A few years ago I was walking along the river Taff, contemplating those phrases you see a lot on social media: 'every time you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little dance'; 'shop small'; 'shop independent'; 'vote with your money', etc. I'd heard these phrases a little before I started my own small business, but it wasn't until after setting up Delicious Monster Tea that I began to fully understand the emotion that sits behind each and every sale.
When someone shops with me, not only do I get the ever important validation that my products are good enough for people to spend actual money on; not only do I receive financial support from you, so that I can do my own Christmas shopping, or buy a tin of paint, or chip away at the mortgage; not only do I get to hand-make something special for you, and then package it all up and feel a little bit giddy knowing that the hand wrapped parcel will arrive on your doorstep and make you smile. But MOST of all, every time you shop with me, or with any other small, independent business, you are one small part of a larger collective that is acknowledging small and creative business as a legitimate way to live and support yourself and your family. By spending your money with an independent you are saying "YES, all those hours, months, years you have spent building your mini empire were worth it. You have created a business and a community that I feel part of and that I trust enough to give my own hard earned pennies to. Keep doing what you're doing."
Anywhoo, back to that walk I was on... This tends to be how it goes when I'm formulating a new idea. Some concept, or theme, or design will keep coming back to me - usually when I'm on a walk with no other distractions. The concept will get swilled about, mulled over, developed and sometimes dropped. Sometimes I'll make a note in my sketchbook, sometimes I'll actually sketch it out in my sketchbook. Sometimes it'll only make it to a post-it note in my diary. And sometimes I'll be so into it that I'll get home and immediately start making the thing.
That's what happened with 'double gifting'. I'd been mulling it over for a few weeks and finally it became fully formed on this river walk. Buying from a small business is like giving the small business owner a gift. A gift of money, of course, but also the gift of moral support, trust and confidence. And most of the items that are bought from my small business are bought as gifts. Hence, 'double gifting' was born.
As soon as I got home I wrote out my new definition, along with fancy phonetic translation (that bit was fiddly!) and then began to embroider it onto a t-shirt.
/’dʌb(ə)l ‘ gIftIŊ/
The act of purchasing a gift from a small business, thereby giving twice - once to the intended recipient of the gift, and once to the owner of the small business.
It sounds like a euphemism. It probably is. But since first sharing it in 2018 it has been shared hundreds of times. The hashtag #doublegifting has over 250 posts on Instagram. It was even shared by Holly Tucker MBE! Sometimes I've even seen #triplegifting used - especially when a small business is selling a collaborative product with another independent, or when a proportion of profits are being donated to charity.
The t-shirt that I embroidered initially in 2018 with the definition was purchased by @mutha.hood and is framed on her wall! In 2020, in the chaos of Covid lockdowns and drastic business rollercoasters, I recreated it again. This time it was on a handkerchief which now sits pride of place on my wall as a daily reminder that running a small business is joyful (as well as terrifying).