Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks

Thursday, 9 April 2020

How To Support Small Businesses During The Corona Crisis - Ways To Help The Economy During Covid-19

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The world has turned a little *okay a lot* crazy over the last month, so I wanted to write this blog post in the hope that it might help out our small and local businesses during this worrying time (it would be much appreciated if you could give it a share). I’ve been sharing lots of businesses on my Instagram recently and have also tried as hard as I can to personally send as many gifts to frontline staff during the corona virus as I can, just as a little token to say you’re truly appreciated: it’s not what I have sent that’s important, it’s the intention behind it, I just want to say a huge thank you for being there for us throughout this and acknowledge that I understand these are people with their own lives who are putting their lives at risk to help us all. I’m in awe of every single one of them.

On that note, before I get in to the nitty gritty about how we can help small businesses survive throughout this, I think it is really important to acknowledge that the single biggest priority for us all right now is to stay safe. We are in survival mode and if the most we do is survive then that’s okay. We can start again when we are through this. The sad losses that our country and our world have and continue to suffer is the biggest priority to overcome so when I write about the importance of helping small businesses, it is absolutely secondary to that priority.


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 So, setting the main scariness aside about how we all survive, I have also seen a lot of concern for businesses and the economy and there are days when it scares me that we could see a whole economy collapse. The last thing I want is to see everyone lose their jobs, their careers, then their houses and be unable to pay their bills, feed their families because their business has been shut for months yet they still have staff to pay and rent to pay etc. Something that scares me a lot is my friends, peers and people who could lose their businesses. It frustrates me that I am largely powerless in this crisis but the one small way I can help is by influencing to be creative about the ways they support small and local businesses during this time. 

 It feels good to do something and if it helps one business (because remember: a business is more than just profit, it is a family who started the business, a staff member with mouths to feed, a postman with a mortgage to pay, it is a much bigger picture) out there then that’s good. So, less chat and here are some ideas:

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Buy Gift Cards For Future Use - A really easy one, get in touch with your favourite independents, nail salons, hair salons, restaurants, coffee shops and ask if you can buy a gift card, even try ask them to put gift cards online so other people can easily buy them. I bought a nail gift card for my Mum from RagDoll Nails, my favourite independent Leeds nail salon, because I understand they have bills, rent, staff etc to pay but they’re not allowed to be open. I also bought a gift card for my hair salonSassoon salonSo many salons have had to close and that’s really scary for so many businesses, obviously it goes without saying that it’s for our safety and future however, I want these stores to be able to re-open in the future and prosper so if you can, buy a gift card for future use. This is more than just people getting their hair and nails done, this is someones business, livelihood and way of paying staff. If you’re thinking of buying gifts for people, think about buying them gift cards for their favourite places. In addition to helping the business, you’re also giving someone a lovely present that they can look forward to in the future and let's be honest, we all need something to look forward to right now. 

Book For The Future - Obviously we have no idea how long this will go on for, but if you can make reservations for restaurants, cafes or even the theatre, the opera or cinema in the near future, do it, it may help give them something to look forward to in a few months time and at least know that money will be coming in then for them.

Buy Online - Where stores have had to close temporarily, see if you can buy their things online, I’ve seen nail salons start selling their nail oils online (I see you RagDoll Nails - you don't even have to be Yorkshire based now to support my fave!), hair salons start selling their shampoos and coffee shops who have had to close start selling their coffee beans. What about local book stores? Can you buy from them, ask them? Local restaurants? Can you buy their condiments or teas and coffee, are they selling pasta sauces? Bakeries, can you place an order? Where you can’t go to their store, see if you can buy something from them online to help keep them afloat. I know there’s a difficult ethical dilemma because it’s unsafe to have people in factories sending things out, but I read a sign on a shop the other day that said their staff wanted to continue working as they needed the hours and the shop would have to shut down if it had to close, so I like to think I am helping people keep their salaries if I place online orders. I have also had an influx of messages from postmen, delivery drivers wives and store managers who say their stores have great safety measures in place and they want people to keep ordering as it keeps them in a job. For example: I saw that a Burberry scarf is in the sale, if you always wanted one, this helps support the store who are selling it. I don't want to see my favourite stores close down as I keep thinking about the job losses and extra anxiety that would cause people. 

