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Who owes whom here?

NewCardBig There’ve been a few posts that have caught my attention recently on the subject of small business and the buy local theme. It started with Drew McLellan's piecequestioning the decision by the Iowa Department of Economic Development to utilize a marketing firm from outside of Iowa ― to promote Iowa. I was left wondering: if the purpose of the IDED is to tout the great wealth of resources available here, then by their decision aren’t they saying, "We're great, oh, except for our PR businesses?"

There was also the post by Michael Libbie, “Small Business and Customer Service– A Myth?” This blog expressed the importance of local businesses to provide good customer service if they really want to keep customers. Michael’s post referenced another by Tom Vander Well, “Customer Service is Crucial to Local Small Business.” Tom details a few examples of his attempts to buy locally, only to be disappointed and inconvenienced in the effort.

Bag All three posts addressed the buy local quandary of “being neighborly” in our consumerism versus being a consumer first. Really who owes whom when it comes to buying locally owned? As small businesses owners we can’t clamor for people to buy from us if we don’t address the challenge of delivering useful and well executed services. As consumers we want ease, affordability, and thoughtful service. What to do? 

Of course, I can restate the tangible, data-driven benefits for buying locally: keep more revenue in the state, support unique businesses, invest in your neighbor who has invested in your community, and buy from independents as they support our local nonprofits more than the corporate giants. BUT, I would also add that we buy stuff and services because it meets our desires and expresses our values. “I am what I consume.” 

With that as an additional purpose of consumerism, what do we really want that vast quantity of stuff we own to represent? I suggest that when we support our locally owned merchants, we are actually investing in the American dream of business ownership. Many people dream of breaking out of the cubicle and forging the frontier of entrepreneurship ― but don’t because they are afraid of failure. I think our dollars are placeholders not only for the things we get, but for what we encourage in others.

So, yes small business owners need to listen to their customers and put that foremost on the list of the gazillion other issues demanding their time. But don’t let the incidence of a bad experience with a local shop steer you away from the major point. (Besides, I bet everyone has anecdotes of poor experiences buying big and corporate too.) When things don’t go well, let the merchant know (nicely please) and then move on down the street to the next locally owned store and try again. I expect where you had a bad experience in one shop, you may find quite the opposite in another. The alternative is to have absolutely no voice and no choice if you simply write off small and go with the big entities driven by consumption alone.

The Family Tree - Yoga, massage, pre/postnatal, music classes

The Family Tree logo My husband, Zach, and myself own The FamilyTree. We are a mama and papa business offering yoga, massage, Reiki, pre/postnatal services, health counseling and music classes for children. We started this business as a way to move more freely in our lives, grow stronger roots in our community and to live and work collectively.

We are a young and growing family—blessed so far with two beautiful boys who are eager to be a part of everything we do (and most times are). We believe that through sharing our gifts, talents, and ourselves with the community—the community in turn will share the same with us, and we can all grow together.

We hope to create an environment that is welcoming to all and one that fosters a true sense of community. We strive to offer services and activities to complement, enhance or better balance your lives.

Offering yoga, massage and body work, facials.

Sandi hoover

The Family Tree    

Sandi and Zach Hoover

3817 Ingersoll Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50312


#114 Michael Wagner of White Rabbit Group

Michael Wagner White Rabbit Group How well do you share your passion and purpose with your customers and employees? How do you stand out in a crowd as a service that is unique? In this interview, master storyteller and branding expert Mike Wagner of White Rabbit Group provides several key concepts that you can act on immediately to present your business in a way that connects you to your customers while refreshing your focus. Enjoy this business renewal!    

#113 Maria Luttrell-Murphy of Soy Spacasso

Maria Luttrell Murphy Maria shares her passionate and heartfelt journey of creating the soy-based skin care line Soy Spacasso. In this interview she recounts the process of designing the lotions and candles, developing a marketing program, launching the Soy Spacasso website, and getting products on the shelf. Learn from Maria's experience what it takes to get an idea from the kitchen lab to the cosmetic aisle. (about 32 minutes long)

VJ Farmers Market photos, join the fan club

Here are some fun shots of the Valley Junction Farmers Market taken by camera woman Sofi, daughter of Kristie Karima Burns, of HerbnHome. Kristie (in the first photo) is hosting the booth 4 of the Thursdays in June. This Thursday look for Sarah Reid of Wallypop to be there.

Mary Boyvey of Sparkle Hoop Dance was at the booth for a couple of weeks and will be back here and there throughout the remainder of the market. (second photo)

Also, please join the dsmBUZZ fan club and keep posted on what's happening with locally owned merchants. I plan to share My Des Moines and the stuff I love about living there. Tell me about Your Des Moines and join the group too.(lots of dogs at the VJ market. Check out the size of this one!)

Kristie Karima Burns farmers' market  

Mary Boyvey Sparkle Hoop Dance 

Dog at VJ farmers market

KIVA lenders can now microlend in the U.S.

Kivaloans KIVA has had a meteoric rise helping to facilitate micro-lending between individuals to small business owners all over the world. This week they expanded the businesses who can ask for loans to those found right here in the U.S.

KIVA lenders and entrepreneurs utilize story to help explain the emotional impact they are trying to achieve. Good stuff for those of us who like the idea of knowing the story behind the mission statements, logos, and whatnot.

Sparkle Hoop Dance - Mary Boyvey

Mary Boyvey 

Mary found herself in the hoop in 2006, while trying to find a stress reducer for both herself and her co-workers.  The experience was profound – everyone laughed and forgot about their worries for a time.  In 2008, she became a certified Hoopnotica hoop dance instructor so that she could share her passion with others. 

Along with this progressive curriculum, Mary enjoys blending a variety of movement and meditation practices into her classes.   Whether it be hooping, teaching or making a hoop; Mary finds hooping to be a fun, creative outlet.  She is a regular at the Woodward area sample sunday events and at Snus Hil winery on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons.   She can be reached at sparklehoopdance@yahoo.com.  Come give it a whirl and see if you can find yourself in the hoop!



#112 Cheryl Wallace Lockwood Jewelers

Lockwood jeweler I met Cheryl through a series of recent Chamber meetings for the newly formed Des Moines Chamber West. She floored me with her very authentic and creative presence AND her longevity. Personally, I'm dazzled that she'll belt out a song when we go round talking about ourselves and our businesses at the monthly breakfast.

It's business women like her that make me think, "Come on Sherry, get with it and hang in there." It is a pleasure to interview entrepreneurs everywhere but a special treat to interview those right in my own backyard! Enjoy hearing about Cheryl's experiences as a jeweler and business woman.

I choose to consciously consume.

Thanks to Kathy Hansen for bringing this organization to my attention. The entire video is well done and well worth watching. It feeds into everything that first propelled me to think about starting dsmBUZZ and why big and cheapest is not really in our best interest for the economy in the long run. I've been talking about conscious consumerism for years but I wonder how I personally really work to achieve that. 

As David and I consider a move to reduce, I'm truly thinking about the stuff I own, which leads to thinking about the stuff I want, which leads to thinking about the stuff I consume. I'm thinking which will hopefully lead to more action. How about you?

#111 Sean Buvala - storyteller, speaker, coach

Seanbuvala Since my own business and interest is in working with people and stories, I was particularly pleased to participate in this interview with Sean. He has grown his business over many years offering coaching to groups and organizations in the use of storytelling to harness the passion of individuals. What is your story and how do you share it? Think about this as you listen. 

or call 515-274-6703.


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