“To Indie Week and Beyond” – I should start by saying that I have shamelessly stolen this headline from one of the recent Just a Card Newsletters. But it’s a movie reference, so I love it, and it’s a Toy Story movie reference, so I love it even more!
I can’t quite pinpoint when I first found out about Just A Card, but I know it was quite early on in my small business journey. I remember telling an artist about it at the second stall I ever did, at the beautiful Oakwood Market Square, in Leeds. I still follow the very talented @jo_dunn on Twitter -check out her work!
You should probably go to JustACard.org to check out the official story, but the short version is that the phrase is taken from a notice that was in a closed gallery – “If everyone who had complimented our gallery had bought just a card, we’d still be open.”
It is a harsh fact of any business that compliments don’t count for much. Sure, they’re nice to hear, but they don’t pay the bills, keep the lights on or ultimately keep the business running. There are lots of other ways that you can help a small business if you can’t buy from them, especially with social media. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that if a business doesn’t make money, it can’t survive. This is where the Just A Card philosophy comes in. Every purchase, no matter how small, helps to keep a business going. It applies to every single business in every single sector.
Just A Card often say that their message is more than Just A Card. Two of my favourites are ‘just a cuppa’ and ‘just a cake’, but the list goes on and on. Why buy from a chain when you could help a small business keep going? (and in my case, also make your tummy happy at the same time!)
I’m not going to say that I think big businesses are bad, evil corporations (although I think they should pay their share of tax). I do think that we could share things out a little more evenly. Small businesses often work even harder than big ones for your business and big business often won’t really miss the small purchase that will help a small business keep going. We’re talking about the multi-billion-pound businesses here – even a few million shaved off won’t really hurt their margins, but it would definitely help a lot of small businesses.
I don’t mean to sound too preachy, but this is something that is very close to my heart. My parents raised me to think about these things – my Mum was refusing plastic bags way back in the 80s! The thing is, it’s very easy not to think about it, but when you do, it’s also very easy to make a small change that adds up to a big difference. That’s the message behind Just A Card.
As almost every one of my friends and family told me, I started Cinebling at a hard time for business. The world is definitely going through a lot of change right now, and some of it is bound to be painful. That’s where Just A Card comes in. Running a business is often a solitary occupation, and it’s very easy to feel like there’s no one out there who ‘has your back’. Just A Card do. They’re out there, all day, every day, banging the drum for small businesses like mine, making sure that we have a voice.
Together, we are strong! We can make a big impact on the world. We can hold corporations responsible through the way we spend our money – and we can watch small businesses blossom, too.
If I had to sum up what Just A Card means to me, I’d have to go back to that brilliant movie that we stared with, and say that it means “you’ve got a friend in me.”