Donate To Food Banks And Frontline Staff - If you’re feeling helpless another thing you can do to keep the world turning is donate to local foodbanks. A quick Google will tell you where your nearest is and what you should donate, there are also quite a lot of hospitals and care homes tweeting asking for help and donations, I noticed Leeds Cares - a fantastic charity who I have supported over the years are looking for help as are the St Johns Hospice so look out for things like this. I am also a massive supporter of charities like Women's Aid,  who mustn't be forgotten about during this time:  they have launched ‘The Lockdown’, a chilling campaign raising awareness of the increased dangers of domestic abuse during the Covid-19 lockdown period. It draws attention to the empty streets and public spaces throughout the UK whilst the nation is on lockdown. During this period, domestic abusers and their partners are self-isolating together at home, and there are real concerns that households living together in close proximity for extended periods may see an increase in abusive incidents and it is important we share their support page. I understand we cannot single handily help everyone (I wish I could) but if we all club together we can do our bit. Also, where you can and it’s safe to do so, donate to frontline staff, that means NHS staff, doctors, nurses, cleaners, receptionists, police, firefighters, carers, teachers - there are so many amazing frontline staff who are putting their lives at risk for us: bake them a banana bread, deliver them some flowers or a card, drop off some hand cream (at a distance - check your government guidelines), take them a voucher for future use or even just tell them how much you appreciate them. I dropped notes through my neighbours doors to let them know I can help them with their food shops, even though I too have vulnerable people in my house and cannot go to a supermarket, I still want to help as many people as possible. Maybe your friend is a teacher and is struggling, drop some wine and a face mask at her door and organise for a Facetime. Call your Grandad. Say thank you to the postman, to our bin men, to our retail staff. It’s the little things and we are all in this together. There are so many little things you can do to make someone's day and remember, we are all going through this in one way or another. 

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Consume People's Content: That means liking, commenting, saving, watching right until the end - rather than scrolling when on social media, take a second to hit the like button, hit the save button (little flag on the right hand side on Instagram), leave a comment if you never have before. Let someone know you’re enjoying their content on social media, drop them a message and if you're too scared just hit that like button! Try not to be a silent follower. I get a lot of stick for commenting on people's stuff but heck, if me leaving genuine comments every morning on people's posts on my feed makes me a bad person then SO BE IT. I want to spread positivity, I want to spread love and I want people to know I see their content and I enjoy it, I also recognise how much time and energy goes into making that content so it’s a bit of a bummer when no-one stops to like it. It makes me feel good when I comment something nice on someones post. I don't want to be a silent follower I want to shout from the rooftops how much I appreciate the content people are pumping out. I promised myself I’d make a conscious effort to click like and leave meaningful comments on people's content and it makes me feel good doing so. 

Online businesses are struggling too and the majority of them have had many of their shops shut down but if they’re still pushing on social media, let them know you’re trying their recipes, or their free workouts (I am SO impressed with companies like Kobox and David Lloyd who even though have had to close their doors for the time being and therefore, cannot make a revenue right now, ARE STILL championing their personal trainers and delivering FREE classes. I don’t know what I’d do without them, so thank you to the epic companies doing this) or, even influencers are having their paid jobs cancelled (I know people get mad at influencers but they have bills to pay too and are real people) and yet they continue to create great free content, so if you can take a second to like their content it really helps. It’s free, just like consuming their content and learning from their recipes and videos is free and it takes 1 second! It's an easy way to give back.

