Indonesia and Thailand is at the forefront of our purchasing decisions and our designs. But then COVID happened, and everything changed.
At the beginning of 2020, we returned from our annual sourcing trip in Thailand and Indonesian with COVID on our tails. We had just created and paid for the new designs, we thought would be a part of the Epic 2020 summer festival season. But as Spring approached, we were anxiously watching our Summer schedule of 30 shows cancel one-by one, week after week. By late spring we began to panic, wondering what we should do with the business… and how we were going to make a living.
It seemed as though we had a few options: We could park the whole business till next season and hope we had enough savings to carry us through, we could build out a Schoolie, live in the bus and travel, minimizing our expenses and shrinking down as small as we could or we could put our grown up pants on and try with everything we had to build an ecommerce business with all the merchandise we had just purchased.
The third was most intimidating because we knew we had no marketing experience, product shots, or any inclination for social media. Hell, even our website was out of date. We knew we would be starting from scratch, and it would take everything we had to make it.
And this is where this story really begins. I just had to put it all in context for you.
Our marketing efforts over the past few months have managed to spread our reach across the country, and we are gaining traction. Fueled by the continuous positive feedback we get from our customers, we keep going. And it’s because of this, and because of your choices to buy from small businesses like ours, that we are able to place a reorder for the few items we’ve had success selling online.
And here is how you know what you're doing makes a difference. This is a conversation from our primary tailor in Bali. She was so appreciative of our small reorder, I felt the need to share it with you.
Katie Moore: Hi Sakman! We just sent another purchase order. Could you please review and confirm with us.
We are adding this order to the other one. Also adding some length to the maxi dresses. Please let me know if you understand everything. As soon as you confirm please let me know. I will send you the money.
Sakman: Hi Katie The feet (first) order already start produktion,the length of Maxi dres i make as last time
Sakman: I Will cek your new order🙏Thankyou
Katie Moore: Yes. Keep the first one same. Just change the length on the long ones for the second.
Sakman: Ok Thankyou so much ketie 🙏
Katie Moore: Thank you.
Katie Moore: I can send money now if you confirm.
Sakman: For you help and still trust me ,give me order🙏
Sakman: Your order help me and my staff and my family in this pandemi🙏😭
Sakman: I can not say enything,just thanks a lot🙏
Katie Moore: Yes. We must help each other. Sakman I am a small business like you. I want to support you. I love the person you are and the work you do. I understand mistakes happen just please try to be careful.
Our business, like all small businesses across the plant have been devastated. Employees have been let go, finances are dire, businesses/suppliers are already out of business with many more likely to follow. I can only speculate that this small order put both her and her team back to work, if only for a short time. This income is likely to be used immediately to buy food and pay for necessities. They are surviving, not thriving. But everything makes a difference.
The big box stores will survive, they have deep pockets and financial assistance. It’s the small businesses across the globe who do not share those same luxuries. By supporting us, you are also supporting them. And more than anything else, I want you to know, YOUR CHOICE MATTERS!