We live in a time where it's impossible to have no stance on important issues. That may sound harsh to those of us who live in the grey, hate drama and prefer to avoid yelling matches via Facebook but I really believe that the political climate and a generation of brave souls calling out authority has created a movement. I get it, I'm not plastering my opinions all over social media because I'm not interested in debates throughout my day either. And I do believe some things are private. But let me try to convince you of how this can work for you.
You don't have to be loud, you don't have to start arguments, you can ease into your stance in ways that make YOU feel good. These are the ways that will make your CUSTOMERS feel good too. Embrace the world of 2017 and let's look at some examples of those who are speaking out in their own way.
My hubby works in food & beverage. He works within the hotel industry which is not known for "green" practices. However, he puts a lot of energy into promoting and supporting local farmers and sustainable food options because he believes in that. He's able to marry his current job with his beliefs and stay involved in the community. He's been hired because of this involvement, his bosses love it. He's able to order from local farms and give them a seat at the table. Can you tell I'm proud?
I have a great friend who is a social media consultant. He is incredibly engaged on social media platforms and within the community, a well-known guy. He also has a strong liberal stance that he doesn't shy away from, continuously standing up for minorities on some platforms yet keeping it more subtle on other platforms. He chooses when and how to use his voice to speak his mind and (hopefully) educate others.
Fox and Fir Design creates fun graphic tees and stickers. Each design benefits a cause, often environmental. Proceeds are donated accordingly. They believe in small + consistent steps to fight climate change, their whole brand is built around it. You better believe they're attracting the right folks as customers.
The Cartorialist is a lovely artist/illustrator who's work is often inspired by high fashion and it-girls. She recently created a limited print of artsy boobs (you read that right) to support Planned Parenthood. These are tumultuous times for PP and she wants to speak out + raise money on their behalf. Her entire brand isn't built around it but she used a one-off opportunity to do what feels right.
Those are just 4 examples and there are many more. You'll start noticing it as you keep an eye out for it. Smalls businesses + entrepreneurs are being heard. They're attracting the right customers and repelling the wrong ones because of it (a Jasmine Star-ism).
Baby step into it or scream it from the rooftops, either way just go for it! Be silly with it (my IG stories for example) or write a thoughtful post on your Facebook page or keep it only on your blog. Grow your business because you're a unique individual with somethin' to say and, trust me, there's someone out there who agrees with you and will applaud your bravery.
(Photos from a dreamy event designed & hosted by Lucky Penny Creative)
Rust and concrete. Industrial style colors inspired by vintage dishes and one of my favorite backdrops.
I rarely hear people chat about the color rust but it's everywhere and is such a rich, one-of-a-kind color. I wouldn't consider it to paint my bedroom but in smaller doses it can be magical! There's hints of the color rust in food (cinnamon and spices), in nature (the last moments of a fire or a fox) and in actually rusting items such as an old ship. Rust is a strong, warm tone that isn't easy to pair with.
Concrete. I use that term instead of grey because there are many shades of grey plus concrete implies texture. Now, I'm not suggesting stripes of rust and grey but you can see how they complement one another. A black or white backdrop would be too harsh against the rust but the concrete contrasts just enough to not strip away the warmth. Concrete is popping up in plenty of home designs such as counter tops, shelving and flooring. The industrial look mixed with cozy tones is very popular for this decade of design.
If you're interested in more of this color combo, visit these beautiful IG accounts:
Want to explore similar themes? Consider these combos:
Concrete & gold
Slate & rust
Concrete & mustard yellow
As February fades away and the days turn a bit warmer (consistently), we anticipate the sights of spring. Trees are blooming and we're building less fires. Maybe I'll put some greenery in front of that fireplace? Hmmm...
I look forward to some spring cleaning around my house. For my business though? That sounds a bit daunting.
A quick-n-easy list to feel like you've accomplished something:
Cheers to getting some ish done! Finish day with booze of choice as a thank you to yourself.
When you're putting together a brand, what all are you supposed to think about?
Branding is a bit vague and a trendy word that's thrown around a lot these days.
A quick and easy list of what you'll be thinking about:
Or should I say, you need more.
Hiring a photographer is not just about (finally!) getting photos of that thing you sell. Photography is about selling your brand. Everything includes photos, even Twitter posts!
Photos step in when your words fall short. Photos represent you at your best even if you're having a lazy day. Photos sell your stuff.
Here is what you need in your photography package if you're running a small biz...
How will photos tell your story?
Literally, out of nowhere.
With wedding season hogging my fall season so lovingly, I haven't kept up with my usual blogging fun. Now I'm in editing mode and will get back in the swing of things!
For a quick Halloween treat, I've asked my favorite kitchen witch to "cook" us up something for the season.