When You Make A Purchase Use An Affiliate Link - An affiliate link simply means that a person shares a link to a product/item they like with their audience, if a person chooses to purchase that product/item by using the link, the company selling the item MAY pay a small commission to the person who shared the link in the first place. The commission comes from the company and NOT from any money that the person pays for the product, it does not cost the consumer anymore (usually it's cheaper as the person tries to find the best deals to share). Affiliate links can get a bad rep with the negative nellies of this world because people simply don't like people making a living, but, so long as the people or company sharing the affiliate link make it obvious that it is an affiliate link then there is no reason for them to be regarded in a bad light. Influencers use affiliate links and so do many larger companies and various discount sites in fact, even the Daily Mail, SkyScanner and student discount sites use them when they direct you to their links - I have just never seen a disclosure anywhere. If it isn’t obvious then it should be and if it is obvious then you have nothing to fear in using them, they are a great way to purchase something while supporting a small business in earning a small commission without it costing you a penny. See it this way: just like a sales assistant gets a salary, if someone inspires your purchase, just like a personal shopper, then it's a nice way to support them back without spending any extra money. You can browse the LIKETOKNOWIT app which has the advantage of having all your favourite influencers' outfits, wardrobes, living areas in one easy place. You can follow me @emshelx on the LIKETOKNOWIT app OR just simply use their desktop version. I have some followers who actively seek out links from me, thank you so much, maybe you cannot afford to buy my Instagram filters but you do need to buy a new pair of trainers and doing so you can still help a small business by asking for their link. 

Order Take Out From Favourite Cafes/Restaurants - If it’s safe and available to do so, order take out from your local cafes/restaurants or takeaways. So many of our favourite restaurants have now turned into takeouts because it’s the way to keep them afloat, so if you can, order that Friday night Chinese or your favourite breakfast waffles. We've been doing this to support delivery drivers who have said they want to continue working safely and to help restaurants. 

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Go Local - Big stores are struggling too, just a quick look at the news will tell you this *it's frightening* but as I can’t currently get into any of my large supermarkets, (I also don’t feel it’s safe to do so, living with high risk people) I have been championing the locals, my local bakery told me ‘it’s the only way we can stay afloat’ by opening as a takeout and it’s okay as long as they’re watching government guidelines and adhering to distancing etc, plus selling essentials. I have been paying a little *okay a lot* more than I would usually pay but you know what, it’s helping them by me buying a few loafs of bread and I hope people who have never been there before, but now have no choice as it’s one of the only places to get essentials from, will continue to go there when this is all over. If you see a little corner store, a newsagents, a farmshop, see if they’re open and support them by grabbing your essentials (if safe to do so). I have seen an influx of local grocery delivery companies which I think is fantastic as it helps ease the strain on supermarkets whilst helping local businesses too and vulnerable people. I tweeted about this today too and said: It's more expensive to get grocery delivery from a local or boutique company over a supermarket but do if you can do it, go for it, this supports a business and their staff, restaurants and hotels with excess food who they are buying this off to put into your essentials box and it is a good way to get food to those who can't go to a supermarket, vulnerable people are not just grandparents, they are young people who the government say are in the vulnerable category too, so for example it helps my boyfriend, my brother and my grandparents tooo. This leaves affordable online supermarket slots for the elderly, as I believe they should have priority and I would never take that away from them, hence me not placing an online order, even though as I say, I myself am unable to go to a supermarket, so instead, this is a better option. As I said before, my local bakery cost me 3x the amount and of course, I don't have the money for that, we are all struggling but I take pleasure knowing I am supporting a local business, their staff and not going into a supermarket when I have extremely vulnerable people in my home. I used IHATEIRONING (it was kindly Ad gifted to me but I will continue to support them) as they have launched a new essentials delivery service which is also helping them support local businesses, their drivers who need an income, and also anyone who is vulnerable and cannot get to supermarkets. The bigger picture is: so many people are vulnerable, they might not look it, but they are and you simply do not know everyones health history so please treat everyone as vulnerable and the world would be a kinder place. 

Pre-Order - See if you can you pre order things like birthday cakes from a local baker or even Christmas cake from a local cake shop? I was speaking to someone the other day (@_crumb.kitchen) and she was saying she has had to shut down her cake decorating service for now which is very sad. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could pre-place orders with bakers for Christmas or future weddings? Or if you’re looking for building work, reach out now and plan for the future? It just gives people hopes knowing they’ve got orders and work in the bag.

What About Other Services Like Dentists? - My friend is a dentist and we were chatting, corona is effecting every business, from dentists, to bakers, to hairdressers. Lydia is highly skilled in whitening, composite bonding, Invisalign and porcelain veneers, as well as many other treatments and during COVID-19, Lydia is offering complimentary online virtual consultations, so if there’s something you’d like to tweak about your smile, if you’d like a full smile makeover, or simply to know more about the options available, you can contact Lydia personally on her instagram @drlydiasharples or visit www.bespokesmile.co.uk to make an online appointment. It means you don't have to miss out on going to the dentist whilst we can't leave our houses!

