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“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb


We’ve all seen the hashtags on social media, newspaper advertisements or television commercials, or at the very least, have heard the term Shop Local.  It sounds simple enough, but just what exactly is Shop Local?  


Shop Local is a movement that was started in efforts to educate consumers everywhere on the importance of buying everyday items from locally owned businesses rather than those nationally owned.  More so, Shop Local was also created to educate consumers on the positive long term impacts such acts create, both in and outside of your community, such as local economic stimulus, creation of more jobs, and reduction of environmental impact, to name a few.  There are many reasons we (yep, we’re guilty of it too) tend to stay in our habits of buying from national chains rather than a local alternative, with two of the most common reasons being price and convenience. It’s often easier (and less time consuming) to swing through a Starbucks drive-through for our morning triple-shot vanilla latte than it is to park and walk into the local coffee shop down the street.  We might think it makes more sense to join a franchise owned gym that offers yoga classes rather than signing up for classes at a local spot, because the big gyms know how to suck us right in with insanely cheap promotions upon sign up (insert Ross and Chandler’s “I wanna quit the gym!” here).


While local businesses throughout the country continued to see a small increase in growth, they weren’t able to tie that growth to the impact of Shop Local, therefore forecasting future growth retention wasn’t really possible, and communities didn’t know if they were truly getting their message of the importance of buying local across to consumers.  Enter Small Business Saturday.


In the midst of the recession in 2010, a company known as American Express (we think you may have heard of them) created Small Business Saturday in efforts to create a louder voice to encourage people to “Shop Small.”  Aww… Look at the big dogs looking out for the little people!  Respect, American Express. Respect.  Designed to be a consumer ‘holiday’ such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which provides an additional focus of bringing more holiday shopping to small businesses.  Not only has this campaign been wildly successful with a reported estimate of $103 billion since 2010’s debut (let that sink in – that’s 103 BILLION DOLLARS spent locally, spread across ONLY NINE DAYS), but it creates fun and engaging ways to get to know the other members of your community, ideally leading to community involvement all year ‘round.  


“This is super exciting information, guys, but what do promotional products and branded merchandise have to do with any of the Small Business Saturday awesomeness?”  

-That’s a great question, and we’re so glad you asked!  The simple answer is EVERYTHING.  


Small Business Saturday isn’t just another shopping day throughout the actively involved communities, it’s a full blown event, and some communities put on one heck of a production that requires months of planning.  It also requires help from voluntary sponsors in order to make it successful, and more than that, to create a magical holiday experience with people of all ages each year. With hundreds, and often thousands, of people attending Small Business Saturday in your community, what better way to get your brand in the hands of all of those people by partnering with local businesses involved and asking how you can be of help and get involved?  Need a few ideas to get you started before reaching out? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a few of our favorite ideas below:



  • Offer to donate cool give-away items branded with your logo that can be handed out to every shopper who comes into each store.
  • Many communities partner with their Chamber of Commerce and set up a welcome tent with tote bags, printed maps of participating businesses and restaurants, and plenty of more promotional items with the event design printed on each to shoppers.  Offer to sponsor an item with your logo also on the item so it’s seen by all.  
  • Better yet, collaborate with other businesses to do joint sponsorships and share the self-promotions while sharing the cost as well. Tote bags are a GREAT idea as you can print the event design on one side, and your logo (or various sponsor logos) on the other side.  Since tote bags are one of the most widely kept promotional products by recipients, this provides ultimate, long term advertisement of your brand.
  • Set up your own station for first-hand participation of the fun! Have a contact sheet and give out a tee shirt (co-branded with the event design as well as your logo) to anyone who writes down their contact info, giving you a new directory of people to reach out to after the fact offering your business’ services.



We could go on, and while we’re only a few days away from Small Business Saturday 2019, we encourage you to head out to your community’s event this weekend and get ideas for how you can participate next year.  It’s never too early to start planning ways to give back to your community, and Brand-On is here to offer more ideas of promotional products unique to your brand to get a jump start on Small Business Saturday 2020.

You can find more information on Small Business Saturdays here: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/?link nav=us-loy-nava-shop small button and to see a list of communities in your area that are participating this Saturday, November 30th, go to: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/rally-list?linknav=us-loy-shopsmall-footer-ncrally 

For more ideas on how we can help you amplify your image, go to brand-on.us/contact-us/ where you can also subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest on sales, product releases, industry news and more.  Don’t forget to follow us on instagram using the handle @brand_on.life – all the cool kids are doing it.