Give Back: Shop Local Santa Barbara + Montecito

Photo by  O.C. Gonzalez
Photo by O.C. Gonzalez

Sometimes distance makes us feel helpless. Sometimes it is the enormity of a problem. Sometimes, we simply don't know how to help. As a personal stylist in the Pacific Northwest, I'm privileged to be a part of several communities- a community of small businesspeople, of female entrepreneurs and of course, my very own Poplin community, filled with readers and clients. We are reminded that community is vital when faced with tragedy. Over the past several months, I, like so many others, have watched from the sidelines as not one or two but multiple natural disasters have hit so many locations. In an effort to support those communities, we gave to the Red Cross or other local organizations helping those affected. But, it never felt sufficient. (By the way, you can also do this through DailyKARMA, an easy way to track your giving and encourage others to do the same.)

Tonight, an old friend of mine, Devin, in Santa Barbara posted a plea on Facebook- to shop local Santa Barbara small businesses. 

Of course! Why hadn't I thought of that? Small businesses are especially vulnerable. They are also deeply tied to their communities. This means that not only are they hit hard by the immediate effects of the disaster, like those around them, but they are often giving back. Small businesses are often called upon as they have much needed resources. Sometimes, those businesses give  more than they have, in an effort to support the members of their communities who are desperate for help.  

So, I'm taking my friend, Devin's, lead and I hope you will, too. Here's how:

3 Actions to Help Small Businesses Who Have Been the Victims of Floods, Mudslides and Natural Disasters. 

1. Buy gift certificates online.

Do they sell products that can be shipped to you? Or is there anyone in the area who'd love a gift certificate? Perhaps you can even pick up a gift certificate for a stranger. Who wouldn't love a massage or a facial as a very small consolation after major loss. No, it doesn't solve the problem, but it certainly helps. 

2. Shop in person or encourage friends in the area to visit. 

In the case of Santa Barbara and Montecito, they aren't as far away from LA as it may seem. If you've got friends or family in Southern California, encourage them to do some shopping in Santa Barbara or plan a trip yourself.

3. Promote local businesses on social media.

Help get the word out about these businesses and remind folks, no matter where they live, that they have the power to help. 

My very kind friend recommended a few businesses he is supporting so I'm sharing them here. Of course, this is only the beginning. 

Remember, they have all been closed or inaccessible for 6 weeks!

Honor Bar (is offering gift certificates to evacuees and workers and could really use the help)

Skin Deep Salon

C'est Cheese

Plum Goods (sustainable goods made by local artists)

Occhiali Fine Eyewear 

Bottle Shop, 1200 Coast Village Rd – open
Bree’osh Cafe & Bakery, 1150 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Cava Restaurant & Bar, 1212 Coast Village Rd – opening 2/1
Lucky’s, 1270 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Oliver’s, 1198 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31
Rori’s Artisanal Creamery, 1024 Coast Village Rd – open (serving pints, not scoops)
Stella Mare’s, 50 Los Patos Way – opening ~1/25
Tre Lune, 1151 Coast Village Rd – opening ~1/31

This message goes beyond Santa Barbara. There are quite a few places that have experienced tragedy and this is a way that feels good and has an immediate impact. The next time you learn about a disaster, consider donating to local nonprofits then do a little shopping, too. This is a great opportunity for retail therapy that actually helps heal.