Buy local: There’s creative talent in every community

Creative talent is everywhere; look in your own backyard before going further afield, recommends blogger Mark Auerbach.

Creative talent is everywhere; look in your own backyard before going further afield, recommends blogger Mark Auerbach.

Now that it’s summer, people head to the farm stands and the farmer’s markets for their fresh, locally-grown or native fruits and vegetables. Local chefs and restaurants tout their “farm-to-table” cuisine, and we tend to relish every bite. We feel good about our wise food choices, and we applaud ourselves for supporting the local farms.

When the holiday season retail crush is upon us, we’ll see the many campaigns to support the small businesses, the local creative industries, and “the little guys.” We feel good when we purchase in an ethical manner, because we believe we’re bettering our community.

As a small business person, it makes sense to buy local whenever possible, even if you’re purchasing services from the creative industries–graphic design, film and video, public relations, printing, web design, and social media.

First of all, it’s the right thing to do. If you take resources and use resources in your community, it’s important to give something back. Call it moral purchasing. You purchase something from a local vendor. That vendor uses the money to purchase something else from a local vendor. And, so on…

Second of all, it makes economic sense. When you buy local, you eliminate shipping time and costs; you have access to your provider. If you use a local printer for your brochure, you can do a press-check in person to make sure the color and paper are exactly what you want.

Third, when geography is not an issue, you get to know your vendors and your vendors get to know you. If you run a small bakery, you can deliver a fresh-baked pastry. It doesn’t have to dry out being shipped. If you uss a local printer, you can visit their facilities, meet their people, and put a face to the name on the client invoice.

Better control

A former client of mine designed and printed an expensive (yet lovely) catalogue brochure every year. He chose to have it designed locally, but decided to print it in China, where he could save significant money, spending about .10 per item instead of .60 per item at a local print house. He engaged a mail house near the West Coast pier to do the mailing of the catalogue. He built in the six weeks time it takes to ship from China to the USA into his marketing schedule.

Well, there was a work slowdown on the pier, and his six weeks turned into eight weeks. The mail house was now backed up with other projects, and his turn-around time doubled. By the time the catalogue reached households, it was over a month behind schedule, and already out-of-date. And, the colors were off, because he didn’t want to spend the money to fly to China to do a press check.

When you buy local, you have more control. You also have a network of people in your backyard that you can turn to. Also, it is not unusual for local vendors with whom you’ve built long-term relationships with to refer clients to you. A vendor on the other side of the country is not apt to do that.

Buying creative services locally isn’t that difficult. First, get over the idea that the best quality work only comes from New York City or Los Angeles. There are talented people everywhere.

From a practical sense, if you see an ad that you like, ask the retailer who does his/her graphic design. If you see a website that catches your fancy, inquire of the webmaster who puts it all together.

A local economic development department generally knows the creative industries resources in town, as does every tourism and convention bureau. Some economic development groups sponsor creative industries networking events.

LinkedIn is a good way to research creative talent in your area. There are local LinkedIn networks for just about every metropolitan area. Join one and pose the question. Who might you recommend for graphic design in Anytown, USA ?

The Public Relations Society of America has chapters in many areas. You can network through their membership.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies has members nationwide as well.

The American Advertising Federation inks together many ad clubs.

When you need creative services, buy local. It’s good for your business. It’s good for your community. It’s a definite win-win.


Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn

1 comment

  1. Chris says:

    I try to support my community by buying local. This is hard to do now, My wife spends hours of time searching for coupons and bargins

    Owner Cel Financial Services

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