Small businesses across the nation are struggling to stay afloat. In the Hamptons, instead of solely focusing on her own amazing candle line inspired the East End, Hamptons Handpoured owner Brittany Torres has launched a GoFundMe campaign with the hopes of providing relief to local small businesses.
“I want to make a dent in a businesses’ monthly expenses while still being able to assist several individuals and hopefully quickly. With $500 you can put food on the table or pay a bill for the month,” Torres, who grew up in North Sea and graduated from Southampton High School, now lives in Springs, noted. “Also, GoFundMe is matching $500 donations for small business which was an incentive to use their platform.”
As those that live out here know, the East End is a tight knit community. “Since the start of this, other business owners/ makers and I have been checking in with each other. A majority of these conversations have included where business support (like real monetary assistance) can be found locally in our community to aid us during this time,” she relayed. “I reached out to many places, people, and organizations that I thought might have something in place and I came back empty handed and without any local recommendations for my other business owners.”
Torres continued, “Any info that was forwarded to me were ones that I didn’t qualify for being a sole proprietor (without employees) or have stopped accepting applications at this time. If I’m wrong I apologize but, I haven’t come across any particular group fundraising to support our local business owners.”
Her initial GoFundMe goal was $5,000. However, less than 24 hours after posting the GoFundMe, Torres was shocked and absolutely elated to discover that a single anonymous donor had contributed $5,000. “It’s overwhelming. There are a lot of wonderful, generous people out here and some who just happen to have the resources to contribute in a big way… But to actually pull the trigger and be so generous with people they may not even know and may never meet, is on another level of human compassion in my book,” she expressed. “It helps this place we love so much and there is immeasurable value in giving people real hope. I am in awe of this person and thank you for your big heart.”
She notes the initial round of fundraising will be distributed to sole proprietors, makers, crafters, and artists that were unable to qualify for aid due to the fact that they are their company’s sole employee.
Before the generous donation, East Enders had already made a dent in the fundraising.”$800 was raised by mostly year-round residents in only 24 hours – from people that may or may not be struggling themselves in one way or another and it is donations like these collectively that will help reach my next goal of $10,000,” she added. The surplus will be carried over into the next round of support, which will be distributed to locally owned businesses with a storefront that have been closed because they were deemed non-essential.
Torres plans to continue the fundraiser until the stay-at-home order is raised and possibly even after that, with the mission of assisting as many as she can. “It is already so tough to live in our hometowns, especially if you are an individual – between high rent (both commercial and residential), other costs of living, and the seasonality of the East End,” Torres noted. “My biggest hope is that individuals who live here year-round AND second home owners who have relocated out here (who may have greater resources than others), see the value of our local businesses and chip in.”
“I know it is important to focus on those on the front lines, such as healthcare workers, food pantries, grocery stores, and mail carriers all whom I am so grateful for and glad there are individuals supporting these amazing people,” Torres said. “I am just trying to help in my own way and support this group of small business out on the East End, who have become like family, to see that they are still around at the end of this. This is a way that anyone can help while keeping safe at home.”
As a result of the pandemic Torres has lost wholesale accounts, which make up the greatest portion of her business and income, because the businesses are currently closed. Requests for custom candles have also significantly decreased, as fundraisers, weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, parties, and store pop ups have either been canceled or pushed back to a later date. Hamptons Handpoured does have an online shop, but it does not generate enough funds to cover the essentials. “Some people might say why don’t you just support your local businesses by shopping with them?” Torres explained. “And this is of course VERY HELPFUL but, with expenses, cost of goods, delays in supply chain, and time to fulfill orders, I’m trying to substantially and quickly help those who reach out for assistance, even if you don’t need a product or service from them at this particular time.”
If you own a local small business that is in need of financial assistance, you can reach Torres at [email protected].
“I hope I hear from those who could really use this help and don’t let pride get in their way,” Torres concluded. “That is what our community is here for, to support one another.”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com. For more information about Hamptons Handpoured, visit www.hamptonshandpoured.com.