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Support The Brands Who Are Doing Good Things - Brands big and small are doing epic things across the world and using their powers, there are so many to name but ones who have stood out to me are: 

[Jo Malone] - 'Jo Malone London, and The Estée Lauder Companies are proud to contribute to the COVID-19 relief efforts by manufacturing hand sanitisers at our UK manufacturing facility in Hampshire. These will be distributed to frontline medical professionals and key workers. We are also donating thousands of products to those working tirelessly on the frontline.'

[L’Oreal] - 'L’Oréal continue to produce hundreds of tons of hand sanitizer, delivering to hospitals, pharmacies, care homes and food banks we are not launching any new products.'

[Guerlain] - 'Guerlain's production site of La Ruche (Chartres – France), alongside those of Parfums Christian Dior and Givenchy, began producing hand sanitizer in significant quantities for free delivery to the French health authorities and notably to the AP-HP, Paris' public hospital network.'

[Elizabeth Arden] - 'As a direct response and in coordination with the NHS, Revlon, through its brand Elizabeth Arden, has donated 4000 Eight Hour Cream® products to help intensively hydrate and heal sore, dry skin.'

[L’Occitane] - 'L’OCCITANE has now donated over 10,000 hand creams to NHS / HSE staff across the UK & Ireland. Further to this, the L’OCCITANE Group, has decided to reassign some of its facilities to manufacture 70,000 litres of hand sanitiser. These products will be donated to the health authorities and healthcare workers in France. In addition, the Group will distribute 25,000 units of soap and hand cream to staff of Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris (AP–HP – the Paris university hospital trust). This is part of its efforts to support healthcare workers fighting the epidemic across the countries in which it operates.'

[Molton Brown] - 'From Friday 20th March 2020, Molton Brown offered a complimentary trio of Ultra Pure Milk Soaps to customers both online and in-store to help flatten the COVID-19 curve. They received an overwhelming response from devotees, with 95,000 soaps given away to share with family and friends. Further to this, the brand have donated 25,000 Ultra Pure Milk Soaps to Beauty Banks, a ‘beauty with purpose’ movement that organises donations of personal care and hygiene products to registered charities throughout Britain. They in turn dispense them to people who desperately need them. Molton Brown are also supporting NHS staff across the UK by sending bottles of much-needed Hand Lotion to hospitals. It means the brand can help take care of our frontline heroes’ hands, which arebecoming very dry with repeated washing as they continue to care for the nation. A total of 3,000 bottles are being distributed across hospitals across both England and Wales. To look after the most vulnerable in our society, Molton Brown has joined forces with Miller Harristo bolster Britain’s leading charity for older people, Age UK. They are providing 3,000 soaps to those aged over 70 who may not have others to turn to in this challenging time.'

[Access Sport] – Access Sport is a charity that works tirelessly to ensure every young person is able to access sport and have the opportunity to enhance their life prospects, no matter what their disability or disadvantage. In today’s world, many of us are facing a restriction in sport and physical activity for the first time. However, for many, this is nothing new. This is just one of the reasons Access Sport are working tirelessly in their mission to transform lives by enabling every young person to access sport and experience its life-enhancing power. As we head further into isolation, getting up and getting moving is more important than ever; physical activity can help reduce stress, keep routine and put a smile on our faces. That’s why, despite lockdown meaning Access Sport have had to pause key fundraising initiatives, they are doing their best to continue their mission to transform lives through the power of sport. Including initiatives such as helping deliver emergency food packages to local children and families. However, they are a charity and they need your help! If you have the time, why not join their #UnlimitedAccess movement? It is super easy and fun - Just learn the routine to Dua Lipa’s Physical (see below), see how many rounds you can get in, donate what you can spare and share your video with #UnlimitedAccess tagging 3 friends and passing it on! Anyone can donate £1 by either clicking the link http://www.accesssport.org.uk/unlimited-access or texting ‘UnlimitedAccess’ to 70085. Your contribution will help provide vital support and services to disabled and disadvantaged children across the country!

