Resilience in the Time of the Pandemic is a Collective Struggle
November 24, 2020
Nowadays reports of ecological collapse, climate change and disaster are ubiquitous. It has become obvious to many of us that the way we consume in the industrialized world is unsustainable and creates manifold negative effects on the environment globally.
It’s not always appreciated that small local businesses have really been at the forefront of a very progressive social agenda for quite some time, addressing some of these pressing global problems. While big, established brands often get all the credit, small local businesses are the real social changemakers in almost every city across the United States.
In a nutshell, small businesses support:
Environmental Sustainability: innovative solutions capable of balancing social needs with what’s good for the planet.
Quality: better consumer satisfaction through artisanal products.
Local Resilience: supporting and strengthening local communities.
Fairness: equitably supporting and sustaining workers and their families.
The important work involving consumer awareness raising and education that small businesses in the United States have carried out over the last decade has made a significant global impact. Simply put, first and second generation immigrant-owned small businesses like Monkey Mind would not exist without it. We have found inspiration from the small business ecosystem; learning that we could bring our own experiences, and traditions and create brands that are understood and received well by a conscious audience. In the long run, this helps countries like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - long exploited by the global fast fashion behemoth- shift gradually to more sustainable and equitable forms of manufacturing and marketing; to put people and local communities before profit.
Yet, as 2020 draws to a close with the pandemic still raging across the globe, we are increasingly worried about the rolling back and reversal of these advances. We watch anxiously as big corporations are bailed out and small businesses shutter across the United States and elsewhere. At the same time, we understand that as unemployment and underemployment grows, consumers too are finding themselves hard pressed to make consumption decisions based solely on affordability.
We have an uphill battle in front of us. Small businesses can’t fight for a progressive agenda alone. That’s why we believe that resilience in the time of the pandemic is a collective struggle. As Small Business Saturday approaches, let's resolve to support small businesses, so that in 2021 we still have our favorite businesses supporting communities here and afar.
This Small Business Saturday (November 28th) and this holiday season, here are 3 ways to support small businesses that don't cost a penny!
Offer Your Skills If you’re a photographer,a digital marketing specialist, an accountant, a lawyer, to name just a few, local businesses may welcome your help.
Participate in Community Efforts While the pandemic has left many feeling isolated, local business organizations are trying to fill the void with socially distanced community programs that can spur economic activity. In Long Beach, check out Second Saturdays at Parkview Village, where vendors from Fairtrade Long Beach and other small district businesses will be vending their wares.
Be Social Help bolster a small business by engaging with their social media by “liking” and especially commenting on their Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to help drive traffic to their sites. Reviews of their services or their products are especially welcome as these first-hand experiences help broaden their consumer base. Tag their business in social media posts, take photos of their wonderful products or services, and forward their newsletter to friends and family. Be an evangelist for your favorite small business!
We had the pleasure of speaking with Vikum Rajapakse who is the co-founder of Kantala, an extremely interesting Sri Lankan fashion brand. Kantala does an interesting take on a centuries old Sri Lankan craft tradition: Agave (hana, in local parlance) fiber weaving.