Owning and administering a business is a serious commitment. Not only are you responsible for creating your own income, but you are also responsible for providing quality products to your customers. Although the idea of starting your own business from the ground up may sound like a difficult process, it seems to be that anyone can create their own small business these days.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have turned to working from home. The pandemic has also resulted in the development of several online small businesses. Accessibility to the internet and the popularity of social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter have allowed users to easily market their products in a never-before-seen manner.
Some of the most popular small businesses include homemade pastries, custom jewelry, mobile vehicle detailing, and the customization of everyday products such as travel mugs and t-shirts.
Mevalecreations is a small online business which makes custom keychains, stickers, phone cases, and many other products inspired by Hispanic treats. On TikTok, the business has over 453,000 followers and has accumulated over 5.2 million likes on its posts.
The thought of buying the same products as everyone else from a large retailer is now a thing of the past. Wearing products that are customized to your personal taste help make a statement about who you are.
However, there are many people who have helped misconstrue and de-value the concept of originality and uniqueness in products sold by small businesses by reselling existing items at higher costs. There are many online businesses buying one dollar eyelashes and lip glosses from dollar stores and reselling them at double or more of their original price. By bulking up on popular seasonal items from dollar stores and other affordable retailers, these businesses are able to make a profit from customers who were unable to purchase the sold-out items.
“There is a serious lack of originality, individuality, self-expression and uniqueness, yet many business owners cave to fitting in rather than standing out,” mentions Forbes Online.
It seems as if everyone wants a grab at owning a business over the internet as result of the large support and popularity that small businesses have gained recently. However, it is not for everyone. If you are considering whether or not you should start your online business, ask yourself how you will stand out against competitors and consider whether you are starting a business with your consumer’s best interests in mind.
If you are just starting up a business to resell products you bought by the bulk and stamping a sticker with your name on it or stuffing your packaging with cheap candy, do everyone and yourself a favor by quitting before starting. Not only is it tacky to claim you are a real self-made business and unoriginal to resell items, but it is also unfair to consumers.
Consumers keep buying these products because they are oblivious to how these small business are taking advantage of them. Consumers should be able to trust that businesses are offering them the best deals possible without having to research the pricing of other businesses.
Other times, consumers may think they are getting a deal by buying name brand products from resellers at lower costs, but may be unaware that the business they are buying from is breaking the law by advertising the sale of trademarked items they do not own the rights to.
“There are trademark issues. If you’re using manufacturers’ logos to advertise the products you’re selling… you run the risk of getting embroiled in a trademark infringement lawsuit,” mentions Nina Kaufman in the Entrepreneur website.
According to the online NOLO Legal Encyclopedia, it may cost people who resell or use trademarked items without permission over 20,000 dollars.
According to Justia Dockets and Filings, the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB have all filed lawsuits against different online websites that were selling their products without permission in 2019 and are seeking over 600,000 dollars in compensation. The law allows for people to resell items online, however, it does not allow for the advertising of trademarked products under the name of an unauthorized business.
While it may be easy to find deals on items by the bulk and resell them at higher costs individually, it contradicts the whole purpose of small businesses. It may be easy to fly under the radar when you live in a small town and your only customers are your friends and family. However, you cannot get very far as a reseller. Eventually, consumers will realize that their best interests are not being met by such businesses.
People should stop creating their own small businesses if they are just going to resell items. There is enough room for everyone to succeed. However, starting a business with zero originality is not only a sign of a weak business, but it also demonstrates an owner’s lack of care for their customers.
Support small and locally operated businesses. Many business owners work day in and day out to provide the best quality and inventory for their consumers. However, be careful and vigilant of fake businesses that only want to hop on the trend, earn some quick cash, and then disappear once people stop buying the same products over and over again.