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Piano Lessons, Toddler Meals, & 16 Other Things You're Supporting When You Shop Small

You've likely seen a meme or two about how a purchase from a small business helps a mom put food on the table or pay for ballet lessons for her child. Well according to these 18 small business owners on what you're supporting when you support them, the sentiment in those social media posts absolutely rings true. These owners' words prove that buying small does so much more than just pad their pocketbooks.

Owning a business can be an absolute rollercoaster ride filled with more ups and downs than you might imagine. During the current pandemic though, many small business owners feel like they're riding that very same coaster in the middle of a category 5 hurricane as the economy has been all but shut down. Fortunately, community support can be a shining beacon of light in the middle of this chaotic storm.

Whether it's paying their employees a fair wage, supporting their children, or even giving back to their own community during trying times, these small business owners use the income generated from their sales in real, tangible ways. So, the next time you add something to your shopping cart, take a moment to remember the power of your purchase.


You're Supporting Their Daughter's Piano Lessons

"When someone buys a baby book from my small business, I'm able to pay for my little girl's piano lessons," Tracey Fouché, co-founder and CEO of The Short Years Baby Books and App tells Romper. "It is something she is very passionate about and without the support from our customers right now, it is not something I would be able to provide for her."


You're Supporting The Meals For A Toddler Of A Single Mom

Mary McAuley, founder of Ripe Life Wines, says that purchases from her small business help her ensure that her toddler maintains a healthy diet despite not being able to grocery shop as usual as a single mom.

"Someone buying my wine is paying for my toddler's delivery food from Yumly," she tells Romper. "As a single mom running my own business from home, I can’t leave the house (he’s too crazy in stores and I can’t leave him in the car while I run in) to go food shopping, so groceries have to get delivered. But I also now — with him constantly getting into mischief and on the verge of hurting himself as he’s a curious and active 16-month-old — have no time to really meal prep or cook because I have to use his nap time and sleep time to do my work to keep my business afloat."


You're Supporting Their Employees' Rent & Children

"Due to support from our loyal customers, we have yet to lay off any employees," Extract Labs founder Craig Henderson tells Romper. "By supporting our business, our customers are helping our employees pay their rent, keep their children fed, and ensuring that we don’t fall behind on any of our bills."


You're Supporting Doctors & Nurses On The Frontline

"At Eat Like A Woman, every purchase allows us the opportunity to donate nutrition bars to fuel our doctors/nurses on the frontline," Staness Jonekos, founder and CEO of Eat Like A Woman tells Romper. In the last few weeks, the brand has donated thousands of nutrition bars to hospitals and food banks to help support medical workers and struggling families during the pandemic.


You're Supporting The Circle Of Small Businesses

"When someone makes a purchase from Hudson Candle, it gets immediately recirculated into another small business. Often, the momentum acts as a flow-through to perhaps a meal for my family from a local restaurant or other essential services," Kristin DAliso founder of Hudson Candle Company tells Romper. "My aim is to circulate whatever comes my way, back into the network of what helps us thrive. I think in this challenging time of COVID-19, we as business owners have a responsibility to keep it full circle."


You're Supporting The Most Vulnerable Employees

Jennifer McKay Newton, founder and CEO of DefineMe Fragrance, tells Romper that the ability to pay their employees is their number one priority.

"We have a brother and sister that work for us, both their parents are handicapped and unable to work. If they didn’t receive a paycheck, their whole family would be in trouble," she tells Romper. "I also think about Megan, our 24-year-old product designer and artist, who just before the quarantine left a bad relationship and settled into her own apartment. I don’t know what’s in her bank account, but at the beginning of the quarantine, I could hear the worry in her voice. I told them I would do everything I could to keep paying their salary, and I’ve made a commitment to keep everyone safe. It’s a lot of pressure but it's the responsibility that keeps me motivated every single day."


You're Supporting Their Family's Insurance

"We are three parents on a mission to bring affordable and innovative baby goods and gear to parents everywhere. Sales of our line cover household expenses from mortgage, electricity, food, and health insurance," Michael Georgacopoulos, Tom Siano, and Angela Tang, founders of The Evolved Parent Co. tell Romper. "With a majority of our retail partners closed or seeing a decrease in business, we are relying heavily on online sales to keep up."


You're Supporting Their Charity Work

"When you support a small business like Tiny Tags, you are supporting families," Melissa Clayton, founder and creative director of Tiny Tags tells Romper. "During this crisis, we are committed to keeping our team together and not have layoffs. Providing paychecks to our team allows them to continue paying their mortgage or rent, buy groceries, and pay utilities. Additionally, supporting a small business helps us support charities like Good + Foundation who are helping families in need during this crisis."


