On Supporting Small Business

Velvet bird 1Velvet bird 2Velvet bird 3Velvet bird 4Velvet bird 5For the past three years I have supported myself solely on an income from my small business. It hasn't always been easy, but I'll never regret it. I've learned so much about work ethic, celcebrating each small step and countless lessons learned the hard way. The truth is that all small businesses are incredibly hard work. Each one has it's own set of struggles, hopes, dreams and fears. Through all of this, I've learned how incredibly important support is! I wouldn't be where I am today without the loyal support my my friends, family and blog readers. Because of this it's very important to me to support other small business owners whenever possible. Buying handmade, vintage and local… theses are topics I could talk all day about. It's such a wonderul feeling to support people who you believe in. I would love to encourage you to support small businesses this Holiday season! It's a magical way to give back to people who take big risks to bring something special to the marketplace… like this dress I'm wearing today. xo. elsie

Outfit Details: Dress/The Velvet Bird (yep! it's handmade!), Shoes c/o ModCloth, glasses/UO, Cardigan/hand-me-down from Missy. 

  • I am so happy that you have had the support you needed to be able to live doing something that makes you happy and fulfilled. I can imagine nothing better. =)

    Kindness is the best accessory,

  • Hi Elsie,
    This is a lovely post! It’s wonderful that you’ve made your living as a small business owner and stay true to your beliefs. Thanks for spreading the love, I am learning more and more every day how important it is to support small businesses.
    Your dress is lovely btw!

  • I always love to support small businesses. My father was a small business owner and it was always nice to see how he created a customer base of regulars that would only buy his furniture. It takes a risk taker with a vision.

  • Well said Chicken, we are a little behind you US girls with our handmade and vintage though, we could do with a few more Etsy sellers in the UK x x

  • People who take big risks to bring something special to the marketplace – absolutely perfect way to describe small business owners! My family has owned a pottery studio for over 30 years, so I absolutely know the struggle and dedication it takes to make a small business work and grow! I can’t wait to make a trip out to your store, Elsie!


  • This is a lovely post, I’m glad you’re happy with your choice to be a small business owner.. you are very inspiring!

    Also, your dress is very cute.. I love stuff like that, and I always try to buy handmade or vintage when I want something special xx

  • Small business is so important to the economy. It’s how everything began. And small business is always more focused on the local consumer. It is more tailored to YOU. As opening up a my own business is a dream of mine, I will most definitely support as many local businesses as I have family members this holiday season. Merry Christmas!

  • Absolutely. I am trying to make this Christmas handmade and small business buying as much as I possibly can.

    I have jsut opened a little etsy shopping selling a few bits for Christmas time, and just to make a few pennies from each purchase is an absolute joy for me. I could get to like this very much!


  • Ahh!! Elsie….this is just the best thing I’ve read in a very VERY long time. It can feel scary sometimes trying to do your own thing and not just going out and getting a “real” job. My heart is so full right now it just might explode! You are such a sweet, genuine, and one of a kind person. I have really appreciated your support and advice, thank you so SO very much!


  • I guess I’m a small business (at http://christaterry.com) but I haven’t gotten things off the ground yet. End goal is definitely to support myself – well, bring in the $ to help my family enough to quit my reg. job – but I’m in the position where I’m not local and there are so many people who do what I do for cheap in other countries. Makes it hard to get by!

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  • Thanks for your inspiring message today. My resolution for this Christmas is to buy as many gifts as possible locally from independent shops. So far, so good!

  • Firstly, you look adorable! Daily, I’m in awe of your motivation and inspiration. Thank you for that. You have made a lot of like minded people believe in themselves, their skills, their dreams…maybe for the first time, maybe again.
    Thanks Elsie!
    Your always supportive blog reader/experiencer,

  • I love what you wrote, and I believe in supporting small businesses 100%!

    You brought up such a valid point that small businesses take a risk—and that in return they truly are bringing something unique to the marketplace.

    My favorite treasures are from small businesses—so in the spirit of support I will definitely continue to support local businesses for the Holidays!



  • I love this post! I am a small business owner too and have worked so hard on my little brand! We are all so unique too, imagine how boring everything would be if there were no small quirky brands out there!

    Kate Garey

  • Great message, straight from the proverbial animal’s mouth! I just ordered my kids’ teacher’s Christmas gifts from a favorite Etsy shop last night! :>

  • This is a great post, and I totally agree! My friends and I recently started selling our handmade goods, and I never realized how difficult it is to get those types of things up and running! It totally gives me a new appreciation for everyone that is doing the same! Plus, it feels so great to buy something you know someone put a lot of hard work into!

