Words by Chantelle Muñoz
Graphics by Therese Luna
SMEs make up more than 99% of Filipino businesses and employ more than half of the Filipino workforce. In the time of Covid-19, however, many of them are now struggling to keep their businesses afloat.
We’re all trying our best to make it through the pandemic, and what better way to succeed than to make it through together? We talked to some SMEs about what they’ve done to adjust to today, and how we as consumers can help them power on
1. Buy small, local, and if possible, online.
Even with most malls reopening, many small businesses are still focusing on online transactions for both their safety as well as ours. When making a purchase, consider buying from a small, local business to help them cover important and urgent expenses like employee wages and supplier costs. Buy your groceries from websites like bukidfresh.com or madmarket.com that give local farmers a better avenue to sell their products. When you’re in the mood to shop, browse locally-curated websites like liftlokal.com or thingsthatmatter.ph. Support a friend’s small bakery or food business. No purchase is ever too small to help.
And if you’re dropping by a store, make things easier for businesses by disinfecting and wearing a mask.
2. Support your favorite brands even when they pivot.
Many brands that sell non-essentials have had to pivot to continue operating. More than being quick and nimble, this also required them to have a deeper understanding of present consumer needs and behavior. If a brand you value has had to take a different route during the course of the pandemic, keep supporting them whenever and however you can. Their resilience, creativity, and empathy only gives you more to love.
Swimwear brand Sandy Cheeks stayed true to their ethos of helping people fulfill their true potential with Sandy Kicks, a line of locomotion wear made for swim, exercise, and lazing around, and Sandy Cooks, handwoven tote bags with fresh produce.
3. Order in from small F&B businesses and neighborhood restaurants.
The pandemic has been particularly challenging for brands in the business of food and beverage. Thankfully, many players were quick to adapt and there are now plenty of ways you can get good food delivered straight to your door. If there’s a small food business or restaurant you want to help, why not treat yourself to something delicious while you’re at home? It’s win-win for everyone involved.
4. Back independent artists, musicians, and small creative businesses.
The creative industry was another one hard hit by the pandemic, making independent artists and small businesses particularly vulnerable. For some, the arts may not seem like a priority at a time when we consider non-essentials, well, inessential. But for most, it is in this time of uncertainty where we find solace and hope in nice artwork or heartwarming songs. Projects like Shelter Fund, a platform helping artists and photographers raise funds by selling prints of their work, have received a lot of support, proving that there is room for the arts in our homes and in our our hearts even during the most erratic of times. So support these creatives in any way you can, for they work to make sense of and make beautiful the confusing world we currently live in.
5. Give them a shoutout on- or offline.
Supporting brands we love doesn’t have to be limited to purchases and grand gestures. A mention or tag may seem like a simple thing for consumers, but it’s a big step in empowering smaller brands who don’t have huge marketing budgets and rely heavily on word of mouth. So go on and spread the word, or maybe even message them a good one! The brands you love will be more than thankful for it.
6. Spread some much welcome positivity.
Everyone is understandably feeling a little bit on edge right now. We’re all different levels of stressed and anxious, and that includes people that are working on the frontlines and behind the scenes. So the next time you transact with someone over the counter or even over the phone, remember to be kind, patient, and considerate always. We may never know what someone else is feeling at the moment, but we do know that a bit of love goes a long way.
Today’s world is tough for both people and small businesses. These simple steps are just the beginning of what we can do to empower our SMEs and the people behind them.
If you have more suggestions on how we can help SMEs survive and thrive during this pandemic, visit our Instagram account where we asked this question, and leave a comment to join the conversation. Let’s talk and figure this out together.
Thanks to the following for sharing their insights and thoughts with us. Send some love their way through the links below!
Romina Nañagas of MAD Travel and MAD Market
Jacqe Gutierrez of Happy Skin and BLK Cosmetics
Maika Cruz of Sandy Cheeks, Sandy Kicks, and Sandy Cooks
Jason Go of Manila Creamery
Gabrielle Javier of Wabi Sabi
Fed Pua of It’s Vintage
Bianca Larranaga of Wanderskye