Category Archives for Inspiration & Rambling

Shopping at Big Box Stores Support Small Businesses Too…

It's the week of Thanksgiving here in the US and that means lots of food, family gatherings and shopping.  Thanksgiving Thursday is followed by Black Friday – the day retailers hope to “be in the black” – as in, making money.  It's to official kick-off of the holiday shopping season.

small business saturdayThen comes Small Business Saturday… Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation.  There are lots of images floating around Facebook… like this one. (I couldn't find the original creator or source of the image – it isn't mine, no copyright violation is intended)

While I like the basic concept, there is definitely some black-and-white thinking that I feel compelled to address.

Specifically – “Let's make sure our money goes to individual people and not multinational companies.”

Well… multinational companies aren't just nameless, faceless money funnels.  They need a lot of people, resources, etc to survive.  And many, many small businesses are helped when you shop at places like WalMart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe's and more…

THIS small business owner, for example.  And many of my friends and clients.

I am ONE PERSON, working out of a home office, making a living, paying my bills and taxes and contributing to my community.  I do art that goes on products that are primarily sold in large chain stores… so if you boycott “multinational companies” – this artist is going to be in a world of hurt.

Many of my clients, who are vendors to the big stores, are US based small businesses.  Their livelihoods are also tied to big stores.

I'm not saying don't go to that craft fair or locally owned hair salon – don't get me wrong.  But I think the message is getting a little too cut and dry – David vs. Goliath if you will.  Goliath supports a lot of David's in this new world economy.

How about we all “mix it up” this holiday season?  Don't ONLY shop at WalMart but don't avoid it out of principle either.

Napkins at Walmart - 2014While we are on the subject of WalMart, if you do find yourself in there, look for these cocktail napkins – designed by me.  Manufactured by a company in Philadelphia.  Moved around to all the locations by trucking companies who bought gas, food and probably coffee, all across country.   If your WalMart has canvas wall art for Christmas, you might be supporting my friend Jennifer Pugh – another one-woman artist business out of Utah.  Her family thanks you for your support as well.

Be changed but don’t be reduced…

Quote by Maya Angelou

I saw this quote on Twitter the other day and was struck and inspired by it.  It is yet another reminder that while we can't control everything in our lives, we can always control our reaction and affect the outcome.

Everyone has gone through something – or many things – that could have turned them down a road of bitterness, defeat, depression and anger.  Some go happily down that road and build a house and stay there.

Others take the road that is a little harder in the short term but makes for a happier life in the long term.   Work through the pain and find the lesson.  Become stronger and wiser and learn to forgive.

This Saturday marks 10 years since my ex-husband and I decided to divorce.  10 years ago I was a puddle of a person – I felt sick to my stomach for months and couldn't eat.  I lost some weight and a neighbor told me “Divorce looks good on you!”  That was even more depressing because I knew that at some point I'd eat again and what would that mean?? 🙂  I had a 10 year old son to stabilize and my own sense of being to recover.

I look back and still remember how hard it was but am also amazed and proud of where I am now.  I'm proud of how my ex and I put our son first and never in the middle.  I am stronger for the experience – but now look for more productive and gentler ways to build my strength. 🙂

Another huge life event that could have gone either way for me and my family emotionally is the more recent and still present experience with my dad and his “journey” with Alzheimer's.  We went through all of the usual emotions – disbelief, questioning, despair, fear… and now I have come to a place of relative peace.  Rallying against Alzheimer's doesn't help.  Accepting it and showing up where my dad needs me to be – either talking or sitting quietly, playing dominoes or looking at flash cards and talking about trips – that is a more peaceful way to be.

My wish for you (and for me) is that we meet our experiences and challenges with grace and an open mind.  Allow them to change us for the better but never reduce us.

Thank you Maya Angelou for these wise words.

– Tara Reed