I recently stumbled upon a discussion regarding how some small shops are constantly offering sales. There was talk about the shops appearing desperate for sales or having a really high profit margin on purpose so that they could have sales and still make the same amount of money (sounds like what Kohl’s does). And as I read each comment, I felt the need to speak out on behalf of many many small shop owners, especially many I know and love.
When you see small shops on Instagram and you see that they have a big following, most people assume that they are successful. Those shops have a feed full of customers wearing or holding their merchandise. It can be very deceiving. At first glance, you may imagine that the owner of this small shop is lounging in their mansion, with a wine glass in hand, being waited on by their staff, counting his/her cash while the sales keep pouring in. I hate to burst your thought bubble, but I’m about to give you the unfortunate truth about many small shops.
Let me begin by saying that this is NOT true about all small shops, but there are many shop owners that can relate. Some of us opened a small shop so that we could stay home with our kids and not have to work for someone else. We did it as a way to support our family or help pay some bills. Shop owners don’t have hours. We are pretty much working constantly. From the moment I wake up, until the time I go to sleep (and sleep is not something I get much of), I am working. Most of us don’t have employees, so we are customer service, we are designers, we are manufacturing, we are marketing, we are shipping, we are EVERYTHING (with the exception of our spouses or kids that help out when they are able to). There is no one to step in when we get ill and there is no one to go to when funds get low. We are relying on ourselves and our families to make our dreams happen.
Some months may be amazing while others may leave us in a position where we aren’t sure where we are going to find the money to pay our rent, to fix our car or to put food on the table. So… we post a sale… a sale that is probably cutting into our profits so deeply that we aren’t making anything, or in some cases, losing money, but it’s the only way to get people’s attention. We put up that sale and then we pray that people will take advantage of the sale and we will be able to make enough money to pay our bills. You see, when you are a small shop owner, there is no guarantee. Whether we work 2 hours a week or 100 hours a week, we could make the same amount of money and sometimes that number can be $0. There is no one keeping track of how hard we work and paying us to reflect that. We work hard and we work a lot because we genuinely love our business and we want to succeed. We have a vision for our business and we are constantly chasing it, no matter how difficult.
The truth is, when we have sales, we aren’t trying to cheat people. We aren’t trying to come off as desperate. And we are definitely not doing it so that you can spread rumors about why we are doing git. We are people that are trying to live out our dream and doing everything in our power to keep the lights on and food on our table and sometimes, that requires us to have a sale. Please remember when you are shopping small that you are helping to support the family behind the business. Don’t assume anything except that most people have good intentions. Most people are not ignoring your messages or emails, but instead, working 18 hours straight to make sure that they get their orders out on time. Will you come across shady shop owners? SURE. But you file a claim, get your money back and find a new + honest shop to support. And this last part is so important because without your support, small shops wouldn’t exist. On behalf of those shops that can relate, we thank you for loving and supporting our community.
Are you a small shop owner? Can you relate? Comment below and share your thoughts. Have a topic you want me to talk about? Email us! Make sure to follow our daily small shop fashion on Instagram @thesmallfashionista and on our new Facebook page.
Heather is the Mom of three and a marketing professional. She enjoys graphic design, writing, photography and making new memories with her family.