Welcome to Season 3, Episode 1 of the Indie Business Podcast! In this first episode of my third season, I'm thrilled to share the theme for Season 3: Makers on Main Street. Don't you just love that?! Considering all the talk we hear from lawmakers and media pundits about “Main Street” businesses that are really not “main street” at all, I think it's time to celebrate Real Main Street businesses.
What better way to do that than to highlight the Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs who are opening shops and boutiques like wildfire in cities and towns all over? Don't you just want to dive in and meet these amazing people and hear their stories!? Let's get started.
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Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Indie Business Network
Big Online Sales Numbers Don't Tell the Whole Story
Mashable recently published an article citing a Forrester Research firm report projecting that online retail sales should reach $370 billion annually by 2017, a full tenth of all retail sales overall in the US. While those statistics are good news for Makers, they don't necessarily reflect a decline in bricks and mortar. In fact, I think they reflect something far more exciting — the integration of physical locations to complement businesses that started exclusively online. My members and other Makers are a perfect illustration of that — in spades!!
This is exciting news considering that it was not too long ago that many people thought that the online world was going to all but replace our need to be out and about in our communities at all. Today, I see communities beginning to thrive in a new way, not because of old money or a resurgence of traditional shopping models, but because of an influx of new ideas from people with really no business background at all.
This is so exciting to me, especially since my own personal mission in life and in business is to spend myself to ensure that no woman would ever feel like she cannot MAKE and SELL something that would allow her to provide a good life for herself and for her children.
A Bit of My Retail Store Story
When I launched the Indie Business Network in 2000, my retail store was still open. The tiny little Maria Grace Aromatherapy and Bath Shop was tucked on the second floor of a quaint shopping district in Takoma Park, right on the Washington, DC line. I was located between an Indie African book store and an herb shop.
Every weekend, I made fresh face masks and sugar scrubs, and sold them in front of my building when they closed the street for the weekly farmer's market. It was heaven … until a few years later when stores starting closing like crazy.
The ice cream shop across the street closed. The art gallery on the corner closed. The Indie book store left. The Armenian restaurant boarded up. And the pastry shop owned by a former White House chef passed onto new owners — and well, you get the picture.
I closed my store shortly after IBN started to grow at a pretty rapid clip, and, like many of you, I watched thousands of stores (large and small), close as the business world shuffled to accommodate a whole new retail world.
An interesting thing seems to be happening today across the nation. If my membership is any indication, there is an exciting resurgence of wonderful shops opening up everywhere and in Season 3 of the Indie Business Podcast, I will introduce you to some of them, and to the amazing Indies who own them.
We've got several states covered — maybe yours is one of them: Georgia, California, Maryland, Ohio, New Hampshire, Washington state, Texas, New York and many more. Eleven in all.
Some of What Awaits You in Season 3
This is an important Season of my podcast because you will be inspired that nothing is impossible. You'll meet a woman who opened her shop after losing her husband to a fatal disease, and while she is still holding down a full-time job and raising a son as a single mom.
You'll meet a woman in Baltimore who started making beauty products in her kitchen, and now not only owns a production space, but has an art studio and pop up artist exchange, AND a hair salon — where the stylists use her products exclusively of course. (Maryland)
You'll meet a gal in Georgia who has 7 separate income streams, springing forth out of a retail location in one of the tiniest towns in her state.
You'll meet a couple of guys in Texas who just opened a shop in one of the trendiest destination locations in the country, selling fair trade and artisan products handmade by artists from around the world.
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