Why we do this
We've seen too many entrepreneurs and their businesses floundering and struggling to get by. We've struggled too, but we understand that we all benefit from a strong economy fueled by thriving locally-owned businesses (and who doesn't love boutique shopping?). We're sharing what we know because we recognize that many of us don't have the resources to go back to school -- and the theoretical knowledge from an MBA does not always translate to the everyday running of a small business.
What you can expect from us
We're constantly working on bringing you new courses that will help you run your business as efficiently as possible. Each course, regardless of topic, will give you frameworks and repeatable actions that will help you understand why that topic is important, what it's all about, and how to immediately apply that info to your own business. We're not just regurgitating theory, but teaching you how to take the emotion out of decision-making and use an analytical approach to guide your planning process.
Courses fall into one of four categories: business structure, money management, operations, and revenue generation. We expect to publish one new course every month, rotating through the categories to give you a well-rounded and ever-growing arsenal of tools.
How you can take part
To get started, enroll in any single course. Starting Spring 2021, you will also be able to enroll in our Open Study Program, which will give you access to all published courses.
You can also sign up for our free newsletter, the Guide, which will deliver bite-sized business into your inbox every week.
Got an idea for a course? Burning questions? Contact us and make your voice heard!
Our founder, Ashley Seamans, has always been a natural problem solver with a knack for numbers. In college she was introduced to the field of Economics and loved the real-world application of math to solve problems and understand systems. As she earned her Master’s Degree in Economics from Boston University she became fascinated by the ins and outs of decision-making — how both humans and businesses consume information, assess risk and what motivates them, to do anything at all. All of this became the basis for a completely unexpected, but wildly successful corporate career.
Right out of school, Ashley ended up taking a leap of faith on an operations role at a small cyber-security software startup. She spent the next seven years immersed in all aspects of finance, sales, marketing, operations, and strategy. She quickly took on new and different responsibilities and got what she calls “an MBA from the school of hard knocks.” Starting from zero experience, she ended up managing a global team, leading multiple major acquisition efforts, spearheading company-wide data initiatives, working intimately on the company’s IPO, and ultimately running a $100m global channel program. As the company grew and the work started to feel redundant, Ashley also felt the pull towards entrepreneurship.
She had all the makings of a successful business owner but didn’t initially have the burning idea for a product, but being raised in a family business, Ashley knew very clearly the challenges of working for yourself. As she became more involved in the small business community in Boston, she also began to see this as an opportunity to help. With all the business experience she had gained, she decided her business would be to help others build theirs. This would in turn build a stronger community of locals highly invested in their neighborhoods and make entrepreneurship less of a hardship.
Local Maker Then
Local: belonging or relating to a particular area or neighborhood. Maker: a person or thing that makes or produces something. Originally, the name Local Maker was intended to celebrate those business owners who make the neighborhood. As the business developed, we naturally ended up serving actual makers: metalsmiths, ceramicists, weavers, printmakers, candlemakers...we were pulled into the wonderful world of the handmade and the brilliant people of the craft community welcomed us with open arms. We opened a showroom and became a wholesale representative for these makers, building lasting relationships with them and our retail partners. This experience helped shape our future plans, but over time it became clear this was not THE future of our business.
Local Maker Now
Global pandemics have a way of making you reconsider your priorities. In 2020, three whole years after embarking on this journey, we reached a crossroads: with the COVID-19 pandemic changing how everyone operates their business, we decided it as time to refocus on Ashley's original mission of helping other business owners reach their full potential. We shut down the Showroom (although we still have our fabulous South Boston Studio) and rolled up our sleeves to turn Local Maker® into what it is now — a platform to provide opportunities to many businesses through education. As we continue to practice our own teachings, who knows what LM's final form will be?
Many may question the decision of an individual to pursue a degree in Fine Art (in this economy?), but Vicky strongly believes that art school primarily teaches one to think critically and creatively. Although she will always enjoy making art, Vicky prefers to use her art school brain to problem-solve, organize, and make things happen from behind the curtain — which is what she does at Local Maker®.