Gia Bellamy

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Senior Copywriter

All News, Community, Culture

You may be a creative genius without even realizing it.

Do you consider yourself creative? The right answer is: yes, duh! To me, creativity isn’t a gift bestowed upon a select few. It’s a frame of mind that can help you work through complex problems, be more productive and even finish a New York Times crossword.

This idea struck me during an MPR event called, “Conversations on the Creative Economy.” Duluth is fortunate to have a wealth of creative, craft businesses, as evidenced by the panel of professionals from Bent Paddle, Frost River and the Duluth Grill. But early into the conversation, it became clear that for these businesses, creativity isn’t just part of creating unique products. It’s a way of thinking and running a business. And it seemed clear that every business could learn a thing or two from their examples.

Whether you’re selling delicious beer or the industrial adhesive that holds the beer case together, you have to be creative. As someone who has written copy for clients in both industries, I can attest to this firsthand. You have to find a new way to reach and relate to people, get your message across and be compelling enough to make someone not only want to buy, but want to be part of what you’re all about. That takes creativity. Even if you’ve invented a brand new game like the wildly popular Exploding Kittens, chances are, you’re still going to have competition in your category, such as Ratatat Cat or Cards Against Humanity or…you get it.

So if you work in a business, let this be your creative call-to-action. Find what makes you different and unique and live it. Don’t let it stop with a logo. Your tone-of-voice, your website copy, even your invoices are an opportunity to get creative.

Here are a few places to start:

  • Do your social media accounts reflect what makes your business unique?
  • Do your marketing materials present an accurate representation of the quality you offer?
  • When you have an event coming up, do you spend time thinking of an interesting name or concept?

These are all ways to be creative while running a business, which can help you stand out and create a loyal following. Just take a note from some of our clients.

Gia Bellamy

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Senior Copywriter

All News, Events

We <3 local businesses. Many of our clients are local business owners. We have a passion for shopping local. Heck, we ourselves are a small business.

And ICYMI: It’s National Small Business Week. Now is the perfect time to salute the small but mighty shops that make our city so unique.

We know how important it is to keep money in our local economy. Which is why we’re giving you five easy ways to think small this week (and always). Are you up for the challenge? Here’s what you have to do.

  1. Caffeinate Locally. This week, opt for a local coffee shop instead of the chains. We have a wealth of delicious coffee and tea shops around. Not sure where to go? Send us a message and we can point you in the right direction.
  2. Stock Your Fridge with Local Goods. Instead of going to a mega retailer, shop at a locally owned grocery store or co-op. Then invite your friends over and share a meal in the name of local. We’re free any night this week.
  3. Catch a Local Show. Did you hear it’s Homegrown Week? Plenty of chances to get into a new local band. You might have also heard the DSSO has a show coming up this Saturday.
  4. Sweat Locally. Have you tried a fitness class or run club? We’re lucky to have so many beautiful trails and tracks to explore. Head outside and take it all in. Or, head inside for a local yoga, spin or training class.
  5. Gift Locally. We probably don’t need to remind you that this Sunday is Mother’s Day, but we will anyway. Get your mom a lovely arrangement from a local flower shop. You can trust that it will be better than being surprised by a couple of sad roses shipped in the mail that *claimed* to be a fully blossomed bouquet.

That’s what it takes to be local. Hopefully this challenge is an easy one, and you’re already supporting the great businesses we have here. Maybe you should celebrate with a local craft beer or cocktail?

In all seriousness, if you love a local business, the best thing you can do is become a devoted patron. Let us know if we can help you find a hidden gem or two.

Gia Bellamy

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Senior Copywriter

Agency Life, All News

This post is part of a series around October’s theme, Mobile: An exploration of how this word permeates our work and lives in 2016.

It’s 2 p.m. You’ve managed to fill a few pages with ideas. You’re on a roll. You feel like Leo shouting, “I’m king of the wooorld!” from the Titanic. Just then, a self-doubt cold front moves in to veer you off course. That familiar mental roadblock pops up like a giant iceberg and says, “There are no new ideas. Everything you’ve thought of has already been done before. What makes you think you’re any good at this at all?” Sometimes you can shake off the inner monologue and get back to what you were doing. Other times, it takes a little more to fight that sinking feeling.

I’m a big fan of getting outside of the office every now and then—whether you’re dealing with a case of imposter syndrome or you just need a different perspective. Going mobile, to work or just to step out of your own mind, is a great mental reset.

I’ve started to notice my fellow Swim’rs appreciate a change of scenery, too. Every so often, someone will duck out and take a lap around the block. Blame it on Duluth’s fresh air and general zen-like attitude. Whatever it is, it seems to be working.

After a quick office poll (shoutout to the people who respond to my emails), here’s how the Swim Team takes work mobile:

“The Lakewalk. Not sure if it’s the ships or the people watching, but I find myself tuning into a podcast and eventually, I’ll take out my Notes App and start jotting down ideas that come to mind.” -Amber

“UMD Library. During college, this was a place where I went to write, research, read and think. I still find it helpful for finding focus. The quietness helps me clear my mind while the campus location brings me enjoyable nostalgia. The Tweed Museum is also just down the hall, and is a great source for finding inspiration.” -Max

I just set up a pretty cute home office for working remotely. Other than that, I really enjoy working from Snooty Fox Tea Shop.” -Ben

So, my question is, where do you go to get out of your own head?

Photo credit: Cody Paulson/Port City Supply Co.