Catherine Campbell has extensive knowledge and experience with what she terms kitchen witchcraft. Although she shared a few fun ideas, this one stuck out to me as it is what I need most right now as I continue building my business, let's hope it inspires you as well.
For now, I will leave you a simple recipe for courage. Take it away, Catherine.
A courage pouch is a blend of plants, flowers, oils and crystals to help you fortify and promote courage in your work.
You will Need:
-a small drawstring pouch, or sew your own from a piece of rectangular cloth (sew all but 1 side to keep an opening)
-a crystal: bloodstone, garnets (readily available here in the mountains), hematite, tiger's eye
-any of the following herbs: wood sorrel, rosemary, saffron, hawthorn leaves/flowers/berries, thyme, mullein, dock leaves/root, borage flowers, sunflowers, yarrow (all of these are pretty common and can be found throughout summer in the mountains and fields)
-one of the following essential oils: sandalwood, thyme, rosemary, nasturtium, cedar or balsam
How to Craft:
Stir the herbs, flowers, wood together. Add 2-3 drops of essential oil. Stir and let dry a bit. Take a couple drops of the essential oil and anoint the crystal.
How to Use:
Place the crystal in the pouch. Then spoon a bit of the herb/flower mix into the pouch. Pull drawstrings shut or tie off with a bit of ribbon or strip of cheesecloth. Hang the pouch in your closet, put it under your bed, or place it in your car, office drawer or wherever you need a reminder to take heart and go for it.
I've been back in Asheville for two years now and have had the pleasure to meet and work with so many local entrepreneurs, artists and farmers. It's been a pleasure to photograph a lot of these folks and share the story for what they do.
I'm excited to start the next phase of that service, product photography.
With so many talented locals, there are many stories to share.
It's my goal to bring your vision and skills to life. I want to learn about your process and incorporate your unique qualities into the final images.
If you're interested in this service, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message via Facebook or Instagram. I look forward to meeting you!
Woodwork featured here by Spoon & Hook.
Sarah is doing amazing things over at Formations of Mental Objects.
She's a local baker, photographer and blogger. Her Asheville guide was just featured in Life & Thyme.
She's killin' it.
On top of all that, she welcomed me into her home to catch her in the act.
A million thanks to Sarah for the fun behind-the-scenes experience.
I believe there is a huge importance seated in knowing where your food comes from. A few reasons:
If you find any of this of interest, it is likely you consider buying local, organic, non-GMO, any other form of awareness when shopping.
I have found that I'm most passionate about the humane treatment of animals as I am an animal-lover but I'm not (yet) a vegetarian. So I educate myself on eating humanely-raised proteins. I learn and buy accordingly. This often translates into eating organic or local (but not always).
On September 20th-21st, ASAP hosted its annual Western North Carolina Farm Tour. 37 farms were featured this year! Although I couldn't make it to all of them, I was lucky to visit 4 that I have never been to before.
We took our tour on Sunday and families were out all afternoon learning about farm life and where food comes from. It was touching to see kids getting excited about gardening and farming as it is so important to understand your food source.
The farms on the tour represent so many different products. Molasses, vegetables, meat, flowers. It is special to see the farmers proud of their operation and happy to open their doors to the public.
The above photos were taken at Ivy Creek Family Farm.
Ok time to get your newly sharpened pencils out... because the learning process never ends!
Technology, marketing, social media, your ideal client, your goals, your vision, the weather... it all continues to evolve and so should you.
So go out there and learn somethin'! Start with one of these sites...
Skillshare Join a Global Learning Community.
CreativeLive Learn. Be Inspired.
Skillcrush Digital skills are job skills.
Blogshop Photoshop for bloggers.
Need to get down some basics before you continue your education? Read this first. Then this.
Time for Part 2 for Small Business Resources. I can't claim to have used all of these but they are all on my radar and worth sharing. These are a few tools to help you connect to your audience.
Too soon for that? Read this first.
Seth’s (Godin) Blog
Networking/Associations in Asheville/WNC:
Vibrant Asheville Business
WNC Women Entrepreneurs
Asheville Grown Business Alliance
Read up. Then go jump in the French Broad River before summer is over!
With my new ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) partnership, I'm lucky to visit Western NC's farms. Support local farmers, local food.
For my latest Farmer Profile for ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project), I headed out to Nebo, NC. #buylocal
Ever notice how hard it is to whittle down the vast amount of info residing online? If you haven't, get on it! Get overwhelmed like the rest of us!
I believe that #sharingiscaring so in case you stumble in this direction during your internet adventures, I now have offered a touch more than pretty pictures. Here is a brief list of general small business resources that are on my radar. I can't claim I have used them all but there is a good chance I will down the road.
Mountain Biz Works (Asheville/WNC specific)
Law for Creatives
The Online 401K
This is a good starting point. Go for it.
Then peel yourself away from the screen to take a quick walk in the park.