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Using Digital Tools to Share Artists’ Work in the Community

Jerina Vincent started JNJ Gifts and More in Verona, Wisconsin, for people to support local artists and many other independent small businesses. It grew into a home for more than 80 independent creators and small businesses to share their work. Most artists are seniors and retirees who rely on JNJ to provide a platform for their handmade products. Jerina has seen many of her artists filled with pride after finding a place to share and sell their handmade love.

To support her business while she secures a new property, Jerina has put her entire inventory online. She offers free delivery for local towns for orders over $35. Inexpensive Google and Facebook ads help her find customers and direct them to her website, while Google Analytics tracks the ads’ effectiveness.

Digital ads and online sales became especially important for Jerina when the pandemic struck. “I don’t know if I’d still have a business if not for digital tools like Facebook & Instagram that lifted me up during those tough days,” Jerina explains.

But now policymakers want to pass laws upending the entire digital ecosystem that could make it harder for small businesses to operate. If digital tools become more expensive or harder to use, reaching customers both locally and nationwide could be more difficult.

“When lawmakers attack the companies that provide digital tools, they inadvertently hurt small businesses directly and in a big way, especially micro-businesses like ours,” Jerina explained. “I just hope policymakers stop and listen to small businesses before doing anything that could disrupt our access to digital tools and make running a business more difficult.”

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