At the risk of going completely Jerry Maguire, eating two bad slices of pizza and staying up all night writing the Lantern manifesto proclaiming why we do what we do, we offer the following.
It’s Just a T-Shirt…or Is It?
A while back we made t-shirts that just said “Get Lit” on the front with just our flame logo (without our name). People loved it. It was edgy. It was funny. It was intriguing. But to that point, no one really knew what it meant. What they didn’t know is that “Get Lit” actually defines everything we do at Lantern.
Get Lit – Defined
“Get Lit” is a fundamental belief that each month, if you can take just one purchase you make at a national chain, and shift that to a local restaurant or retailer, everyone wins. Local chefs get to create dishes they love, independent shop owners sell products they believe in, many of which are also locally made, people get to experience all the unique, wonderful things that passionate people right in their own backyard are creating because it’s what they love to do. Local economies get stronger, communities prosper and our world becomes a little bit more colorful, interesting and diverse.
Get Lit is about the fire that burns inside passionate makers and owners and chefs. It’s about an idea to buy local, that starts as a spark, becomes a flame and grows and grows until it illuminates an entire community.
At Lantern, our contribution to this idea is building tools that help small business owners connect with customers. Tools that help them build a customer base that isn’t just looking for the next deal, but who are truly interested in exploring a city, often exploring places in their own city they never knew existed. It’s about creating a shared value that exists between the shopkeeper and the customer, about cutting out the big advertiser in the middle and shifting those dollars back to the customers, rewarding them for their loyalty. It’s about creating an elegantly simple user experience, that entices users to try something new and to return to places they’ve discovered and love. National retailers have teams of people and loads of money to build tools to get their message out – local business owners don’t have that luxury. But technology can change that. By creating a community of small businesses using our tools, we can create economies of scale that provide access to those powerful tools, previously reserved for wealthy mega-corporations. After all, when you take a bite of a juicy, delicious burger carefully crafted by a local chef, your palette doesn’t care if she has an MBA in marketing. And now, the chef can focus more on creating amazing dishes, rather than being an expert at marketing a restaurant.
But back to the local vs. national idea. Get Lit is not about being perfect or pretentious. It’s not about boycotting national chains. Even among our team, we all buy from national chains when it makes sense, either because of convenience or price or some other reason. Get Lit is more about being conscious of where those purchases are being made and about shifting some of them to local retailers.
“That all sounds great,” you’re thinking, “but how do actually put any of this into action?” Well, that’s where it’s really simple.
Pick one day this month. Put an appointment on your calendar, set a reminder on your phone, put a sticky note on your computer…whatever it takes to remind you.
On that day, take one purchase you were going to make, and make it at a local business. Could be a gift you were going to buy for someone, could be lunch or dinner at a local spot instead of a fast food chain. Whatever it is, make that purchase from a local business.
You can use Lantern to help you find a local business and save a little money, giving you some added incentive, although that is not required.
Whatever it is you decide, pick a day, pick a business and buy local. Then tell a friend. Who knows, you could just start a revolution.