Local. It’s been a buzzword for awhile now, and for good reason. While the entirety of the world is feeling like it’s at our fingertips, we sometimes forget that what’s around us is just as cool, and interesting, and worthy of our time and money.
I used to sort of hate Ottawa. I was young (like high school young – I can hear my mom’s laughter and her saying ‘you’re still young!’) and felt bored by this city. Little did I know I was missing out on Canada’s best kept secret. As I grew up and found more freedom I began to see what Ottawa really had to offer – a great landscape for adventure, culture, and community. Back then it really was a big town/little city trying to find its roots. Lots of people felt it was a struggle, and like anything that has potential had its share of haters (people still say that Ottawa is the city that fun forgot – boo to those people). I was convinced they were wrong, and would debate my little heart out if I was faced with negativity towards the city that saw me -safely- through my rebellious teenage years. Between friends I became the go-to person to ask about what was going on in the city – new restaurant or store openings, concerts, off-the-beaten track sights, festivals – I was even nicknamed “Dana-knows” for awhile. I’m still convinced the haters are wrong, and always will be, especially as Ottawa grows up with new transit, new developments and lots of newcomers. So without delving into a deep hole of explaining how Ottawa is a great city, I’ll say that the local scene is amazing and keep it at that, sort of.
A little over two years ago I went back to school for business. The business bug had finally sunk its teeth into me and all the years of my dad saying “that’s a good business idea” was starting to stick. I loved the idea of being a local business owner. It carried a sense of pride and belonging that I never really felt before. I finally knew, after years of doubting if I’d ever have a career instead of a job, what I wanted to do. Local became my mantra, and it didn’t feel forced or contrived like other trendy things can. I remember writing a post on Facebook around that same time about October’s Support Local Month. It touched on my dream of owning a custom furniture store, but more to the point that supporting local is important when things like outlet malls pop up around the city. I dug it up just now and was happy to find that all 22 businesses I tagged in that post are still alive and kicking today – and they’re all owned by hardworking people in our community, employing your neighbours, and making Ottawa a place with character and heart.
We celebrated Scott’s birthday this past weekend and as I was wrapping his gifts I realized that everything I got him was from a local business and shopping that way has become second nature. If you want to see what I got him, check out our Instagram page. It’ll also keep you up to date on what we’re tinkering with and what we’ll be selling (Etsy page coming soon – stay tuned)!
You may be asking why I’m going down this path. Well, it’s because I believe strongly in it. Starting a business does heavily rely on support from friends and family but also people that I don’t know yet but who want to spend their hard earned cash on what we have to offer. I’ll never tire of having a loud voice of support local/support independent/support small business, and will mention it as much as I can! As Valentine’s Day approaches, think twice about where you’ll get those flowers, or that box of chocolates, or maybe even a cute little wooden diamond available at Maker House Co. in Ottawa’s Hintonburg neighbourhood, made by yours truly 😉