Meet Kelly, founder of @FallForLocal and the panel discussion series, #LocalTalks – a monthly gathering for local small business owners, makers, bloggers and entrepreneurs. She sat down to chat with us about connecting creatives, shopping local, and creating conversation with community leaders.
1. Where and how did Fall For Local begin?
I started Fall For Local when I noticed a disconnect between entrepreneurs in Vancouver and wanted to build community and connect local with local. As you can see here, that ethos still drives the brand today.
Now into our fifth year, Fall For Local has evolved from an evening soirée for entrepreneurs, into a large-scale, two-day shop local event hosted in Vancouver, four times a year. We also facilitate a monthly speaker series, LocalTalks, in partnership with Ollie Quinn. Currently in Vancouver and Ottawa, our plan is to expand LocalTalks to other cities in Fall 2019.
2. The way in which you cultivate community for local businesses is something we admire. What inspired you to launch an organization with community-building as its primary goal?
As an entrepreneur myself, I know it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running a business or not showering and leaving the house for days. (Yes! I’m guilty of that.) So I really wanted to create a hub for like-minded entrepreneurs to come together, talk shop, connect and get inspired!
3. Was there a defining moment in the early days of Fall For Local, when you realized there was a widespread desire for stronger community ties between small and mid-sized businesses?
Over the past few years, we’ve noticed an influx of people starting their own businesses in Vancouver, which is so inspiring! When Fall For Local first launched, there wasn’t a lot of that. The terms “girl boss” and entrepreneur were a bit foreign. Tying into the recent shop local movement, Fall For Local events have enabled small to mid-sized businesses to succeed by creating a space for their founders to gain exposure and sell their goods – and that’s an awesome feeling!
4. Are there any brands or people in particular that have inspired you to keep doing what you’re doing?
Hands down, the people behind the brand inspire me to keep doing what I’m doing! Fall For Local Markets provide launch pads for small businesses to break into their respective industries without having to invest in brick & mortar retail spaces. It has brought me so much joy to see the growth of the people and businesses that have participated in our Fall For Local Markets throughout the years. It’s so cool knowing they got their start at one of our markets.
5. Creativity is an omnipresent thread in Fall For Local’s narrative; how do you, yourself, stay creative?
You know how some people are really good at Math? Science? Well, I’ve always had creativity in my blood! Albeit, that doesn’t mean I’m creative every day. If I’m not in a creative mood, I don’t put too much pressure on myself. I’ll focus on the boring stuff that comes with running a business (bookkeeping, taxes, etc.) on days like that. Ultimately, be patient and kind with yourself and trust the process. The writer’s block or what I like to call “Bah! I need to be creative now, not tomorrow!” block, will eventually fade.
6. What’s next for Fall For Local?
Fall For Local has grown a lot in the past year, with our markets and talks, but we’ve also got some big plans for 2019 – starting with the launch of our LocalTalks series in other cities across Canada!
7. Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
If you have a small business, or are thinking about starting one, you don’t want to miss the candid conversations around entrepreneurship we have at LocalTalks! If you’re in Ottawa or Vancouver, make sure to come out to one of our talks. If you’re located elsewhere, keep an eye out for LocalTalks coming to your city by joining the mailing list on our website.