I Wonder: Do you help small businesses?

For many years now I’ve done my best to spend my money locally. And taking that even further, I’ve tried to select one-off businesses, or small businesses, whenever possible. Little boutiques, Etsy shops, art shows, mom-and-pop stores, etc.

Since I’m an entrepreneur, I do my best to help my fellow small-business owners. I’m a natural networker, so I do my best to let others know about the small-business owners I know who are doing cool things.

In this time of big-box retailers and billion-dollar companies, I urge you to not forget the “little guy.” I bet you won’t be disappointed!

That was the case last winter when I was still full-time at the Science Museum of Minnesota. I was designing the graphics for the Wonder Years exhibition, which is a permanent exhibition that highlights early childhood development. The exhibit designer and I were looking to hang some 12-foot fabric banners around the perimeter of the exhibition, to make “walls” that weren’t walls, and we wanted them to include images of “moments” between children and others.

When our search of the huge photography houses around the globe was looking dismal–both due to lack of compelling images and their ridiculous prices–I turned to my friend, professional photographer Jesse Valley of Jesse Valley Photography. Jesse let us choose from his existing image catalog, and we chose some that fit our tall-and-skinny format. Not only were his prices reasonable, he also went above and beyond by scheduling two *free* model calls to gather even more images for us to use.

I’m so happy I was able to hire a local, talented photographer to take the photos for the Wonder Years banners. It makes the exhibition even more special to me, especially since it was the last one I designed before leaving my position at SMM. I hope Jesse gets lots of recognition for his work with Wonder Years, and that he continues to have great success in the years to come. (Check out his blog post about Wonder Years. This one too. And this one!)

Do you shop locally? Which business owners in your area do you love to give props–and your hard-earned money–to?

Coming down the stairs: Wonder Years at the Science Museum of MN

Coming down the stairs: Wonder Years at the Science Museum

Title banner for Wonder Years at SMM

Title banner for Wonder Years at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Olivia Osei stars in a Jesse Valley photographs, on a Wonder Years banner

Olivia Osei stars in a Jesse Valley photograph, on a Wonder Years banner

Wonder Years graphics & furniture

Wonder Years graphics & furniture

Graphics & activities in Wonder Years

Graphics & Brain activities in Wonder Years

Cutout jars in Kitchen area of Wonder Years

Cutout jars in Kitchen area of Wonder Years

My goofy bunny illustration in the Kitchen cabinets

My goofy bunny illustration in the Kitchen cabinets

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