I am very much a resident of San Francisco. I love this city, and I love my neighborhoods – the boutiques, the bakeries, the bookstores, flower shops, coffee shops, all of it.
I love exploring things no one else has (and then telling others about it). I love hearing the stories of where products come from, how they were made, where they were sourced. More often than not, I even end up becoming friends with my favorite store owners.
In the last couple of years, I’ve witnessed a number of my favorite stores struggle to break even (if not shut down). I couldn’t help but wonder why. In a day and age where access, communication, and “marketing” tools are pervasive – Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, Influencers and Shopify – why were my favorite stores constantly complaining about “traffic” and “sales”? I thought to myself, it can’t all be Amazon’s fault - Amazon is electronics, commodities - not the tangible and experiential essence of retail. And it can’t all be outrageous rent (although that's another issue that needs to get addressed).
So I decided to dive into the problem. And what I found was surprising. Small businesses just don't have the right tools to talk directly and easily to their customers, i.e. people like me. While Yelp, Google and Facebook provide businesses with the ability to market locally, they are not built for small business owners who lack the skills and time it takes to use them. In fact, these digital tools actually suck out the most important pieces of the owner’s livelihood: cash and time.
On top of that, these platforms seem to fuel a growing wave of empty consumerism — and that type of thinking sadly feels like it's taking over the world. There’s a lack of authenticity. Even some of the influencers we love, ultimately get paid for sponsored posts and unfortunately may not be as discerning as we would like about the brands they get paid to stand behind. It seems like social media has become more about marketing. It's making us forget how good it can feel to shop in our communities while discovering and browsing unique stores that have a local perspective.
That’s why I decided to create FAWN. I saw a need to make it easy for local merchants to connect with their best customers and their neighborhood. I wanted to empower people to shop locally from anywhere. I wanted to help the stores in the neighborhoods that I love be able to talk to everybody the same way they talk to me: authentically. And I wanted to help everyone feel connected – the store owners, the shoppers and the community.
FAWN means that local merchants now have a very simple way to participate in commerce and engage locally. It also means that shoppers like me now have a beautiful way to tap into the places I love and aspire to discover. To “FAWN” is to constantly be on the lookout for cool things to love. And just like you, FAWN has a nose for what's real.
If you believe in small and locally sourced, you are a FAWN.
If you like craft instead of mass, you are a FAWN.
If you want shopping to feel good again, you are a FAWN.
If you love things made by hand and not a machine, you are a FAWN.
If you like your coffee from someone who remembers your name instead of spelling it wrong on your cup, you are a FAWN.
Basically, FAWN is about exploring, shopping locally, and purchasing with purpose again. It’s also about connecting with merchants who love what they do.
Our team is starting with San Francisco and will begin to launch in cities across the US in 2018.
So join us and let’s FAWN over cool stuff together.