Here's the thing- I started Fiber in June of 2016. That is crazy to me. It has become such a huge part of my life and to think it didn’t even exist a year ago?! Bonkers. When I decided to give this a real go I wanted to start fresh- as in a new brand, website, instagram account, and 0 reach. In ten months in I’ve grown my gang to almost 1,700 on insta, have monthly workshops and pop ups, and am sold at a few retailers too. I don’t share this to brag but to say that hard work and being nice pay off! Now here where your girl (or guy) gang comes in. The biggest thing you can do to grow your community is to invest in it! Without the local and virtual relationships that I have Fiber would be nothing.
Here are 5 tips to grow your gang:
- Support small business and local organizations- find your local Rising Tide Society group, look for creative meet ups, if you're in Orlando sign up for The Dinner Party Project, go to handmade markets, visit small businesses. Every town or city has small creative businesses. Find yours! Then volunteer your time, wares, etc. Finding an organization that you're passionate about and volunteering will lead to relationships with other passionate about the same things!
- Talk to people- This one sounds basic but when you are doing the above you have to connect. Say hi- ask how long they have been lived in your city/been open in that location/in business. These conversations can lead to relationships which open opportunity for partnerships and collaborations. Other creative entrepreneurs want these relationships/partnerships too!
- Pursue partnerships- Ask! It is the simplest thing to do. Don’t wait for people to reach out you. And not every ask will come to fruition but some will. Look for businesses and people who have a similar audience so that you can help each other grow!
- Be open- share with other creatives in your community. If someone asks questions (how do you edit your pics, what website platform do you use, etc) tell them! I’m not saying you have to give away your business/trade secrets or that you have to give them all your time (bc lets be real- there will be people who simply WANT from you without engaging) but imagine if the tables were turned. Where would you be if people didn’t open up and help you?
- Share your story- we all have things that make us unique. Don’t be afraid to get vulnerable and share your heart. There will always be people who roll their eyes but there will be people who embrace you and you are encouraged by you. Those people make everything worth it.
At the end of the day community has made all the difference for me this time around. I don’t know what I would do without their encouragement and support. So go for it! Put yourself out there. If people shut you down- then they aren’t your people. And don’t give up. Your gang is out there waiting for you!