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The Perks of Purchasing from Small Businesses

Why you should buy from individuals, rather than large corporations

Maija Baroni

Staff Writer

Photo by CNN

Ordinary holiday traditions and celebrations are drastically altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But while one immediate consequence is widespread loneliness and monotony, the pandemic grants us an opportunity to re-evaluate our spending habits during the most commercial time of the year. Hence, many have turned to shopping locally or from small businesses, both online and off.

Etsy's online marketplace is an attractive platform for those seeking to support their local artists and entrepreneurs. It allows shoppers to digitally browse and discover small shops with quirky merchandise, while limiting the necessity for in-person shopping and physical contact. Known for its handcrafted and vintage items, Etsy also facilitates finding genuinely unique and special gifts, which makes their recipients feel that much more appreciated.

However, the pandemic's unforeseen disruptions have brought about several other significant reasons to shop on Etsy or from small businesses, aside from their distinctive, peculiar appeal.

Small businesses have been economically suffering over the past few months; the city closures and regulations make them even more financially vulnerable than normal. Not to mention, independent sellers such as those on Etsy mostly run their shops entirely on their own. A large portion of them have dedicated their career and savings to their business, making it their only source of income.

Large corporations make ample profit during this season. Amazon reported record sales numbers in the holidays last year. Supporting these smaller entrepreneurs means spending your money in a much more impactful way, rather than adding to commercial companies' already overflowing pot of gold. Etsy helps you directly aid and purchase from budding creatives, allowing them to make a living doing something they love and ensuring their business's survival.

Many other issues that arise when buying from big corporations can be remedied by buying from small businesses. For one thing, minorities are rarely in positions of power in such corporations and rarely benefit from them. In contrast, Etsy provides a platform for minorities to be seen and thrive independently off of their innovative products.

Another critical benefit is sustainability; it’s no secret that Christmas is annually damaging to the environment. Whether it be for feasts, gifts, or decorations, our excessive consumption culminates in an environmental disaster. But most Etsy sellers and small business owners make all of their products themselves; handmade items consume a lot less energy than a mass production assembly line and generally aren’t produced overseas, limiting the amount of long-distance shipping. And independent sellers will often only buy what they need according to demand, limiting waste.

Lastly, if you quickly pull out your credit card and have your CVV number memorized better than your phone number, buying handmade could limit your spendings. The increased price-point of a handmade good matches an increased value in authenticity and quality. Conscious spending choices mean that you ensure that every buck you spend is worthwhile.

Overall, shopping locally from small businesses, or supporting online shops like those on Etsy, is the new holiday habit we should perhaps all adopt from this year forward. Besides, even when setting aside all the ethical and environmental advantages, you manage to acquire some really unique and beautiful items. It makes your gifts that much more sincere during this season of love and caring, which we could all use a little bit more of this year.


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