Founder & Chief Laundry Folder, Local Laundry
President & Country Manager, Visa Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic hit small businesses hard, but community support can help sustain them. Here’s how Visa’s new campaign is helping businesses — and Canada’s economy — bounce back.
Local Laundry, a Calgary-based clothing company that specializes in Canadian-made goods, lives its values when it comes to being a positive, community-building force. Founded in 2015, the company manufactures all its products in Canada and donates 10% of its profits to local charities.
But when the pandemic hit and brick and mortar retailers were forced to close their doors, Local Laundry suddenly lost about half its revenue. The company ended up pulling through stronger than ever, thanks in part to a few quick pivots, like refocusing on its online shop as e-commerce became essential/requisite and offering free shipping and a flash sale. Ultimately, though, it was support from the local community that propped up the business and allowed it to thrive in difficult times.
Sharing your favourite local businesses is more important than ever
Connor Curran, Founder and Chief Laundry Folder at Local Laundry, believes his business’s resilience is thanks to a strong record of charitable giving and a positive response from the community. During the pandemic, Local Laundry even launched a special line of apparel adorned with a health care heart symbol and donated 100% of the profits to a local COVID-19 community relief fund. “Calgarians support Calgarians, and if you have good community values and help out when you can, people will step up when it’s time for you to ask for help,” he says.
That commitment generated conversations and positive reviews between locals, which in turn helped the business prosper. “I think word of mouth was everything for the success of my business,” says Curran. “When we ask new customers how they heard about us, a large portion of them tell us it was through a friend.”
Small businesses, lacking the generous advertising budgets of their larger counterparts, often rely on word of mouth to grow their client base. These businesses make up almost 98% of Canada’s economy; they’re the backbone of our communities. And since so many are facing unprecedented challenges, speaking up about the small and local businesses you love is more important than ever.
Use the #MySmallBizReco hashtag to strengthen your local economy
Curran’s success story was partly fuelled by Visa Canada’s new #MySmallBizReco campaign, in which Canadians use the hashtag to recommend their favourite small and local businesses and explain what makes them so great. “We want to inspire Canadians to recommend small businesses they love to one another,” says Stacey Madge, President and Country Manager of Visa Canada. “Personally, I’ve been so inspired by the small businesses I’ve found through the hashtag and will be shopping their online shops for the holiday season.”
By using and following the #MySmallBizReco hashtag, Canadians can spread the word about their favourite businesses and learn about new ones to support. Visa will monitor the hashtag and select 250+ businesses to participate in a national promotional campaign. And since online commerce is incredibly important during the pandemic, the hashtag offers Canadians across the country a window into small businesses beyond their local community, from which they can shop online.