How do you build an engaged local following? How do you build a community around a brand? How do you support local? According to Connor Curran, you do it one person at a time. You need to focus on the metrics that matter and be uniquely yourself. Connor Curran is a co-owner of Local Laundry. They are all about building community in everything they do. Connor is a marketing wizard when it comes to buy-local eCommerce strategy. In this episode of Negotiations Ninja, we talk about actionable tactics and how to build a community one person at a time.
Outline of This Episode
- [1:43] One engaged person at a time
- [3:47] Focus on the metrics that matter
- [7:39] Cultivate a strong local supply chain
- [13:20] How “Made in Canada” impacts marketing
- [15:36] Can one person make a difference?
- [18:15] How to connect with Connor + Local Laundry
One engaged person at a time
Connor points out that we live in a generation of “now.” We want everything now. You want to watch a movie? Netflix. You want to go somewhere? Uber. When we start businesses, we want to go from zero to one hundred now. No one wants to grow a business anymore. Business owners feel like a failure if they can’t get 100,000 followers. If they don’t raise $50 million, they’re a failure. It’s become sexy to scale quickly. Connor emphasizes that “We’ve lost the ability to grow and build a business.”
But it takes time. Growing a business takes time. You have to be patient. Local Laundry has 20,000 followers on Instagram. People constantly ask him how he grows his community. His answer? One engaged person at a time. They aren’t experts at marketing, design, or fashion. They’re experts at relationships. They value every single relationship—from vendors to artists to customers. Focus on building a community one engaged person at a time.
What else is important? Focusing on the metrics that matter. A strong local supply chain. Businesses whose products are made locally. Listen to hear Connor’s take on these important factors.
How “Made in Canada” impacts marketing
Moving 100% local has been a great decision for Local Laundry—but it wasn’t easy. They were selling sweaters for $60 and had to switch to selling them for $80–$90. People were telling them that there was no way people would spend that kind of money. They were terrified, but they knew it was the right thing to do. They couldn’t keep buying the cheapest clothing produced in deplorable and unsustainable conditions.
After taking into consideration the ethical, economical, and environmental factors, they made a decision. They flipped the switch and moved to Canadian-made. Customers came in droves. Connor encourages people to do their own research. Check your labels to see where things are made. All of these great brands that people love—where do they come from?
One person CAN make a difference
If you don’t make a change, who will? It’s up to the consumer. Nothing will change until consumer behavior changes. Every time you buy something, you’re voting with your wallet. You can choose Starbucks—or a local coffee shop, right?
The reason Connor was drawn to clothing was that he felt it’s such a unique vehicle to express your own thoughts, opinions, and values—whether consciously or subconsciously. Why not buy something Canadian-made? When someone says, “that’s a nice shirt,” you can tell them all about it with pride.
He gets that it can be expensive. But he’s firmly committed and doesn’t buy anything unless it’s Canadian made. He’s the hardest person to buy for. He’s learned—by only supporting Canadian-made companies—that he buys less. So he can save money. When you save for something and delay gratification, you cherish it more. You can truly say, “this is my favorite shirt,” and love telling everyone about it. One person can make a difference.
Businesses follow consumers. They follow the money. They will change. If you stop buying the stuff made in China, businesses will follow. It’s up to consumers to support companies that align with their values. What is the cost of not supporting local businesses? It doesn’t always appear on the surface. It may be social or environmental implications—but there is always a cost.
Connect with Connor Curran
- Local Laundry
- Connect on LinkedIn
- Local Laundry on Twitter
- Local Laundry on Instagram
- Local Laundry on Facebook