Small business; big impact

Small businesses have been drawing attention lately, which is largely credited to social media. Many people are exploring the benefits that come with creating or shopping at a small business.


Makayla Bowen

Shopping at large retailers may seem like the easier route sometimes, but shopping local and small will be infinitely more satisfying.

Christmas time can be one of the most wonderful, yet frustrating times of the year. People are frantically scrambling to get their gifts purchased, wrapped, and thrown under a glamorously decorated tree. The heavily commercialized holiday has become a major profiting opportunity for businesses, especially those who don’t really need the extra attention. Buying gifts from Walmart, Target, or Amazon may seem easier and cheaper, but it is also less heartfelt and meaningful. Now is the best time of the year to begin an exploration of small businesses.

Sierra Banks, a senior, has adjusted her shopping borders to include as many small businesses as she can and reduce purchases from massive companies. Banks’s realization about the distance between corporations and customers drove her to revamp her shopping experience: “large corporations do not celebrate individual orders, and I wanted to support people who do,” she said. Some of her new favorite stores have been recommended to her by friends and family, others she discovered herself. One of the biggest sources to find small businesses is Etsy, a platform where people can post their products online. Banks has found a love for scrolling through Etsy and has found kindheartedbykasp, who creates remarkable handmade Christmas cards, and Lioness Creatiions, a shop of beautifully unique crystal jewelry. Aside from Etsy, she has made it a point to support many businesses that are based in Minnesota: Cannon Belles, Patina, Plastic Free Pursuit, and Upsix Vintage.

Large corporations do not celebrate individual orders, and I wanted to support people who do.”

— Sierra Banks

Many of these businesses are a form of income for their owners, but some act more as a profitable hobby. Purchasing from unique and personal businesses uplift morale for owners whose sole intention is to share the love of their art. Extra Credit, a business belonging to Cannon Falls High School’s own, Emma Watson, features custom acrylic paintings. Watson created an instagram page for her business, @extracred1t_art. Her business idea came to her spontaneously, after gifting one of her pieces to a friend. The inspirational expressions of friends who received some of her artwork sprouted her business; “being able to bring joy to someone, especially during this time, motivates me to make them something special.” Watson’s sales are mostly just for fun, a way to procrastinate sometimes, but they also help make each day a little brighter for her and her customers. 

A former Cannon Falls High School student, Vienna Qualey, began her journey of entrepreneurship as a high school senior, selling handmade scrunchies to raise money for the Polar Plunge. Qualey recently expanded her line of products to include several other knit and crocheted fiber goods: amigurumis and other home accessories. She is now the proud opener of Nenny’s Original’s and describes her success as “creating a community and a support group around [her] art.” However, Qualey says that running a business isn’t always love and light. “I think my biggest fault is that having everything be my responsibility definitely puts a lot of pressure on me. I want every single supporter of mine to be happy with their order,” she explained. Her struggles show just how much meaning and thought small business owners accompany every individual order.

Being able to bring joy to someone, especially during this time, motivates me to make them something special.”

— Emma Watson

People have taken a special interest in small businesses and are frowning at the nation’s corporate businesses. Through social media, people are sharing their favorite small businesses, local and nationwide. On Instagram, people are criticizing Corporate America — who are in it for the moo-lah — and are emphasizing small businesses that take their passion and work hard to share it. Small businesses, providing unique, high quality products with love, are all the rage these days. 

Some of the author’s favorite small businesses: Zyia, Pampered Chef, Evie Rae