When the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2019, e-commerce sites became vital for businesses transitioning into today’s digital economy. As organization’s navigated this change, Melanie Little observed how little space was left for small independent businesses who were being overshadowed online by large corporations with money to spend. Passionate about leveling the playing field for local businesses, Melanie built her own solution and helped co-found vLife.
By leveraging technology in the online space, vLife became a social enterprise platform whose purpose was to feature and promote small indie businesses to the increasing number of buy-local consumers trying to find them! Typically, small businesses don’t have the marketing budget to compete with dominant corporations, so vLife was determined to increase their presence and brand awareness online, with an affordable solution. And, added bonus – by facilitating more connections between socially conscious shoppers and small businesses, vLife helps retain more consumer dollars locally.
To learn more about the benefits of buying small and local, check out vLife’s explainer video!
vLife’s clients use a variety of platforms ranging from online stores with a local, national, and international reach, Facebook Marketplace or market stall, or a hybrid of both-in person and online sales. The one criteria they must share is that they are small independent businesses – because that’s what their vLife followers are looking for.
vLife welcomes any small independent businesses with an interest in expanding their digital presence to join their platform. The process is simple, business owners simply fill out a registration form and select a cost-friendly subscription package. vLife client businesses can market their products in the vStore – a professional landing page, thoughtfully designed and search engine optimized, to attract and connect with new potential customers. As vLife emphasizes customer engagement, vLife Provider news, special events, promos and updates are featured on their four social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn), as well as their growing email subscribers.
vLife takes pride in building meaningful relationships and helping Atlantic entrepreneurs expand their reach. To give back, providers are eligible for discounts from vLife partners and are encouraged to participate in Free vLife Business Growth Webinars to develop skills and gain expertise.
Since their launch, vLife has made a huge difference within the community strengthening supply chains and growing local prosperity across Atlantic Canada. Their platform connected thousands of buy-local shoppers to small businesses in lock-down and, in-doing so, helped entrepreneurs continue to attract new potential customers.
“I’m so grateful we were able to collaborate with and support our small business clients though such an awfully hard time. Their resilience and fortitude continues to astound, inspire, and motivate our whole team!” – Melanie Little, CEO and Co-founder of vLife
As business is returning back to normal, vLife is determined as ever to bring the benefits of the vStore platform to new markets and expand its social impact. The company plans on shaping their growth strategy based on a triple bottom line – prioritizing people, planet and profit. This sustainable approach sets vLife apart from competitors by establishing a win-win scenario. Not only will vLife help facilitate buy-local shoppers reducing their carbon footprint, and retaining more purchase dollars locally, vLife will continuously expose their client businesses to new engaged online audiences.
To make this expansion possible, vLife is looking to raise their first investment of $500 000 in hopes of entering five new markets across North America. In addition to their successful marketplace model, vLife is seeking interested social impact partners to collaborate with and support company growth. Not only will they help generate high profits, but a high return for people and the planet as well!
If you are an organization that also services small businesses, vLife encourages you to reach out in hopes of also discussing customizable solutions that best suit the needs of your small business membership. They look forward to partnering with you!