By Piriyanga Thirunimalan
A lockdown start-up initiative has been helping small businesses to sell and build their brands whilst also fundraising to support small charities.
The Croydon-based Loving Small Business (LSB) is an online initiative that sells subscription boxes consisting of products from small businesses across the country to help build brand-awareness.
Holly McCarthy, 30, from Croydon, initially founded the project on Instagram, where she started off publicising small businesses to help their brand and products gain traction.
However, in October last year she decided that getting the products of small businesses directly into the hands of customers would be the most efficient way to help and so launched subscription boxes.
Ms McCarthy said: “I’ve always supported small businesses and small charities so it was a natural curve for me to go into.
“It was very clear that during lockdown it would be more difficult than usual for small charities to raise money and small businesses to sell products.
“Any business we’ve shared we can vouch for them 100 percent which I’d like to think makes us more passionate in the way that we come across about them.”
Ms McCarthy said that any businesses that feature in the boxes are first researched, with sustainability considerations and products checked, which she feels makes the LSB more authentic.
The LSB has also brought together a community of businesses through social media where marketing strategists and accountants are able to offer small companies advice and help them to network.
The companies are also shared widely on the LSB’s newsletter and blog to help further brand-awareness and each month the subscription boxes are different to promote new companies.
As well as building brand-awareness the LSB also helps these businesses with sales as products are bought in whole-sale to be included in the subscription boxes.
Each month a charity is also chosen and 10 percent of all proceeds are donated towards them, with this month’s charity being Little Lifts UK- a charity supporting people going through treatment for breast cancer.
Home-made jewellery business, Inari Designs, based in Chislehurst, Kent, was founded by Anna Lambe just two years ago, though Ms Lambe has made jewellery as a hobby since age nine.
Her jewellery has featured in the LSB’s Valentines subscription box last month.
Ms Lambe said: “I really loved the idea behind the subscription boxes Holly was making and it was nice to have that platform to showcase what I do.
“I’m starting to see returns in terms of followers and engagement but it’s still early days.
“It’s a brilliant way to get exposure and get your products in front of a wider audience.”
Ms Lambe also stated that she admires the LSB’s focus on charity and their dedication to picking sustainable businesses to represent.
Jordan Clark, 30, is the owner of Pour’di Aromas, a home fragrance business based in Taunton, Somerset.
Ms Clark’s products featured in Ms McCarthy’s Christmas subscription boxes last year and was also the first business to be interviewed in the LSB’s ‘Meet the Makers series’ on Instagram Live.
Ms Clark said: “It was a great opportunity to engage with people and grow our accounts.
“Holly has even built up a community of businesses and is bringing people together from a business perspective and helping us network.
“Off the back of the subscription boxes I’ve had about five or six repeat customers and loads of extra followers.
The LSB is currently preparing its April boxes as the March ones are almost sold out.