Written by Lindsey Jeremiah, manager, Entrepreneurship Services
We may be giving up the crowded, frantic mall shopping experience this holiday season, but we think that’s actually not so bad! Staying home to stay safe has allowed the FastStartDC team to get creative with ways to share the holiday cheer this year!
So… what did they do?
A team of student entrepreneurs collaborated to build a beautifully festive online marketplace to replace the in-person holiday market experience FastStart offers annually to support their student entrepreneurs during the holiday season. The new FastStart Holiday Store allows shoppers to browse products from more than 30 vendors anywhere, at anytime. The marketplace will be live until Monday, December 14 to allow for shipping time!
This online shopping opportunity allows our shoppers to purchase artisanal, handmade products online and have them shipped directly to their home, allowing for a safe and contact-free shopping experience this holiday season. The vendor roster includes products ranging from home décor, jewellery, woodworking, gourmet food, apparel, soy candles, beauty products, decorative mugs, art, and more. Perfect gift and stocking stuffer ideas!
The pandemic has had a double impact on small businesses and start-ups. Traditional storefront shops have been hit the hardest and have been forced to pivot to e-commerce, or close up shop. However, many of our student start-ups from Durham College are e-commerce based from the start. FastStart students build and launch businesses while they study and a key stage of the process includes the set-up of a Shopify platform to support the student so they can conduct business online.
FastStart students actually receive one year free on the Shopify platform, which gives them a chance to build an audience and customer base from their business and learn the ins and outs of digital marketing so that they can drive traffic and achieve conversions on their sites.
With a contactless option like the FastStart Holiday Store, you won’t miss the big box store shopping experience, with its mile-long lines at checkout, elbow throwing in aisles, and heavy winter attire making you sweat as you aimlessly drift with your list in hand.
Shopping online has never been hotter – and not just for its convenience. There has been a seismic shift in shopper mentality to support small business this year as a result of COVID-19. Entrepreneurs, side-hustlers, and modern makers are the new roster of go-to businesses we all love to support. They are local, they’ve been hurt by the impact of the pandemic, and they package their unique gifts with care and flair. We want to buy products that are made in Canada and we love to feel the glow of supporting our friends, family members, or neighbours with their small business. It’s a win-win.