Bottom Line Up Front: This husband-and-wife print shop team is back with another killer fundraising campaign — and this time, we’re even more blown away. From knockout products to popular (& passionate) social media videos, they’re capturing attention near and far. Full breakdown below!
Experienced Local Supporters
You might remember Chrystal and Arthur Hart-Meeker from the first Customer Success Story we wrote about them back in October. It was when the wildfires were burning through Oregon, and they had spearheaded a campaign, called We Are Oregon, to help their community through the challenges that resulted.
Well, if you read that article and got to know the Hart-Meekers at all, you might’ve expected that their do-good mentality — and their eagerness to step up for their beloved community — would get them back on this part of the InkSoft blog before long.
You would’ve been right.
With Oregon facing new shutdowns after skyrocketing rates of the virus, local businesses have been confronted with their worst nightmare coming true. For the second time. So Chrystal and Arthur, never ones to watch their friends and peers struggle in silence, got to using their voice — and their platform — to spread some community-minded spirit through the state.
They used their business’s capabilities. They used the technology they already had on lock. And they used their digital marketing know-how — their social media strategy — to get the word out and cause some waves.
This campaign’s only just getting started, but it’s already leaving us inspired, invested, and moved. We couldn’t be prouder that Chrystal and Arthur are part of the InkSoft family — so now, give your attention and your love to their latest community effort.
Without further ado, welcome Xtreme Grafx and the Save Local Campaign to the stage!
Businesses unable to open their doors like normal. Employees unable to guarantee their bosses will be able to pay them next week, next month, next year. Inventory going unsold. The overhead of basic store necessities getting to be too much.
It’s not unprecedented. We saw it happen months ago, when the virus first took hold of our country — of our way of life. We just didn’t think that it could — that it would — happen again.
Like thousands of small businesses around the country, the small businesses in Albany, Oregon have been confronted with a reality that looks closer to a bad dream. The uncertainty, the losses, the watching of years of hard work get stomped out by forces out of their control — it is a brutal situation to be living through.
And it’s even more brutal when it feels like you’re living through it alone.
That’s why Arthur and Chrystal saw the need, and felt the pull, to get their fundraising juices moving. After the success of their We Are Oregon campaign, they knew what a determined and big-hearted initiative could do for people going through something — and they knew that what they could offer would be enough to get it going.
It started with a call from the owner of a local business. She had the spark of an idea — and wanted Xtreme Grafx’s help. So Arthur and Chrystal wasted no time jumping to action.
They started talking to local businesses. They started designing t-shirts. And they started printing signs.
After talking to the other owners of local businesses in their community about how they were doing — how they were really doing — Arthur and Chrystal knew the campaign would be crucial. But they didn’t just lead with the hard products, the t-shirts and the hats and the garden signs.
They led with the dialogue they were starting, and publicizing, with their local business owner peers.
Here’s how it works: local businesses in Albany — and in a few other towns (and growing!) in Oregon — can submit their business, at no cost or risk, to be included in the campaign. Then visitors to the Online Fundraising Store can shop around, check out the products, and when they go to check out — they can choose the business they want the profits to go to.
That’s $15 per purchase item in no-strings-attached revenue. And that could amount to the difference between being able to pay rent, employees, and utilities — or just being able to give staff a little extra cash for the holidays.
Businesses that are included in the campaign also have the option of speaking to Chrystal, on camera, for quick, ten-minute long interviews. What does the campaign mean to you? What’s the one thing you want people in your community to know, or to think about, when it comes to small businesses?
For Jen of J&B Garden Center, the business owner who first called Xtreme Grafx with the campaign idea, the answer was simple.
“This community’s always been great at supporting each other, but it’s more important this year,” she explained. “The holidays are coming. We wanted to think outside of the box and remind customers of ideas for buying over the holidays to support local businesses.”
“I know so many businesses are on the cusp of this,” she continued, passion in her voice, “and if we look at Albany, our community is our businesses. If we don’t share the reality of where we’re at, then we can’t expect anyone to understand — or jump in and help.”
Her biggest pointer for small businesses — outside of putting their names into this campaign? Getting creative. Promoting new and exciting gifts for customers to buy for the holidays, teaching classes, and of course, staying within the highly-sanitized COVID-19 regulations to keep everybody safe.
“We’re doing classes,” she tells the camera. “Limited in-person, and we’re doing virtual classes too. They pick up kits before the class, and then they follow along at home.”
For Chrystal and Arthur, who promoted their first campaign over their Instagram account to get the word out, giving these local businesses owners a way to reach more customers — and inspire more local business owners with their own experiences — was extremely important.
When they introduced the Support Local campaign, again with a video on their own Instagram, they kept things simple. “We’re here to do what we can to keep these local businesses in our community here for longer, to support them however we can,” Chrystal said, looking directly at the camera. “Buy a shirt!”
The Shirts & The Signs
With an Online Fundraising Store complete with three different t-shirts (regular, youth, and fitted), one tank top, one hoodie, and one hat — all of which proudly display ‘Albany’ in the center, and eat/drink/shop/love/live local around it — the campaign told a clear story.
We’re here for our community.
We won’t leave our local businesses to struggle on their own.
We’ll step up. We’ll support. And we’ll wear our community — proudly — on our sleeve.
With $15 of every item purchase going directly to the local business selected at check-out, the products don’t just talk the talk. They’re the real deal, and their impact could be dramatic enough to change the futures of some of the local businesses involved.
Aside from the products sold in the online store, Arthur and Chrystal also printed lawn signs at their Xtreme Grafx home base. The signs are visually compelling, they feature the same Albany-centric messaging, and they help to promote the same story.
That local businesses are hurting, and they need the community to step up to the plate.
And, for any residents that want to stick them in their lawns — or their businesses’ lawns — and help spread awareness? They’re absolutely free of charge.
The Wrap Up
Arthur, Chrystal, and the rest of the team at Xtreme Grafx were committed to taking reality and transforming it into something more caring, and more helpful, to the local businesses that help their community shine.
They knew that the power of custom products could help amplify the message. They knew that a custom Online Fundraising Store could help them reach more, generate more revenue, and manifest a direct line of support between small businesses and their consumers.
And most importantly, they knew that taking action, that helping to drive change, is never a wasted effort. With towns across Oregon behind them and tons of local businesses signing up to get involved, the possibilities are limitless.
Support Local. Use your capabilities and your technology to think outside of the box. And never underestimate the power of a big heart.
We can’t wait to see what Arthur and Chrystal get up to next. If it’s anything like they’ve shown us so far, it’s bound to be awe-inspiring.
If you don’t already have the e-commerce framework you need to make an impact on your community, take a look at InkSoft’s Online Stores. With all of the Fundraising features you need already embedded, they’ll give your campaigns the right boost to reach, raise, and impact more.