Some of my absolute favorite shops are small, local businesses running on the heart and soul of proud owners. They provide a welcomed sense of community, a “hello” at the door that goes beyond the typical smile-and-wave greeting from other big-name locations. They care about their business, but more importantly, they care about people. That’s a key difference between a small venture and a big-box store, and it’s one of the many reasons why the SHIFT10 initiative was conceived.
The SHIFT10 initiative
Stephanie Riel is the community engagement manager for Scott’s Marketplace — an innovative eCommerce platform geared toward the needs of local small business owners. The team at Scott’s Marketplace saw small businesses struggling to stand out against corporations, so they set out to change the spending behavior of American consumers. SHIFT10 was born.
“The inspiration for SHIFT10 came from a desire to help local businesses in the United States from getting lost in the big-box shuffle (That sounds like a dance, but it’s not.),” says Stephanie. “Enter SHIFT10, a nonprofit initiative that encourages shoppers to shift 10 percent of their everyday spending to local businesses in the U.S.”
Launched in 2016, the first official SHIFT10 Day took place on Oct. 10, 2016 — and they haven’t looked back. When taking this brainchild from dream to reality, selecting a name that reflected their cause was of the utmost importance.
“A name is a powerful thing. (Just ask Madonna or Cher.) Which is why our first steps were to decide the name for the cause and the date for our celebration!”
Name ready, date set, they set out to encourage consumers to shift a percentage of their spending to local businesses. Stephanie says, “It was important for the cause to include the word ‘shift.’ We added the number 10 because research suggests that contributing as little as 10 percent of spending to local businesses can create a large impact for local communities in the U.S.”
Selecting the date was equally important for spreading awareness nationwide. Stephanie explains, “We decided on October 10 (10/10) as SHIFT10 Day each year because of the significance of the number 10 to the cause.”
Obstacles and goals
Entrepreneurs are scrappy — they fight tooth and nail for their businesses, working long hours and putting in work to achieve impossible results. Following suit, Stephanie and her team gave themselves little time between the creation of SHIFT10 and the launch on October 10:
“Since we apparently love a good challenge, we purchased the SHIFT10 domain in April 2016, giving us about six months before SHIFT10 Day was set to take place. This meant we had to develop the SHIFT10 website and brand, as well as spread the word about our initiative to communities across the country, in an overwhelmingly short span of time.”
Fortunately, their resourcefulness paid off, making the inaugural SHIFT10 Day a success. (Stephanie would like thank their sponsors, Coffee and Pinot Noir, for making it possible.) And while their first year was bright, they’re not done yet.
With a goal of 1 million American consumers pledging to shift 10 percent of their spending habits to local businesses, they plan to support community-driven businesses for years to come:
“We’re shooting for SHIFT10 Day to become a household-name holiday (it’s a thing) that serves as a celebration for those who’ve pledged to shift 10 percent of their everyday spending toward local, community-driven businesses year after year … That, and complete, worldwide, shop-local domination. But we don’t want to aim too high.”
We wouldn’t want to forget about that.
Tools for success
Running an initiative is a full-time job, and it’s one that can’t be done properly without the right arsenal of tools. SHIFT10 registered their domain, shift10day.com, through GoDaddy to ensure their online identity was secure. “GoDaddy is an easy and effective way for us to manage our domain name,” Stephanie says. “SHIFT10 is primarily an online event at this time, so our online stability is key.”
To keep things consistent, they went out and registered all social handles under the same moniker. SHIFT10 relies on a handful of social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter along with help from Buffer for social media scheduling and Maropost for email marketing. Stephanie explains:
“We use social media for ongoing promotion and engagement with our target audience on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And tools like Buffer help us get content scheduled easily for our social channels.”
Tools like this help SHIFT10 spread awareness across the globe. And for a brand-new initiative on the verge of taking the world by storm, that level of reliable communication is invaluable. “Without our website and social media channels, we’d have to resort to carrier pigeons to get the word out. (But we heard they’re not all that reliable),” Stephanie says.
Go big, support small
It doesn’t take much to shift 10 percent of your spending to local shops. Chances are, you’re already on your way to making that commitment. The nail salon down the street. Your favorite sandwich shop across from the local coffee house. Self-started gyms. Clothing boutiques and pop-up vendors. No matter how you decided to SHIFT10, your community will appreciate it. And if you’re looking to commit, don’t forget to stop by shift10day.com — you won’t regret it.
Also published on Medium.