As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to sweep across the United States and impact all facets of the global economy, Americans have been left wondering how they can help small businesses that have been forced to shut their doors due to the virus.
On March 25, Congress agreed to a $2.2 trillion stimulus package that was comprised of about $350 billion in loans for small businesses to aid the struggling economy amid the pandemic. The loans, which were made available through the US Small Business Association (SBA) lenders and any financial institution signed up to the program, began rolling out on April 3 according to the Wall Street Journal. But by April 16, the program intended to keep small businesses afloat had run dry of funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, CNN reported. Now, the Senate is rapidly negotiating a new deal that would allocate another $310 billion into the program.
Even before the stimulus money started to run out, Americans began scouring the internet for different ways to support their favorite local shops during the crisis.
According to Pinterest, searches for “support small business” have increased 351% over the past few weeks as Pinterest users are looking to support one-of-a-kind companies. Google says search interest in “how to support small business” reached an all-time high this month in the U.S. It also launched a small business help center to provide entrepreneurs the resources needed to help them adjust and navigate online marketing, advertising and more.
So what can you do to pitch in? Read on to see everything to know about how you can support your favorite small and local businesses as they work through the economic crisis.
The Pinterest Shop
Check out The Pinterest Shop, a curated dashboard on the app that features profiles and products of hundreds of shoppable pins from 21 U.S.-based sustainable and ethical businesses, including clean beauty brand NakedPoppy, handmade crafted bags by Alma Moda, Prosperity Candle and more.
“As a visual discovery platform, Pinterest gives shoppers the opportunity to find new products, seamlessly buy what they see, and find one-of-a-kind businesses. The Pinterest Shop amplifies and celebrates these small and medium-sized businesses — when they need support more than ever,” Pinterest’s head of global business marketing, Colleen Stauffer, told Women’s Wear Daily.
Etsy’s #StandWithSmall Campaign
With more than 65 million items available from over 2.7 million sellers on the global marketplace, Etsy’s community has helped small businesses get off the ground and thrive — and now, they’re continuing to help them sustain orders.
On April 1, Etsy launched its #StandWithSmall campaign, which reminds shoppers that every purchase made on its platform directly impacts another entrepreneur’s livelihood.
“Stand With Small is only one way we are supporting our sellers during this time. We’re also waiving millions of dollars in advertising fees, providing flexibility around payment schedule, and even speaking directly with US and EU legislators to ensure micro-entrepreneurs are eligible for vital stimulus and aid packages,” said Etsy’s CEO Josh Silverman.
Silverman added, “Unlike mass retailers, when you shop on Etsy, you’re directly making a difference in someone’s life while supporting their creative passion.”
Even though people are shopping more online since storefronts have closed, some fashion and beauty brands are still facing setbacks. “Digitally native [direct-to-consumer] brands should anticipate hardships in the coming months,” eMarketer analyst Oscar Orozco said in a report, according to CNBC.
When you shop directly from a designer or brand’s website rather than a big box retailer, the profits go directly to them and their employees, which is helping making smaller labels stay afloat during this challenging time.
Paige Mycoskie, the Founder and President of California-based loungewear brand Aviator Nation, shared how important online sales currently are to helping her pay her team. “During this shutdown I am committed to paying all of my employees. Each of your orders at this time will go directly toward the wages of our employees so we thank you for continuing to shop with us through this unprecedented crisis. This includes factory workers, hourly retail workers and fulfillment teams,” she said in a statement on Aviator Nation‘s website.
Below, find some small businesses close to PEOPLE Style editors’ hearts that we will be supporting during the crisis.
Hunter Bell NYC
Founded by husband and wife team, Amy and Leo Voloshin in 2017, Voloshin is a line of beautifully and ethically made garments with sustainable hand-printed natural fibers with traditional hand embroidery. The womenswear line is based in Philadelphia and designed by Amy, while most of the garments are produced by skilled artisans in India, with a focus on fair labor and ethics.
Buy It! Voloshin “Rhea” Wrap Top, $118; voloshin.us, “Palladio” Cropped Pants, $96; voloshin.us
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.
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