  • I wish more people would support small businesses. I’ve made it my goal this year to purchase all of my Christmas Gifts from small/local businesses!

    I think it means so much more!

  • great post! i love to support local businesses as well; i much prefer to buy from a unique store than from one i could find just about anywhere.

  • Such a great post, Elsie. Your dress is beautiful, and I think it’s great that you are supporting and promoting small businesses too. Tis the season of shopping small! :]

  • i just have to say, i have enjoyed watching your business grow over the last year so much. your stories are so inspiring and you’ve awoken a passion in me that i didnt know i had. I’m currently working on laying down foot work to start my own small business, and im so excited (and scared)! this post seemed like a great opportunity to say thanks, so thanks!

  • Great message 🙂 love this outfit, the plaid, the colours, the shoes. Everything works so well together!

    Em K

  • kudos. a few many of my dad’s family/cousins are entrepeneurs/small business owners and i really admire it. it is a lot of hard work!

    keep up the great work.!!!

  • I totally agree. I think giving handmade makes the gift so much more special, and it’s likely you won’t find anything like it in the mainstream shops. There are so many benefits to shopping through independent businesses, and you won’t find a more personal and personable shopping experience at any corporation!

  • I would love to make a commitment this season to support handmade/local. It would be a good exercise for me 🙂 Thank you for all your inspiring hard work Elsie and team!

    xo, Brittan

  • You are just adorable! I love the idea of supporting small business because that is how my father raised, fed, clothed, and private schooled his children! His small business had its ups and downs, but he always managed with that work ethic that you speak of! Congratulations on all of your success and your success yet to come!

  • I appreciate this message so much, especially since I’m opening the doors of my own small business next week! Its so important that everyone supports their local businesses! Thank you for the inspiring words:)

  • I agree!! I’m a small business owner myself, and I find that when I shop at other small businesses I get more unique items of much better quality than at “mall shops” or where things are mass produced! I love items that have heart.
    Here’s to small businesses, and small business owners everywhere!!

  • I think it’s really important to support small businesses and this holiday season I’m trying to shop handmade as much as possible! I’ve also created a new blog series of gift guides to encourage my readers to shop small too 😀

  • I just have to say, reading your blog and seeing how you put this business together has been such and inspiration to me, and it makes me feel like, if she can do it, so can I! 🙂

  • Yeah Elsie

    I am a small business also and I completely agree with you we should support one another.

    Sometimes small businesses become worried that if they promote one another there customer base will shrink. I disagree I believe the more we support and promote one another the larer and stronger the handmade independant market will become!
    Buy handmade this Christmas

    Take care and keep succeeding!
    Nicolette xo

  • The post strikes right notes but can I comment on this bit: “The truth is that all small businesses are incredibly hard work” – this does not always have to be the case, in fact, I think anyone setting out to set up their own small business should start with a mindset that it will not be hard work at all but rather fun and an experience.

  • I agree too! I’m considering making one of my resolutions for 2012 to be that I will only give gifts that I made myself or bought through a small business.

    My experience is that at small businesses the customer service i usually so much better because the workers have a vested interest in what they are doing.

  • Thnak you for this post.
    Although my business is completely different to yours, I have to say that since I discovered your blog you are an inspiration to me. How you believe in what you are doing, and how hard work can make you succeed.
    I still find it hard somedays, when I’m having a bad patch with no work coming through, but, I’m determined and that is what counts.
    As you say, since I started my own business I started to think also of the benefits of buying local, it’s so much more rewarding!!


  • I couldn’t agree more!! I’ve been supporting myself on my business for the past 3 years and though it’s had it’s major ups and downs it’s been 100% worth it. I count my blessings every day and am so grateful for the customers who believe in supporting small businesses.

  • These days all businesses should have an online presence. The longer you leave it the more work will be required at a later date to enhance your online reputation and make sure that your business is showing up frequently within the search engine results.

  • you post totally inspired an existential moment for me!!! I am in the midst of applying to colleges and I have to choose which courses to write about for most… After reading your blog post, I realized! I want to own my own fair trade business after college! Its what I am passionate about: local, handmade, communicating care and love to those who make our clothing… thanks so much! Local is the best! keep up the awesome work


  • Hey Mrs. Larson,

    First: I think you would make an AWESOME Daria. Check out this picture (http://sodespair.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4grk38); Emma could totally be Jane. Next Halloween I’m asking my hairstylist to give me your bangs so I can be Daria myself. ; )

    Second: Great post about small businesses. I try my best to buy from them every chance I get. Not only is it a great thing to do (and make more meaningful gifts!), but the quality is so. much. better. than anything in the stores these days (i.e. Red Velvet).

