Here’s something interesting that found its way to our inbox: Brij, a mission-driven platform that combines a little bit of e-commerce, social media, crowdfunding and community in one place for consumers to support local small businesses. The concept launched amid the pandemic, as a response to the tough spot small businesses suddenly found themselves in. The idea was to create something to support local businesses on a national scale in a centralized way.
How it works: Brij says there is no cost to small businesses to become part of the online community and Brij doesn’t take any money. The key to Brij is offering items that new and existing customers can’t get anywhere else. Small businesses create profiles where they can tell a visual story and provide commentary about who they are, what they do. This is also where small businesses are able to create Brij Promotions to generate financial contributions.
The end result is a model that’s not quite e-commerce and not quite charity, something a bit more Kickstarter-y. Small businesses can use the money they raise on the platform for whatever is needed – whether it’s rent, payroll, expansion of outdoor space to adjust to city regulations – it’s up to them.
Why a brewery might care
I am mainly relaying this because it might be a solid platform for breweries to use to hype up and support their own charity drives.
Example: Funky Bow Brewery in Lyman, Maine, created a Brij Promotion to have a beer named after someone and to have it on tap at the brewery for a week and promoted via social media for a $500 donation. Funky Bow received more than $2,000 in its first week after posting, and each donation has had meaning.
Last Saturday unveiled the Flash50 IPA at a 50th birthday party to celebrate John Flaschner (who has ALS) and to help raise money and awareness for the ALS Society. Coming up next, Susan Stevens is hosting an event on April 2nd to celebrate her dogs (Chili and Colby), who passed away to raise money and make donations to the Best Friends Society and Animal Welfare Society. One beer will be called Best Friends IPA and the other beer name is still TBD. Pretty cool.
Some other ways that Brij can specifically help breweries:
- Being an additional platform to generate exposure for their brewery and beers,
- Offering a different way for new and existing customers to support them
- Providing the ability to collaborate and potentially partner with other businesses on the site
That last point is a big hope for the site. The Brij team hopes this platform can build bridges among the Brijers on the platform, a network of small businesses working together.
“No one works in a bubble anymore and we want to be the conduit between businesses that would never otherwise speak to one another. For example, one of our new businesses, Not Just Cookies, operates a direct, web-based cookie operation in Chicago. We have been able to connect the owner to other businesses from coast (Durham NC) to coast (SF) to discuss ways to work together in the future.”
The aforementioned Funky Bow Brewery was connected to a restaurant in the Boston area who will give the brewery an opportunity to do a “tap takeover” and promote the beer to its customers.
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