Raise your hand if you have been in this conversation before:
“For Savannah to be successful, Savannah needs to be more like Atlanta, Chattanooga, Charleston (insert favorite midsize city here).”
Don’t get me wrong. Those cities are doing great things, each reflecting their city culture. Copying that for Savannah? Not the solution. For Savannah to be successful, Savannah just needs to figure out how to be ferociously, greatly Savannah.
I know, I know, bring on the torches and pitchforks, because that’s an unpopular opinion, right?
But the really good news is that we are well on our way to becoming ferociously, greatly successfully Savannah, thanks to the many people here who have said yes to this city, dedicating themselves to the homegrown hustle instead of fleeing for other cities. Savannah’s greatest asset is its people. Social entrepreneurs, innovators and business owners have found plenty of reasons to be a local. And to be local? Means growing your own right to be #MadeinSav.
Started as a collective idea, #MadeinSav was created as a way to shed light on the fact there are great things happening in Savannah. #MadeinSAV is now in the ongoing process of collecting all things locally awesome — the documentation of the creative, homegrown hustle. It’s tech and art and small business and food, all the things that makes this place so distinctly unique.
It’s what is fueling the creative economy of Savannah and a large component of what will help Savannah grow into its ferociously, great self.
#MadeinSav is also a work still in progress, as all collections of great stories are, and one set to debut in early August. In the few weeks since we’ve put the call out, we’ve been flooded with businesses sending their stories our way, eager to talk about their own journey so that it can be easier for the next savvy creator to go out on their own and do things a bit differently. From stories of debt management, to accessing capital, to the general thought “Am I crazy for doing this?”, #MadeinSav is an opportunity to not only tell the world what makes Savannah uniquely successful, but to showcase the hard-won wisdom of the people who are helping make it so.
Differences make strength
Upcoming and past participants include Urban Chamber of Commerce, Perc Coffee, Smoke Cartel, Starlandia, Paragon Design, Electric Lemonade and Howard Brothers. All are totally different companies and all are founded and fostered by people who are saying yes to Savannah, yes to growing a business here, and yes to creating opportunities for other people to economically grow. Other businesses such as Hidden Hand Society, InkyBrittany and 13 Bricks have offered profoundly simple and accessible advice that matters when striking out on the path of the creative economy.
“When I first thought of 13 Bricks as an artist collective, I had no idea what I was doing,” said Vann-Ellison Seales, owner of 13 Bricks, a local company that offers web design, brand development, screen-printing and so much more by the savvy team nestled in their East Broad Street location. “I had my parents in the back of my head saying, ‘You need to find a job. How are you going to support yourself?’ There was a real burning passion inside of me to make it a tangible, feasible, viable outcome, a vehicle for other people. You’ve got to take those opportunities seriously and really invest in yourself as far as preparation.”
“In the beginning, it actually took a lot of volunteering my services, rather than telling people about it,” says Brittany Curry, owner of InkyBrittany, a graphic facilitation service that visually documents meetings and makes them less, well, boring. “All it took was for me to do one meeting and people would immediately come up afterwards and express their interest in the work.
It became clear that this was what I wanted to focus on full time and that Savannah was a network of people that I could do that with.”
“If you can do it debt-free, do it debt-free,” says Holly L’Oiseau, owner of the amazing gem and seller of all things quirky Hidden Hand Society, located in the Starland District. “I think that’s a great way to go. It’s been a good business model for us, and it’s made us really happy and we can sleep at night.”
Think your #MadeinSav business or homegrown hustle is another great example of what makes Savannah successful? Email email@example.com to set up an interview!
Coco Papy is a community organizer and the community manager at Bull Street Labs and The Creative Coast, a non-profit organization made possible by the City of Savannah and the SEDA. Connect with Coco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TO BE FEATURED IN #MadeinSav
Urban Chamber of Commerce (www.urbansavannah.cc)
Perc Coffee (www.perccoffee.com)
Smoke Cartel (www.smokecartel.com)
Paragon Design (www.iamparagon.com)
Electric Lemonade (www.electriclemonade.com)
Howard Brothers ( http://projectmq.silvrback.com )
Hidden Hand Society (www.thehiddenhandsavannah.com)
13 Bricks (www.13bricks.com)