Shopping Small: One Woman's Perspective on America's Mindset
Posted: Jan 29 2016
Many of you have never met me in person and the few of you that have probably have no idea that I am more than a fashion obsessed pretty face. I am quite contrarian not just with fashion but with my take on media, and what American's tend to think we are or used to be.
To start I will be clear I don't think I am a guru on Americans or American Culture but I am American and have lived her since birth. What I will discuss in this post is what I have witnessed as a consumer, small boutique owner, an employee for a Fortune 500 brand, and an Advertising and Marketing professional.
So let's get to it; I grew up working in retail. I worked for Forever 21, Wet Seal, and Everything But Water in the mall in high school. I loved helping customers put outfits together and loved getting discounts on hot new trends.
Fast forward past graduate school and I I worked with a very large and international fashion brand. Now here I am with Fierce Finds an online and mobile boutique in Boca Raton traveling from Palm Beach to Miami in the South Florida area and what I have come to notice that I never new before was that America prides itself on its entrepreneurial spirit yet American's are less inclined to truly support entrepreneurs.
I have yet to see a customer ask anyone at a major retailer for a discount with zero basis. Yet Americans tend to go into small business and at least 4/10 times ask for a discount with absolutely no basis. It's bazaar for a nation that prides itself on entrepreneurs.
Next example. people will ask for discounts for an clothing item with a thread less than 2cm hanging from it at a small business but I have seen people hand tear the thread on the way to the register at a major retailer in the mall.
Customers ask me about care instructions, fabric, styling tips, fit requirements, if a $3 ring will turn over time, etc. I am not complaining these are all things that we pride our brand on; going over and above to educate, please and serve our customers. However, I go to similar stores in the mall just to study my demographic and never witness the over analyzing of products in major retailers.
After doing this for some time I had to ask myself why is it that American's have a desire to boast their sense of community but have no desire to actually work toward it?
I joined in on a Facebook conversation about small business to gain more insight about this and learned that many Americans have a misconception about small businesses they believe that small business prices are higher so they don't bother to shop them and when they do they feel the need to ask for a discount.
I was shocked! The majority of people admitted to never going into small businesses due to their assumptions of cost and argued that it was valid because they have kids to fed, etc etc and stated in comparison they can go to a major retailer to save a few bucks.
I don't blame anyone for these thoughts we were trained by the media to think this way.
However, I find this way of thinking unsettling for many reason.
The business of low prices often came or will come at someone's high price:
- Working conditions are often horrible for the suppliers of fast fashion retailers
- Landfills are rapidly filling due to the $4.95 tops that don't last more than a year
- Jobs are being lost for your children and grand children every time you vote with your dollar at a company that is not founded locally. $8- $12 an hour job creation doesn't compare to helping to build that small business that will be around for years providing careers not jobs that people can actually feed their families on.
Fierce Fact: Local businesses generate 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box retailers.
Wish to learn more about this:
Now I don't think any of us can afford to shop 100% American and that's not the story I am selling I love imported goods. The goal here is to voice what small businesses have to compete and deal with. My goals was also to extend the knowledge and hopes that next time you are looking for a candle, shirt, sunglasses, or a sandwich you at least browse a small business website or drop in a local business with the intent to pay the price on the tag and feel good about it.
Just to be clear I am not telling you to spend more on the same product I am telling you to look to see if you see anything worth the vote.
Fierce Finds Mobile Boutique is an fashion truck for this reason our prices are always under $200 and the markup is lower than it would be if we had a brick and mortar location. We realize that our shoppers are often impulse buying and so we keep the prices low in our truck. Our online customers get to indulge in those lower prices as a result.
See for yourself we are having a customer appreciation sale on sale. 15% OFF already reduced styles to honor the customer that do support us by shopping small. Follow us on Instgram and FB to see images of our customers in their favorite looks this entire weekend!
Let me know your thoughts and feel free to share your favorite local place to shop!