the importance of community
Being a young person in the age of the internet comes with it’s fair share of stresses. Constant news coverage you can’t escape from, heightened awareness of everything going on in the world, millions of perfectly curated Instagram stars to compare yourself to. We cannot escape the barrage of information being thrown at us every day. Is it any wonder we’re all so anxious?! But, amongst all this are the little pockets of joy that the internet brings. Community after online community dedicated to lifting people up, sharing good news and stories of success and happiness. Helping each other with work or social problems despite a physical distance of thousands of miles. What’s not to love about that? The internet has brought many of us so much closer together, enabling us to create our own supportive worlds and to get out into our own communities more and more. This is exceptional news for all us creative business owners!
What does community mean to Seabird Creative?
I’m a Devon girl. I’ve lived in South Devon my whole life, bar a few years living in Leicester while at uni. I didn’t think I’d miss my home while away, but I really, really did. As Joni Mitchell sang, don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. I didn’t realise how much I loved the South West until I was living away from it. I didn’t realise how much I loved Devon and the surrounding areas until I had a chance to reminisce about it.
My love for living in the South West is what pushed me into setting up Seabird Creative. I’ve been a graphic designer for 5 years working for various businesses and agencies in the area. Still, I wasn’t getting the opportunity to work with some of the smaller, more independent businesses in the area that really inspire me. I wanted to build something with those businesses in mind. A small, friendly studio that genuinely cares about the little guys, because I actually am one! If I didn’t care who I worked for or the kind of work I did I would just stay in agencies for the rest of my life. It would certainly be easier than setting up my own studio! But would it be as rewarding? Not in a million years.
How does love for the local community influence how Seabird Creative does business?
Since day 1 of setting up Seabird, I always knew I didn’t have it in me to be a ‘salesperson’. There’s nothing at all wrong with being salesy. I’m genuinely so jealous of people who can easily and naturally set up ‘sales funnels’ and close a deal. But it just isn’t me. Nothing about the sales process appeals to who I am or why I want to do what I do (except maybe the money you know?). My goal, and my business process is to get to know people that are doing great things. Have a friend setting up their own side business? How can I help? What support can Seabird Creative provide to allow you to reach your vision? If I’ve been to an amazing restaurant or cafe I’ll be sure to reach out on Instagram and let them know how much I love what they’re doing.
It’s important to me that business owners not only know who I am, but they actually like me! No bad vibes here. I know for a fact that I don’t want to do business with someone that doesn’t fill me with confidence and happy thoughts, let alone entrust them with my business branding! That’s insane! So I have to live by my own advice, creating the best work I can and being there to offer advice and support when needed.
Community Over Competition
It’s a great little tagline isn’t it. I’ll admit I didn’t come up with it myself, though I wish I had. It’s actually a notion that has come from a community that I’m super excited to be a part of called The Coven Girl Gang. Being part of this group really reinforced that I don’t need to be in competition with anyone, and that we’ll all do a whole lot better if we can all work together and support one another. For Seabird, this means chatting with other design agencies regularly. Asking questions and learning what I can from people further along in the process than me. And honestly? I have never encountered anyone that isn’t happy to chat away! I’ve never experienced competitiveness or awkwardness, and I’ve never responded in that way either.
For independent business owners, there’s so much that we’re all going through together. Why not share that load? Why not get advice from people you admire and respect? Life doesn’t have to be a competition, it can be a community of super cool like-minded creatives learning and sharing and creating work that is all the better for it.
Building a Community
This community first approach does mean that I have to actually get out and about, not just hide behind my giant computer screen like a design gremlin. I’ll be honest, these kind of situations scare the shit out of me. It’s terrifying putting yourself out there! That primary school fear of being rejected by the cool kids never goes away, but we have to just soldier through it if we’re going to be an important part of the community that inspires us.
I’m still hugely early days with Seabird Creative, but so far I’ve loved getting to know some amazing people doing exciting things. I’ve been able to do work that I’d never be able do in a mainstream agency environment. I’ve worked with incredible brands and businesses that I never would have known existed while working for a big name. And that to me is what it’s all about. Finding all the tiny, independent gems that the South West has to offer and working with them to create great things, and maybe help them grow into bigger gems!