When I did this shoot for Francis + Benedict a few weeks ago I had no idea the state of the world we’d be living in. The Corona pandemic has affected our everyday lifestyle and local businesses, and I don’t think many of us saw it. The messaging of this shoot is so relevant to how we’ve come together as a community. 5 Charleston influencers uniting to promote a small local business by raising awareness and advocating for other communities that need a voice. In a time of uncertainty I see so many people in our community promoting small businesses because this is the foundation of Charleston.
These beautiful African wax print skirts are the brainchild of Katie Walters (middle wearing orange skirt). After visiting a small village in Togo, Africa she connected with the women there and saw an opportunity to produce handmade skirts that could be sold in the US and the money would go back to their community. Francis + Benedict exists to empower and equip skilled Togolese seamstresses by providing them with dignified and sustainable employment. In addition, their profits are used to resource community leaders in Togo, enabling them to continue projects that benefit orphans, widows, and those suffering in poverty. Their handmade clothing marries American style with West African wax print textiles in order to create fashion-forward apparel for the modern woman. They aim to make a lasting global impact by using their love for people and fashion to change communities … One outfit at a time.
I’m wearing the Marigold Mini which is only $78 and you receive 10% off with code ANDREA10.
There are many ways you can support local businesses as a consumer:
- Follow boutiques and brands that you love on social media for special promotions, sales, and accommodations like appointment only styling sessions, curbside pick up, and delivery. If you can’t shop then engage with them on social media and comment an encouraging word.
- Purchase gift certificates you can use for later.
- If you’re a local influencer or fan of their business offer promotions for free on your social media, stories, etc.
- Updates on what local businesses are offering, join the Facebook group CHS Locals Helping Locals
- For the restaurant industry check out Dining at a Distance for current updates on who’s offering take out and delivery. Buy gift cards at your favorite restaurant at Rally For Restaurants.
As a former boutique owner and current entrepreneur and I want to share some tips on how to survive this uncertain time:
- Join the Facebook group CHS Locals Helping Locals.
- Lowcountry Local First offers resources for small businesses.
- Shop Small Ecomm – Launching the world’s first marketplace for small ecommerce brands. You can submit your store to be listed.
- Collaborate with other business owners.
- Be a leader in your community.
- Create your own mastermind by having virtual meetings with other business owners via Zoom or a Google hangout.
- Reach out to local influencers and ask them to promote your business for free.
- Pearl Public Relations is offering free PR and social media consults.
- Offer community assistance – Donate money, supplies raise awareness for organizations such as Charleston Hope and Feeding America.
- Always be authentic and transparent during this time. People connect and support relatability.
I want to encourage people that this too shall pass and we will come out of this stronger. We’ll learn many lessons about humanity, compassion, kindness, and the value of our community.