In 2017 I opened, Scout + Cedar, a humble men's clothing store on one of the busiest streets in Buffalo. I pulled out the small 401k I accumulated working for Channel 4 News and decided to go for it. I had an idea, a passion, a prime location, and as I quickly learned not even close to enough money.
After around a year and a half I closed my doors, and in the process of packing up shop I learned a lot. I don't talk about Scout + Cedar often, at some point, possibly during a solo backpacking trip I'll sit down and put into to words the lessons I learned through failure. Now is not that time; however, one thing I am comfortable sharing is that the process of opening a small business, of pursuing a dream, is financially daunting. It's damn near impossible, and it shouldn't be.
What most people don't understand is that everything cost more than you expect, literally everything. Sure, I should have planned better and saved for years or even taken out a small business loan, but I didn't. After building out my space, stocking my shelves, and paying rent, I didn't have any money left for marketing. In my case I had a camera, and after running social media for lululemon Buffalo, a pretty good understanding of what direction I was supposed to head in.
In a world where content is king, and the cost of creating that content is getting higher and higher, a super small business can struggle (like I did) to launch with quality images that reflect what they offer. This is where the New Brand Project comes in. Each month I'm looking to provide a brand-specific shoot and social media strategy for a small business just starting out. No fees, no hidden motives, just me and my camera, trying to help people succeed where I couldn't.