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Global Giant American Express Knows How To Think Small; Pledges $100 Million To Initiative

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 13, 2021

American Express

may be a global behemoth, but it hasn’t lost its ability to think small – as in small businesses. “We’re finding different ways to support small businesses this summer,” said Walter Frye, vice president of global brand content and engagement at American Express, of an initiative announced today, “Let’s Go Shop Small.”

American Express is partnering with mobile-first video shopping platform NTWRK to announce a collaboration with notable creatives and designers who chose their favorite small businesses. The pairs created unique, limited-edition products launching throughout the weekend of August 20. 

For example, New York City boutique owner and designer, Telsha Anderson of t.a. and Philly based Yowie created a one-of-a-kind resin sculpture, which marks the first home goods item Telsha designed. Creative director and designer Rhuigi Villaseñor and L.A. based restaurant Petit Trois le Valley created a limited edition hat, and L.A. streetwear designer Melody Ehsani and Bloom & Plume, an L.A.-based floral studio and coffee shop, created a vibrant and earthy collection, “The Rec Set,” featuring a tote bag, silk bandana, fleece set and socks.  

The collaborations are part of Amex’s recent “Let’s Go Shop Small” campaign, which included a commitment of more than $100 million to inspire consumers to support small businesses globally through its year-round Shop Small efforts. 

The product drops are exclusively available on NTWRK for 24 hours ahead of public sales at each small business.

“Melody [Ehsani] helped us launch the American Express Green card last year,” Frye said. “We collaborated with her [and others] to choose their favorite small business. Telsha chose Yowie, a great young Blank entrepreneur, whom we featured in a podcast, “Built to Last,” which sheds light on Black partners. We love to continue relationships.”

Frye said that NTWRK “has a great audience of consumers who come to expect new and exciting products on the platform. We’re excited to see what the demand is like for special products and will look to do more.

“All our programs are inspired by what our customers want,” he added. “NTWRK also shared that some of its most success sales have been with streetwear designers, which really inspired our colors and selections.”

While quantities are limited, prices are accessible, Frye said. Items will be cross pollinated and promoted and sold at each partner’s outlets. “There’s absolutely accessible prices, which are in line with each of the designers’ pricing,” Frye said. “The products will be exclusively available through the NTWRK platform for 24 hours and then available in each small business. It’s a great way for us to meet our consumers were they are on platforms like NTWRK.”

American Express gave the collaborators lots of freedom in designing and deciding which small business to partner with. “In L.A., we have a lot of customers, and these products are very popular in the locations,” Frye said. “We leaned into the authenticity of the designers.

“We have a longstanding commitment to support small businesses,” Frye said. “This is a continuation to amplify their importance. I’m here in New York City, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was a huge driver and inspiration in our campaigns over the last year’s $200 million commitment to support small businesses, and this year $100 million commitment.”

Frye said consumers are excited to get back on the road again. “It’s really critical to remind consumers the importance of shopping small,” he said. “About 40 % of consumers were less likely to shop at small businesses during summer months so we timed launch to tee off in August when we know so many customers will be traveling. We want to remind them while they’re traveling it’s important to shop small.”


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