How to Keep the Money Flowing Between Us and Support Local Businesses

I get asked a lot about ways to help support fellow BRA Members.

After all, we’re a strong community of empowered women and non-binary entrepreneurs and supporting each other is what we do best. Sometimes that means product or event collaborations, sharing each other’s content on social media, or even throwing back a few drinks and blowing off steam at a BRA event

But what’s the easiest, most direct way to support each other?

Keep the money flowing between us!

As women, moms, business owners, and heads of household, statistically most of us get to choose where our dollars go. And with every dollar you invest in another female or non-binary entrepreneur, you strengthen our community.

But you don’t need to have oodles of money to do this, just the right mindset.

Here are a few tips to help you keep the money flowing between us…

1. Get over sticker shock.

Shopping local often ain’t cheap, and it’s important to acknowledge that. We’re lucky and proud to support many BRA Members who make and sell their products right here in Los Angeles.

They head down to the garment district, wheel and deal over the cost of fabrics and textiles to get their customers the best prices, and then they actually have to make the damn thing.

After all of the energy and effort that goes into manufacturing products locally and in small quantities, they deserve to turn a profit. You just can’t have Walmart prices when you make and source your products locally.

2. Shop small, shop local.

It’s up to us as consumers to figure out how to balance supporting local brands within our individual budgets, and buying boutique is typically better for everyone.

Start by setting realistic expectations for yourself, whether you’re doing your holiday shopping or just buying a few select pieces for your more sustainable wardrobe.

You won’t necessarily always be able to support a local business, but you can start making a more concerted effort and you’ll be happy you did in the long run when your locally sourced item far outlasts the item you would have bought that came cheaply made from overseas (probably in a sweatshop…just sayin’).

Shopping small and shopping local keeps the money in our neighborhood economy. We flourish because we have each other. Not only are boutique products typically of a superior quality, but the carbon footprint is usually smaller when you go this route AND you won’t be feeding into the problems that fast fashion (or other similar issues in any industry imaginable) creates. Talk about a feel-good purchase.

Shopping small only takes a tiny bit more effort, but the purchase is much more meaningful.

Of course, many of us love Target for the essentials. Personally, I love my Method hand soap, but sometimes I find myself pausing in various aisles of the store thinking, “I know who I could get this greeting card from,” or “I know a BRA Member who makes these earrings.”

All it takes is a few extra minutes to make two shopping lists and support a local business by buying things you already planned to get.

3. Stop giving away your shit for free.

Seriously. When you give away your products or services for free, you are prostituting all of us.

I’ll say it again. Make sure you’re listening. Stop giving away your skills, talents, and expertise for FREE.

Sure, give samples for free to introduce new people to your work, but don’t give away the whole damn thing you’ve spent months working so hard on.

First and foremost, you’re being unkind to yourself by undervaluing YOU, your work, and your time.

Second of all, it undervalues all of us. You’re not doing anyone any favors by handing your shit out.

Third, friends don’t ask for things for free – they respect and understand how hard you work and want to support your business. That’s why they are our friends.

So trade, barter, exchange, give a discount, but don’t design someone’s home or website for free.

Oh, was I supposed to sugarcoat that? Ha! Nope.

I know what I’ve suggested here requires a little extra planning, budgeting and sometimes a little self-restraint, but I really believe that we can maximize our community’s potential by supporting one another. This is exactly why one of the core value of BRA Network is we hire each other first! (Check out the BRA Member Directory for your hiring and shopping needs before going elsewhere.)

Now get out there and start spending consciously.

You’ll be happy you did.

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