Many people don’t know that only 10% of the shea butter produced in Africa is actually used in cosmetics. Most shea butter goes into the production of food where it is used and a vegetable oil and as a cocoa butter substitute. The reason most people know about shea butter is because it is used in many natural body care products which are produced by small businesses. Ten years ago shea butter was not in the mainstream, but today it can be found in almost every product.
The natural food and beauty market as we know it today was pioneered by small businesses looking to create healthier more natural alternatives. Stores like Whole Foods got their beginnings delivering natural and organic products to a niche market. In my neighborhood we have locally owned stores Roots Market and MOM’s that provide amazing customer service and support local farmers and manufacturers.
Small businesses are started to solve a problem that large corporations don’t find worthwhile. Small businesses risk all to provide a proof of concept that an idea has merit and once they are successful, the large companies jump in the pool. Today, products that could only be found in local natural stores have gone mainstream. You can even find Kamboucha in Safeway!
Small businesses matter because they are the backbone of our economy. There are over 28 million small businesses in the US and they provide approximately 120 million people. Small business Saturday gives us an opportunity to celebrate small businesses and the entrepreneurs who have dared greatly to create and sustain them.