[Natural Spa Factory] - Have been donating care packages to the NHS and sending products to frontline workers, as well as started a Facebook group for spa professionals, offering free industry advice and general tips during a worrying time for the industry. 

[Leon] - Delivered thousands and thousands of meals to those who need them, https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/feednhs also raising 1 million pounds to help.

[Chip Coffee] -  100% of the profits from their special coffee blend will be donated to the NHS to assist them in the battle against COVID-19!

[Daisy Green] - My absolute favourite brunch chain are doing so much, as well as delivering SO many meals to wonderful frontline workers, they are also giving 100% of profits from their coffee to the NHS too.  

[Nuddy] - 'FREE soap-bar initiative at this time of crisis. People can now also 'PAY IT FORWARD' and donate a bar to Beauty Banks- every donation is matched, bar for bar. High-quality, triple milled soap bar, 100% cruelty and plastic free'

[Soap Smith] - Hope in soap! Buy one and they'll gift one to an NHS worker.

[NIKE] -  Nike has pledged a total of more than $15 million to help fight COVID-19, including major donations to the Oregon Food Bank, the Oregon Community Recovery Fund, and the Oregon Health and Service University.

[Pasta Evanglists] - 'In light of covid-19, we recognise it’s harder than usual to visit the elderly and other family members, friends and colleagues we care for. Our pasta care packages are delivered to your loved one's door & include 3 delicious and nutritious recipes, as well as easy-to-follow instructions to prepare each dish in under 10 minutes. We’ve also teamed up with AgeUK to donate £5 per box sold* in support of their amazing work at this challenging time.'

[Pai skincare] - 'We will be committing to the 1800 requests we’ve had so far but will be taking a pause on individual requests. We will be working with two local organisations (near our Pai HQ) to get products into care homes/nurseries) and then with a national partner that will be @thebeautybanks' as well as making their own hand sanitizer.

[Misfits] - Incredible superfood company Misfits have been out delivering their yummy, vegan products to frontline workers. One of my favourite brands and this made me love them even more. 

[Bramley] - They helped me send some extra care packages to NHS staff and they do really good acts of kindness too. 

[Kiehls] - Kiehl's have donated over 2000 Ultimate Strength Hand Cream and Ultra Facial Cream to the amazing charity @TheBeautyBanks who are helping to provide essential hygiene products to those in need, including NHS frontline staff!

[Ohne] - Incredible brand Ohne have teamed up with some AMAZING brands and currently have £5,000 ready to get tampons out to those on the frontline, they have also started a Go Fund Me page, to hopefully get to £10k so they can really do the upmost to help those who are sacrificing so much so we can all be safe.
[Supermarkets] - I can't leave the supermarkets out, it is fantastic that they are opening early etc to give special slots to frontline workers and the elderly. 

[Morrisons] - 'Morrisons sets aside £10million of groceries to restock food banks left struggling during the coronavirus crisis' plus they are giving 1 million Easter eggs to food banks and have made 14,000 new jobs in 14 days which is fantastic for so many people struggling right now. 

[Local gyms] - I know I already mentioned it but kudos to the gyms who have no revenue coming in right now as they've frozen memberships, I have been using David Lloyd and Kobox to do so many free live workouts and it is so appreciated. David Lloyd have over 100 on their app and Kobox are doing lives every single day at 10am and 6pm! Frame are doing lots too! Don't underestimate the time that goes into organising this! 

[Deliciously Ella] - Donated over £150,000 worth of snacks to NHS.

[Livias] - Donated thousands of snacks to frontline workers. 

[IHATEIRONING] - They have a new essentials delivery service which is also helping them support local businesses, their drivers who need an income, and also anyone who is vulnerable and cannot get to supermarkets.

[Ask Italian] - Delivered flowers meant for their future events to care homes, frontline workers and more to brighten their day. 


I could go on and on forever, but hopefully this highlights some of the fantastic work brands both big and small are doing and makes you want to pay forward with your pound, as I say, if we all come together and do small things, it will have a big impact... me delivering pamper parcels to NHS staff last week might not seem like a big deal, but can you imagine if we all did things like this for our frontline staff? There are small ways we can help everyone!

Sending love, safety and prayers to everyone.

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Lots of love, Em x

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