The rise of Coronavirus may have seriously put a damper on how we live our everyday lives, but the human race is resilient, and the innovation of the past few days is demonstrated in how we’ve responded to the latest global crisis. Because while the state of the economy and our individual sanity may be on shaky ground during the quarantine process, at least one digital marketplace is leveraging the power of virtual commerce to help keep small businesses alive.
Based out of Austin, Texas, craftHER Market is dedicated to finding creative new solutions for small businesses. The primary goal is to help buinesses who don’t have expansive resources stay afloat during the crisis, but craftHER’s creative and thoughtful approach to retail could also help plan a model of commerce for small businesses even after Coronavirus has passed us by.
Designed as a 9-day shopping experience, craftHER recognizes that the limited parameters of an event-based retail experience can help put otherwise unknown businesses directly into the spotlight. 90 different partner businesses will be involved in the event, and it’s designed to blur the line between virtual and in-person commerce. A digital storefront will provide gateways for each of the associated creators, and CraftHER will also be offering a curbside experience that employs safety regulations while letting guests browse products and experience food and drink from craftHER’s restaurant partners.
But one of the most exciting aspects of the craftHER model is how it puts the spotlight on groups that are often marginalized in the business world. They’ve been conscientious about finding women and non-binary creatives who have unique perspectives to share. This is about more than just slapping a woman’s name on each of their storefronts too. The craftHER online experiences lets these personalities be front and center for their experiences. Each individual has a story to tell, and craftHER provides a way for them to tell it and for customers to connect a name – and a narrative – to the products and services that they use. It’s a great way to keep small businesses afloat during a pandemic, but it shows promise as a way of humanizing our smaller businesses and helping them weather a threat just as big: the consolidation of American and global retail into a market dominated by chain and franchise businesses.