Starting barrio.la took a lot of collaborations & partnerships to succeed.
First off, never let someone tell you they “did it all by themselves”.
Any creation, adventure, or new endeavor requires a group effort – as was the case with barrio.la. Whether through inspiration, direct engagement, or active participation – businesses & organizations are only as good as the network they’ve built.
When we began our adventure to showcase our favorite locally-owned companies in Los Angeles, we knew we would only be as good as the product partners we found. From the get-go, we set up criteria when deciding who we would work with:
They’d live in Southern California
The whole premise of our company is based on this, so although some products may need to be made elsewhere, 100% of the products featured in our shop are handmade or designed locally by people living in Southern California.
We’d meet them in person
How can we promote & support people we don’t know? Therefore, we meet everyone we work with in-person to truly get a sense of why they do what they do, & the motivation & inspiration behind their passion. We want to know how they are involved in their local community, their backgrounds, & make sure they pass our personal “A-Hole test”. Our product makers are always good, kind, & caring people with high personal & business integrity.
No A-holes here.
We’d share the common goal of supporting local
This is super important to us. Some of our makers may have overlapping products, but we know that our common goal is to promote all things Los Angeles, do our best collectively to engage new customers, & show Angelenos the benefits of buying from local people.
Every Business has an Engine & Infrastructure to make it Tick.
Coming into this, we knew what we were capable of & what we would need to reach out for help on. Similar to the same filters we use for product partners – we made sure to find cool, local people to work with – & only work with companies & organizations that supported our local community of Los Angeles.
Based in DTLA – Elimint gives us the wherewithal & personal attention you can’t get from a big national firm. We had a bad experience with a previous developer & our initial site didn’t meet our expectations. It’s commonplace when starting a business to run into web developers who look for shortcuts or who mask simple concepts with overused vernacular like “SEO” or “Site Optimization”. Richard & Jon of Elimint keep it simple & concise, & have always given us the guidance to feel confident about what we can accomplish on our site.
We always knew what we wanted to accomplish, which was to promote local, small businesses & the amazing products they are making – but sometimes companies focus on their goals, & forget about “the brand” that got them to where they are. Based in Santa Monica – UX Palate took us on a series of explorations into what motivated us to do what we do, & literally followed us around as we explored Los Angeles.
Did you see the video on our home page? Yeah, that was expertly shot, edited, & created by them over the course of 4 months & was the culmination of brand exercises, interview sessions, & just honest observation by UX Palate to find out what made us tick & why we did what we do.
It was a pretty easy decision to use USPS for our shipping needs. Letter carriers & post offices are staples of local culture, & honestly – do we really need more trucks from national carriers clogging up our streets? Instead of a 1-800 number to call – we’re on a first-name basis with our local post office workers, who are always quick to answer any questions we have & troubleshoot with us when problems arise.
End of the day, we are so thankful to everyone who has been part of this journey but being in our first year – it’s exciting to see where this journey will take us & the new local people we’ll meet along the way.