INDIE WEEK – The Colourful Independent Alternative to Black Friday!

JUST A CARD – INDIE WEEK is back! Now in its sixth year, JUST A CARD – INDIE WEEK is about bringing the might of the JUST A CARD community together to shout from the rooftops about the importance of valuing and buying from artists, makers and independent shops and small businesses during the crucial Christmas period.  An antidote to the fast-purchase culture of Black Friday, JUST A CARD – INDIE WEEK is your chance to shine, your opportunity to celebrate and share your work, stories and communities, both on social media and in the wider world.

Last year’s JUST A CARD – INDIE WEEK saw nearly 100,000 people getting involved.

Everyone is warmly welcome to be a part of JUST A CARD – INDIE WEEK, wherever you are in the world and whether you’re an independent yourself or simply value and love them.

INDIE WEEK – 21st-25th November 2022

Here’s how you can get involved:

  • Join in with the super popular JUST A CARD 5 DAY INSTAGRAM CHALLENGE.
  • Ensure you wear and display the ‘support independents’ Christmas and Classic pins in your shops, at events and on social media.
  • Display and use the amazing resources including posters, online sale inserts, a web button and much more, all found in The JUST A CARD Shop – everything you need to spread the SHOP INDEPENDENT message.
  • Follow JUST A CARD on Instagram
  • Follow JUST A CARD on Facebook and Twitter and share posts and tweets far and wide.
  • Subscribe to the JUST A CARD email newsletter for all the latest news and updates.
  • Support your fellow independents by ticking off your gift list at the JUST A CARD CHRISTMAS FAIR in partnership with HandmadeHour, which will coincide with INDIE WEEK 2022, and continue right up to Christmas. Everyone taking part will be showcased on the JUST A CARD website from the 21st November to 23rd December.

JUST A CARD – How it began:

JUST A CARD founder Sarah Hamilton, whose own experiences as an artist and designer led her to set up the campaign, shares the story:

“I’ve always had the hugest respect for the independent shops and galleries who’ve stocked my work. Running a shop, small business or being an artist and maker is a labour of love, but of course bills need to be paid, and the climate has become increasingly challenging. This was made all the more clear to me at the end of a design show I took part in, when I found a fellow exhibitor in tears. It was her first show and her work had been much admired: ‘How gorgeous’, visitors said, ‘How beautiful’. That she’d only made a few pounds in three long days was heartbreaking – every independent can relate to how much emotional and financial investment goes into what they do. 

I felt certain it didn’t need to be like this. Surely there was a way to express how even the smallest sale transforms lives. Fast forward to my reading this quote by owners who’d recently closed their gallery:

“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”

That was it – my lightbulb moment! For the independents we love to flourish we need action, not words. Simply saying “shop local” doesn’t go far enough – the stark reality is that compliments don’t pay the bills. Of course we understand people are not always able to make a purchase, but raising awareness of the importance of sales is central to our mission.

So I designed a logo and with the incredible support of Patricia van den Akker from The Design Trust, built a rudimentary website. I then set to work promoting the JUST A CARD message on Twitter, albeit naively, as I hadn’t factored in the funds, energy and resolve needed to run the campaign alongside my own work. After a year of precious little interest, as passionate as I was about the message, I was almost ready to admit defeat. 

Three events changed everything. Firstly, we entered the Aviva Community Fund Award, and on day one of a monthlong competition we won the public vote. Secondly, I wrote a book, House of Cards, and funds from this, plus the Community Fund prize of £1000, allowed me to invest in the campaign with renewed vigour. Then thirdly, on the spur of the moment, I put a call out on Twitter asking for people to help with the campaign. To my astonishment the response was overwhelming, and so the first incarnation of our mainly volunteer team was born.

That JUST A CARD has gone from strength to strength in the four years since is testament to the passion and commitment of so many incredible people. It was always my biggest hope that this would be a collective endeavour, with everyone who values this message pitching in however they could. 

Now over 17,000 shops worldwide have our window stickers, thousands take part in INDIE WEEK, and our star-studded JUST A BOOK project took the London Underground by storm. We’ve been featured across the press, on BBC radio and TV news too, but our greatest achievement is the wonderful, mutually supportive network of people we’ve established – many lasting friendships have been cemented between JUST A CARD followers.

To follow, join or learn more about this wonderful event, pop along to the JUST A CARD website.