You're Supporting Local Food Banks

"When someone buys a bag of FoodieKid's Simple Starters, it not only brings in direct revenue for our business, but also allows us to give back to our community by providing free organic baby meals to local food banks, and sponsoring free online learning content for moms and young children at this challenging time," Christine Topalian Agha tells Romper.


You're Supporting Zoom Dance Classes For Kids

"When a parent pays their tuition at Dance Expressions, it allows our studio to keep all of our teachers and staff on our payroll while we provide Zoom classes," Jennifer Smith, owner of Dance Expressions, a dance studio in Friendswood, Texas tells Romper. "Some of our teachers have families and use their pay to support their families, while others are college students and their job at the studio pays for their tuition. The studio itself pays for the rent of the building, so we have a facility to come back to and they don’t lose their studio forever."


You're Supporting Creativity

"Every purchase made right now is simply keeping us in business and allowing myself and my team to stay creative and find some light in all of this," Angelica Demiris, founder of card company ACouplePuns tells Romper.


You're Supporting Their Dreams

"As a founder of a self-funded startup, I do not take a dime from my company. In fact, I work full-time to support and grow this new business. During this time, I am even more appreciative of every purchase, as I know times are tough for many," Color Reinholz founder of women's accessory brand Eila Chérie tells Romper. "My styles are price inclusive and every time someone makes a purchase from Eila Chérie, they help me to keep my dream alive."


You're Supporting Future Jobs

"I’ve never felt a greater responsibility to take care of our employees than now," Melanie Hurley, founder of the natural nail polish Piggy Paint tells Romper. "As a small business owner, our employees are like family. Supporting Piggy Paint means you’re directly supporting current and future jobs for the wonderful, hard-working people in our Lowell, AR warehouse that need and depend on jobs."


You're Supporting Living Expenses

"Being in the outdoor/travel industry, we have been heavily affected by the lockdowns because of the global travel ban. Our main focus is trying to keep as much of our team onboard," Jacky Lam and Volkan Ozbek of the sand-free beach towel company Tesalate tell Romper. "Because of this, towel purchases significantly contribute to us being able to continue paying our employees' salaries. This helps each individual team member continue to afford their living expenses, especially during these uncertain times."


You're Supporting Their Supply Chain

"COVID-19 has been extremely challenging," Amy Chesnut, Owner of Sonoma Wool Company tells Romper. "We are a small, lean family-run business, so each and every purchase of a Sonoma Wool Company product makes a huge impact on not only our survival, but the survival of hundreds of others in our product chain throughout the United States — from the families raising the sheep, to the traveling sheep shearers, the wool washers in Texas, the wool carders in California, and the wool mill workers in Maine, and all of their families. We are full of gratitude each time someone finds our website and purchases our all-natural American made products."


You're Supporting The Allergy Community

"When someone makes a purchase from Kip's, it enables us to keep our (virtual) doors open, helping to make up for lack of orders from shuttered wholesale accounts so that we can continue to serve the allergy community," Jenny Stackle, founder and owner of Kip's Allergy Friendly Snacks, tells Romper.


You're Supporting Their Employees' Livelihood

"We are able to keep our business running and continue to provide baby essential products to all our customers and continue our mission of creating wonderful parent and child moments together," Jane and Ivan of KeaBabies, an online retailer for baby and pregnancy necessities, tells Romper. "We are, of course, able to continue paying our suppliers, our team and also keep jobs when a customer makes a purchase from us, which keeps our business operation going in this COVID-19 pandemic."


You're Supporting *People*

Michelle Weinberger, founder of the brand Mom You’re So Annoying tells Romper that supporting her small business doesn't just impact her family, but the families of the small businesses her business buys from.

"When someone makes a purchase from us, so many great things happen: we can pay the rent in our office, we can pay the utility bill, we can pay ourselves a little salary that helps our family (food, mortgage and fun)," she says. "But just as important — we love to think about the echo it also creates. We have to buy raw goods like blank t-shirts or pay local screen printers in order to decorate our products. All of our suppliers are U.S.-based companies and as we pay them for our goods and services, we know they can then, in turn, pay their rent, their utilities, and take a small salary that helps their families. It’s really true — one purchase from our small business helps not only us and our families, but so many others downstream from us as well."

We are shining a spotlight on some of the millions of small businesses now challenged by COVID-19. This is part of an ongoing commitment our parent company, Bustle Digital Group, is making to support small businesses throughout the entire month of May. Tell us about your favorite small business on social media using #SmallBusinessSalutes.