  • I wholeheartedly agree, Elsie. It’s all hard work, and I personally have still got a lot to learn, but already I have had so many small successes and mini triumphs in my small business. Even though it’s not big enough to be my sole income, I have goals and ambitions, and am determined to get there! Slowly but surely, petit a petit!
    Katie. xxx

  • We always support small business…. small business makes this world run and my business is one of them.. its a wonderful satisfaction one receives when one starts with nothing and turns it into a viable business…. love your blog!

  • That is a gorgeous dress, and I agree that supporting small businesses is important! I am making more of an effort to buy things from other small business, although it’s a little hard since I’m just starting out. Anyways, you look absolutely lovely Elsie, That bright green cardigan is a really nice touch, and you are truly such a huge inspiration to me, and to so many people 🙂

  • My wife loves and supports the local and vintage stuff her friend sells in her small business. And it’s even cooler because more and more people are into buying vintage and handmade stuff from these small business owners.

  • I totally agree with supporting small business, and this year I am trying my best to. I was wondering if anyone could suggest some online small businesses to check out for gifts!

  • Gosh, it’s been busy around here. Between work initiatives, holiday parties, shopping, wrapping, and being a mom, there wasn’t much time left over. I’m going to try and do some catch up within the next few days. We had a lovely Christmas holiday, and especially enjoyed starting new traditions with our kids. (first year with kid(s) in the plural!) As always, I enjoyed decorating and wrapping, and let E get in and help a little.

  • Hi, I’m one of the people who seatrtd the Mellencamp for Senate idea, just wanted to thank you for joining the debate, and respond to some of your points.It’s going to be tough to keep the rich guys out of government, and in terms of John Mellencamp’s family, hey, maybe the old saying that the best way to make a fortune is to start with one, is true.But I do think that one thing about Mellencamp as a Senator would be that he would probably work for the interests of ordinary people, which is what few of the Republicans or “Moderate” Dems are doing right now. I don’t think he’d be in there changing the copyright or FCC rules so that he and his old white rocker buddies could rake in the dough once he left, or turn to being a lobbyist for the music industry…Ordinary people are in a tough spot here, whether they’re Republican or Democrat. Money and power are driving the bus in Washington, and it’s come to the point where I’m not sure we can even turn things around. (For the past 10 years, corporate interests and even politicians like Dick Cheney have been making investments that essentially bet against the American people. I could go on and on, sorry.)If Mellencamp runs, it won’t really be on any ticket–he’s got the cash to just run as himself. But what we all need to be looking for here is people who will really represent and work for ordinary people, not just make meaningless speeches while they secretly polish the chrome on the revolving door between govt and corporate interests. My representative can be a rich guy, as long as he doesn’t act like one when he votes–and I think Mellencamp might do a pretty good job of actually voting on behalf of ordinary Americans.Again, thanks for taking the time to even consider the idea!

  • Great photo of you two dancing. I have never been to a rock coernct. I grew up in the Disco era, and loved to dance in nightclubs to Donna Summer, Gladys Night and the Pips, etc. I thoght it funny how you described some of those attending in their canes and wheelchairs. Makes me feel older ,just hearing that.

  • Oh my gosh! Your art is AMAZING! Where do you get your inspiration? I’ve recnltey started altered art, but I can’t seem to get any projects to work yet… 🙁

  • I think it is high time for Mom and Dad to do something like this. The last time they went to antyhing not resembling classical music or 4-part a capella (to my knowledge) was when they went to see Peter, Paul, and Mary on their honeymoon. (I think I am remembering that correctly).

  • Shirley,That’s a good idea. I shall keep it in mind for a future blog post, ahugotlh I’m blogging less due to finishing my manuscript revisions, and vacation to some Florida islands off Ft. Myers at the end of August. Do you know Pine Island, Sanibel Island, etc?

  • Your memories of the Disco era might make a good blog post, Sonia. And yes, the cceonrt did make me feel old, but ironically, it also brought back a piece of youth I had missed. Strange combination.

  • Too bad there weren’t enough seats on Stevens’ plane for the whole enitre *SPIT* republic party to be on it! Can you imagine the peace our country would have felt after that plane went down?kayinmaine says: August 14, 2010 at 6:32 PM George Bush lied our nation into an illegal occupation that cost hundreds of thousands of lives against a country whose military was non-existent. The only “military” there was the Republican Guard who protected Saddam Hussein. Only *SPIT* American right wing bullies would attack a defenseless nation!kayinmaine says: August 15, 2010 at 8:30 AM Ronnie Reagan LOVED the Taliban! Every time our nation has a *SPIT* republican president or has their Neocon Nazis in control of our Congress, our nation plummets into Hate, Facism and Rascism !

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