Shopping Small. Up until the 20th century, all shopping was “small”. The advent of big corporations and big box stores changed everything. The concept that “bigger is better” sounds good but is not necessarily true, especially for small business owners or sole proprietors. That’s why understanding the importance of Shopping Small is critical to the future success of all the individuals and families represented by the Sellers who have shops on Our Village and to the entire American economy. Shopping Small shouldn’t be promoted only one day each year. Shopping Small should be a 365 day, 24/7 goal for all consumers and there are good reasons why this should be a national priority. Our Village is taking the lead, promoting Shopping Small as the first option customers should always consider. Let’s look at the data to understand why.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small business as an enterprise with fewer than 500 employees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, companies with fewer than 500 employees make up 99.7% of America’s workforce. A surprisingly high percentage, isn’t it? To most of us, up to 500 employees is actually a large company. Let’s drill down much further to what most of us would consider to be a more typical small business. Businesses with fewer than 20 employees make up 89.8% of the American workforce. 9 out of 10 companies in America employ fewer than 20 employees. Does that bring a different perspective to what the success or failure of small businesses means to our economy?

Let’s drill down even further. There are 28.8 million small businesses in the U.S. and over 22 million are self-employed with no additional payroll or employees. Doing the math, that means that 79% of small businesses are sole proprietors, with no employees! Now it becomes much clearer how important the “Shopping Small” movement is to our economy and to all the families who are selling their products on Our Village and elsewhere. The majority of shop owners on Our Village are sole proprietors, the “mom and pops”, the backbone of our economy. Our Village is the home of The Shopping Small Movement and advocate for these Sellers. The Our Village marketplace is the venue where customers can support the artisans, crafters, makers, and small, family-owned shops who sell their products to support themselves and their families.

Let’s examine a major difference in the dynamics between big corporations/big box stores (hereafter referenced as “Big Business”) and privately-owned, small businesses. The primary goal of Big Business is to provide profits to their shareholders. That means these companies are only as good as their last quarter’s report, and more often than not, focused on short-term results rather than developing long term growth strategies that would be in the better interest of the company and its employees. Small businesses can make decisions based on the best interest of the owner(s) and their employees. Small business owners aren’t penalized or terminated because they have consecutive quarters of poor performance. They just have to work harder and smarter to make the profits necessary to keep their business afloat, support themselves and their families, and support their employees and their families.


Unfortunately, the deck is stacked in favor of Big Business. Big Business can afford to lobby state and federal lawmakers on legislation which gives them a marketplace advantage. Typically, Big Business has more purchasing power which provides them the advantage of having lower costs when compared to small companies. These lower costs translate into higher profits to distribute to their shareholders and/or lower selling prices to the public, again providing Big Business with major advantages when compared to smaller companies. What’s a small business owner to do when the deck is stacked against them?

Without the financial resources to compete against Big Business in the government and purchasing arenas, the only alternative is to appeal to the masses by creating a groundswell of awareness of the benefits of Shopping Small. Our Village is leading the way with our year-round outreach via traditional and social media that will help us promote the Shopping Small message so customers will begin to change their buying habits.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” said Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. The Shopping Small movement has begun that journey and Our Village needs your help as we work to bring greater awareness to consumers. The quickest and easiest way for you to become part of the movement is to talk about the importance of Shopping Small to your friends, co-workers, and relatives. Share with them your commitment to shop small first. Encourage them to participate in the movement by doing the same. Then make a point of Shopping Small yourself, knowing that you are doing your part to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families and not lining the pockets of shareholders of Big Business.

The majority of shop owners on Our Village are women. Some could be your friends or neighbors. Most have full-time jobs to support their families, while working during the evenings and weekends to create their products for their shop to help supplement their incomes. Your purchase may mean a child gets a new pair of shoes, or this month’s utility bill gets paid. Our Village shop owners are real people. You aren’t buying from big box stores or faceless corporations. Every purchase you make helps make a difference for a shop owner and her family’s life. Join the Shopping Small movement beginning today.

Our Village is based on the African proverb, “It takes a village…”, and we are all part of the village. We must do our part to care for each other, making the world a better place for all. 

Please visit www.OurVillage.com to view our other blogs and to support our shop owners by buying their products!