It’s a fabulous idea to support your local community—business owners in your neighborhood who provide a pure American-made product or service—by purchasing their goods on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I also praise American Express for launching the movement, especially as it benefits the company if shoppers use their American Express card to make their purchases. But how do you shop the other 364 days of the year? Will you continue to support the local businesses—I hope so—or will you expand your purchases to include all over the world? My proposal is to launch a Global Small Business Sunday, the day after Small Business Saturday, so that all small businesses go global with their purchases! Here’s how.
Global Small Business Sunday: Shop the Planet
Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a day dedicated to supporting global small businesses the world over. Instead of more than 100 million people coming together to ShopSmall®, let’s gather a billion people (and yes, still use those American Express cards along with others!) to ShopPlanet.
I approached this concept by selecting the top seven countries in the world that are easiest in which to do business (refer to World Bank’s Group ranking of economies: www.doingbusiness.org/rankings). Then, I conducted an online search for best gift products in a country. Here are the results.
“Singapore’s ‘best of the year’ gift guide” (CNN Travel: http://travel.cnn.com/singapore/shop/singapores-best-year-gift-guide-675995). Here you’ll find books, music, furniture and board games (Pictionary, the Singapore edition).
ShopPlanet by visiting the Chocolate Research Facility (beware, construction underway): www.chocolateresearchfacility.com/
2. Hong Kong
Try Best Hong Kong Souvenirs, (http://gohongkong.about.com/od/shoppinginhk/tp/Best6Souvenirs.htm) where you will find tea, suits, porcelain and more.
ShopPlanet with MingCha Limited tea: www.mingcha.com.hk/
3. New Zealand
ShopPlanet with fine Kiwi Poo (shhh … these are chocolate coated raisins—oh, what a sense of humor those New Zealanders have!): www.newzealandsouvenirs.com/index.php/candy-food/kiwi-pooh-kpo.html
4. United States
I was curious as to what the results would be when I searched for the best gift products in the United States. To my surprise, National Geographic popped up with a lovely online store For History Lovers (http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/category/gifts/gifts-by-recipient/for-history-lover) featuring wool WWII military sweaters, sheepskin B-3 flight jackets and Roman glass jewelry, to name just a few of the novel items. Be careful though because not all items are made in America!
If buying 100% American-made items is an issue, try Made In USA Challenge: Awesome Products Made in America (http://madeinusachallenge.com/) and Gifts Made In USA (www.americansworking.com/gifts.html).
ShopPlanet by looking for items from Denmark with Terri Mape’s “7 Danish Gift Ideas” (http://goscandinavia.about.com/od/christmastraditions/tp/Danish-Gift-Ideas.htm) where you will find Danish wool sweaters, flag ornaments, food and more. How about a shortcut straight to Denmark? Try the Danish Shop: Danish Art and Christmas Shop (http://www.dkglobal.dk/). And to source a product to import in volume for your import/export business, visit the official website of Denmark (http://denmark.dk/).
When you think of Norway, you think of handcrafted ornaments (especially holiday), sweaters, mittens and jewelry, to name just a few Norwegian images that come to mind. To ShopPlanet, try Gifts of Norway (www.giftsofnorway.com/) or do a little web shopping at Shopping in Voss: Norway Official Travel Guide (www.visitnorway.com/en/Where-to-go/Fjord-Norway/Voss/What-to-do-in-Voss/Shopping-in-Voss/).
7. United Kingdom
Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop (www.thebodyshop.co.uk/), would be disappointed, to say the least, if I did not highlight her business first under the UK banner. While The Body Shop has retail locations all over the world, it’s still worth a visit to her website to learn more about the history of The Body Shop and discover new products ready for worldwide launch.
And if that’s not enough to get you global, try Shopify Stores Made in the United Kingdom, (www.shopify.com/blog/6274432-18-beautiful-shopify-stores-made-in-the-united-kingdom) where you will find sunglasses, women’s clothing and men’s fashions. Take a peek at Noa Noa Collection (www.noanoahenley.com/pages/collections).
By strictly buying local, you are shortchanging opportunities to grow for yourself and your business. With a digital device that connects to the world, you can easily ShopPlanet. What are you waiting for? Join me online Sunday. We can shop the world together. See you there!