North Carolina has long been home to ground-breaking medical research and world-renowned agricultural industries, driving the entrepreneurial spirit of our state that is mutually held by small businesses and local purveyors alike. Also embodying this spirit are the countless artisans across the state providing an increasingly quality-minded consumer base with handmade products – and I do, humbly, consider myself one of them.
Following years of graphic design and online marketing work for large corporate brands, I decided to make the decision to pursue my passion for art with a more individualized approach. This past year I launched my own design business and I have had the opportunity to provide customers with paper goods, stationary, and calligraphed products.
After taking the leap, I’ve seen a real ally in a number of technology and social media platforms that have allowed me to hit the ground running with a built-in customer base ripe for the picking. From gaining a critical mass of customers to maintaining an organized operation, online technology has been crucial in my growth as a business owner.
Thanks to the advent of social media, local artisans are no longer limited to selling products in their immediate communities. By curating social media channels like Instagram with up-to-date product information and promotional events, I’ve been able to effectively reach new customers and maintain contact with my regular clients. We have virtually unlimited reach to customers around the world – potential I hope to capitalize on as I grow the business.
Supporting this growth behind the scenes, a number of digital tools beyond social media have streamlined my operations, eased communication with customers, and hugely expanded the potential of my business. Google’s tools, for example, have allowed me to maintain reliable lines of communication with my clients as we work together to create the perfect end-product. And as my business expands, I look forward to tapping my own experience with e-commerce and online marketing to leverage Google’s advertising platform, a tool I have personally seen generate improved revenues and transform brands.
All of this said, you’d be hard-pressed to avoid hearing the rhetoric surrounding the technology industry today. Despite the state of North Carolina working hard to retain top talent and keep its doors open to investment from technology companies, some of our elected officials have been keen on calling for increased regulation on the industry.
But the value of these larger companies for small operations cannot be overstated, and any short-sighted political moves made against technology platforms have the potential to muzzle the voices of small businesses like mine, however well-meaning these attempts may be. As elected leaders think big about their political and regulatory proposals, it’s necessary for them to pause and consider small businesses that would never have launched without the help of large technology companies.
While the success of my business relies on the use of more antiquated demonstrations of affection and communication, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of highly innovative technology platforms and social media tools. I know I’m not alone in seeing potential for the local artisan to grow as a business in the 21st century – candlemakers and cobblers alike across North Carolina have seen their potential skyrocket with the help of digital technology platforms.