Creative Small Business CoVID-19 Impact Survey – gathered by The Finders Keepers

The postponement of indie markets is having a devastating effect on small business around Australia!

Earlier this year when the global pandemic began taking its toll and affecting major event operations, our creative community and the broader sector were in distress. In response, The Finders Keepers developed a creative small business impact survey in order to gather some important data around the enormous role that markets play in the livelihoods of small creative business in Australia. 

Perhaps the biggest insight from our survey is the astounding contribution that markets make to the bottom line of many small creative businesses in Australia. 

From those surveyed:

There is an estimated individual loss of $18,000 revenue due to markets being unable to run (based on a 6 month period).  Looking at these postponements now extending for the remainder of 2020 this average is set to look more like a $36,000 annual loss of income for a small creative business who relies on markets to sustain a living.

Based on The Finders Keepers unique number of Stallholders in 2019 alone, this could mean up to a devastating $29,500,000 no longer in the pockets of our creative sole traders and market makers. That’s a huge $30 million withdrawal from the Creative Economy in our country. 

The Finders Keepers maintain a pivotal role in getting the handmade heard. 74% of those surveyed reported that everything was handmade in their business. This solidifies the vital role that The Finders Keepers continues to play in ensuring that the handmade is still a critical part of the creative industries. 

Over 80% surveyed reported direct retail and/or wholesale revenue loss. While it was impressive to see that 86% say that they are set up for online, there are other things that need attention. Being ‘ready’ doesn’t mean that people know how to find them. The key reported needs were resounding when it came to supporting with exposure, brand awareness as well as marketing. All critical elements to help continue to make sales via online.  

One stallholder and a Finders Keepers regular expresses while online sales are great they do not compare with an IRL market. “I’m grateful for the online store and all your guys support, but an event like the Finders Keepers gets my brand out in front of thousands of new people and the sales account for over 50% of my biz. The amount I sell at one of these 3-day events would take me weeks and weeks to pack and send if I sold it online, so even with your great support the online store doesn’t compensate for the loss of these markets and events. And after putting years of work into growing a business it’s pretty upsetting”. Bronwyn Howell – Retrobub

On an internal business front, for those running a business with staff, 40% say they can no longer pay themselves, and an additional 10% have taken a pay cut. 

Over 80% reported that they were suffering stress or worry about the impacts that Covid-19 will have on their business with an additional 16% being somewhat (worried or stressed). 

Alongside financial strain, Access is a huge theme with the top three challenges for small businesses being linked to 1. access to childcare. 2. access to materials to continue to create as well as 3. access to facilities like workshops and studios to continue to make and manufacture. 

Uncertainty was also big. 60% are unsure if their business will survive, 50% are unsure or do not know how the government will support them and 80% are unsure if the current stimulus will help. 

To end of some lighter news, 72% reported they did have a silver lining story and 20% said they are still looking.

For the Finders Keepers most up to date information regarding postponements due to Covid-19 please visit the website

*Jimmy Patch is our creative hero. Being deep in the handmade himself, Jimmy is someone who believes in what we do and making sure our market voice is heard. Through authentic and meaningful conversation our collaboration was born.  Jimmy has supported us to bring our survey impacts to life. We couldn’t have done it without him. For all things drawing, make sure you call Jimmy

Leave a comment