Well here we are living in very scary times and in a full lockdown of the UK. Who could ever have foreseen this situation happening!

While the Government has provided funding for small businesses, not everyone is able to get that funding. Those who are under 1 year old, or are at least 1 year old but they didn’t make it into profit in their first year of trading because of all the usual initial costs of setting up a business, missed out. So what can they do?

How it came about

#CelebsForSmallBiz started as an aside while in a private chat on #Twitter between 4 of those small businesses (Maisie – LScrunchieCo, Alison – CauldronCandles, Elizabeth – HedgeBuddies & Nichola – Crafty_Bijoux). We became firm friends a long time before this current situation. Having all previously hosted #Womaninbizhour and then done an off the cuff #OneEarOrTwo  night just for a laugh on the main feed becasue we were having a scream in a private chat one night, we wondered what we could do to help increase traffic and support for all of the people we have grown to know and love so much in the #Smallbiz Community on Twitter. So #CelebsForSmallBiz was born Friday nights 9.00pm to 10.00pm.

#CelebsForSmallBiz Hosts
Maisie, Alison, Elizabeth, Nichola

Maisie – The Little Scrunchie Co – Hand made, invisible stitch finished scrunchies.

Alison – The Magic Cauldon  – Maker of scented candles and wicca broomsticks

Elizabeth – Hedge Buddies – Wild bird and hedgehog food

Nichola – Natura Aromatherapy Blends – Self care and handmade accessories

From a chat on Monday 6th April in the late evening, to having our inaugural event on Friday 10th April with 3 Celebs on board was challenging, exciting, bigger and better than we could ever have dreamed of.

Our idea was simple; set up a small businesses ‘hashtag hour’ where sellers and services put on sales posts showing off their products and services and chat and get to know each other. They Follow, Retweet and Like each others posts and try to get trending on #Twitter so that other people might pop in for a look at what is happening. If they see something they want or need they might even make a purchase.

Here’s where the celebs come in. Joining us at the appointed time to see what is on show, LIKE and/or RT some of the posts. No-one is being asked to do all the posts but with the larger levels of followers of the Celebs, then their activity would draw in other people who follow that celeb, to take a look at what is happening.

Who do we have

Our first Celeb on board with us was the lovely, talented and very supportive Annette Badland, who has gone over and above anything we could ever have hoped for.

Annette Badland
Annette Badland

Annette jumped right into the thick of it, got behind us in a big way and has given us a phenomenal amount of support. Not only did she take part in the first event, she did a video advert for it for us to put out, which made it all become real for so many people. So, thank you to Annette for not only helping in our first event, but she has enjoyed it and believes in what we are doing and will join in with us in future  #CelebsforSmallBiz nights as and when she is able to do it. She’s back with us tonight 17th April at 9pm – 10pm.

For our first week we were able to get 3 Celebs to join us on Friday 10th April 2020. The ones that jumped in with us in quick succession were the lovely singer/song writer Caitlin Grey and London theatre critic Mark Shenton.

Caitlin is one half of Harvey/Grey and you can find her music on https://www.caitlingrey.com/. She has a hauntingly beautiful voice and is someone you should certainly check out. Caitlin also enjoyed her first night with us and has told us she is in for the duration too and has been retweeting all of our promotional material this week.

Mark was right up our host Alison’s street, as she is a massive theatre fan, and this was the one that made her jump up and down with glee. Visit Mark’s website http://shentonstage.com/ to get an overview of what he does and to get all the latest updates on what is happening in the London theatre scene. Unfortunately due to other commitments Mark can’t join us this week but he is still supporting us from the background and we are delighted that he is.

#CelebsForSmallBiz 10th April 2020
#CelebsForSmallBiz Line up Friday 10th April 2020

Now to Friday 17th April – 9.00pm

Here we are on Friday again, so who do we have lined up for you for tonight at 9.00pm? Well, we have a veritable host of delights for you and as this goes out we have 8, yes 8 confirmed for tonight and we are currently speaking to others who, if we miss the deadline for tonight, may be on our announcements for next week. How fantastic is that!

As said before, we have Annette and Caitlin back with us tonight but who else is coming to the party? 

Our Celebrities
One of our Celebs is not going to be at the actual event. Craig Wilson @KiltedChefCraig has provided us with details of several other celebs to invite and that is currently being worked on. He will also be working tonight at his own restaurant Eat on the Green where due to lockdown he has turned it into a fine food take out and is also running ‘Live at 5pm’ cooking demonstrations over on facebook to show you what you can make from things you already have in your cupboards. Craig has over 18,000 followers on Facebook and will be advertising #CelebsForSmallBiz over there and is even going to try to do a video for us, so when that happens, we’ll post it on twitter for you all to see.
Also joining us tonight are Graydon Radford of the Shrewsbury Morris Dancers. He was a bit shy when I asked him to do a wee video for us but he hasn’t said a flat no, so no pressure Graydon. He is also on board with us for the duration and is currently RTing lots of the promotional posts for us to help raise awareness. Why not visit their website on the link above.
#CelebsForSmallBiz Line up
#CelebsForSmallBiz Line up

Ailish Sinclair is a writer from my own home county of Aberdeenshire. Her debut historical novel The Mermaid and the Bear set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire is a love story blended with an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations. This sounds like a must read for me and I’ll be ordering my copy any day! 

Terry Tyler, another writer (do you see a theme here, I do love a good book lol) has an impressive 20 novels under her belt which can be purchased online. Rather than historical, her latest release Blackthorn is set 115 years into the future! Well that has whetted my appetite to go and make yet another purchase.

Keeping with the author theme we also have best selling author Lizzie Chantree who herself is already a great supporter of the small business and creatives community. She runs a regular slot on Twitter, #CreativeBizHour on Monday nights from 8.00pm. I was lucky enough to be chosen recently as one of the small business people that won a week of promotion from her, with a daily tweet about my business. This is such a wonderful way for a small business to get out into the wider world and I’m truly grateful for it. You can find Lizzie’s wonderful selection of books here , but which one to buy first? Oh dear this is going to get expensive for me.

Marc Zammit
Marc Zammit

Last but by no means least we have the multi award winning actor/director and producer Marc Zammit. If you don’t know the name you will know those eyes from seeing him in TV shows such as The Bill, Law & Order, After You’ve Gone and Silent Witness. The list of works he has undertaken in his career are too numerous for me to list, so pop along to his website for a full bio and check out his latest film Homeless Ashes. This is about a young man who runs away from home and ends up homeless and on the streets fighting to survive.

We are beyond excited for tonight’s #CelebsForSmallBiz as last week we got trending on twitter for 4 hours between 10.00pm -2.00am. Late I know but it means that people were still active on the posts long after the hour had finished.

This week the total so far, of the followers for our Celebs, is 3/4 of a million people. If that is not something to get excited about, then I don’t know what is.

To join us and get the most out of the hour, open twitter and put the tag #CelebsForSmallBiz into the search bar and follow the feed. When you see something you like, LIKE or RT it, but if you RT it then choose ‘RT with Comment’ and even if you say nothing, pop the hashtag #CelebsForSmallBiz into the post before hitting reply, then everyone will see the activity and we have more chance of hitting those trending charts again.

Get yourself some snacks and your favourite tipple or beverage and join the party tonight at 9.00pm on Twitter. We’ll look forward to seeing you!

The hosts all have small businesses of their own , so please take the time to stop in past their websites for a look to see what they have on offer. Due to organising these events, their own promotional work has slowed down significantly and they would love your support.