Searching through discounts at Walmart, Best Buy and other giant companies on Black Friday might be fun, but it’s also important to remember the small businesses that make up the local economy and community. Small Business Saturday, a tradition reminding shoppers to think local, has become an Indianapolis staple.
Two small business owners, Tajuana Hill of Mimosa and a Masterpiece and Jamean Richardson of Sweet J’s Shoetique, share why it’s important to support small businesses in your community but also why they support other small businesses.
Mimosa and a Masterpiece
Mimosa and a Masterpiece offers a fun event, perfect for a weekend. Participants try their hand at painting, work closely with a friendly art instructor, create a painting they take home and have a drink or two along the way.
Hill said the business’ mission is creating “an environment for people to do something they never thought they would be able to do, which is: create a masterpiece.” She got the idea for Mimosa and a Masterpiece from a paint and sip event she attended in Atlanta.
“I left feeling very proud of myself and what I had created, and I knew right then that I wanted to help other people feel how I felt,” Hill said.
Hill was so inspired that she invested a significant amount of a work bonus into the business idea. It was a risk that paid off, as next month marks the seven-year anniversary of Mimosa and a Masterpiece.
Mimosa and a Masterpiece has passionate customers like the “first family,” as Hill affectionately calls them. The family has visited the studio around 20 times, introduced others to Mimosa and a Masterpiece, and they are currently working on a mural with the studio, painting a new section every time they visit.
Sweet J’s Shoetique
Of course, small businesses are not always brick and mortar. In fact, many small businesses such as Sweet J’s Shoetique find it better to stay digital and avoid brick and mortar costs altogether. Sweet J’s Shoetique was born out of a hobby.
“I’ve always loved shoes, always been the one who had a great eye for them, and anytime I would get dressed and go out, I would always get complimented on my shoes,” said Richardson, Sweet J’s Shoetique’s owner.
Richardson’s passion for footwear led to her searching for shoes traditional vendors did not carry. Eventually, so much work went into her search that she decided to turn it into a business. She called her business a “shoetique,” combining the words “shoe” and “boutique,” and started selling online.
Indianapolis residents aren’t Richardson’s only customers.
“For the most part, my customers are from LA, Atlanta, New York and things like that,” she said.
Owning the shoetique offers more travel opportunities than one would expect from a small online business. Richardson often travels to pop-up events to advertise her shoes, visiting business events to beauty shops to promote her shoetique.
Supporting Small Business
Both Hill and Richardson do not only own Indianapolis small businesses, but they also make a point of supporting other small businesses.
“If I have a choice between a small business and a chain, I’m going to choose the small business every time,” Hill said.
Hill gets her nails done and does a lot of her shopping at small businesses. She notes that it is not only a good policy, but also a wise business decision for local small business owners to support each other.
Richardson has several favorite local small businesses, such as Runway Diva Boutique and 28 Boutique. In addition to loving their products, she says it would be hypocritical to not support small businesses when she herself is a small business owner.
“As a business owner, you can’t promote and put out there that local businesses need to be supported when you’re not doing it yourself. You need to take into consideration that you are consumer as well as a business owner,” Richardson said.
Contact staff writer Ben Lashar at 317-762-7848. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminLashar.