MEET THE LOCAL LADY

Growing up in a small town,

I have always valued the heart of mom & pop businesses. I am originally from Hephzibah, Georgia, a one-stoplight community with a post office, church, police station and public school system. Exposure to a small town atmosphere and my family's independent business endeavors, I developed an innate understanding of an entire community made from scratch.

In 2010, I moved to Nashville to pursue a dental school degree like my dad. While this path could've been beneficial to my career in many ways, it wasn't for me. I can remember sitting in Biology lab trying to wrap brain around the Kreb's Cycle and wishing I could get back to my English Writing assignment on Willa Cather's Song of the Lark. Despite this inner conflict, the beauty of giving both career paths a try taught me to use business mind I learned from my parents and pair it with my imagination.

As a kid I'd go from one creative outlet to another. Piano and horse lessons, scrapbooking and collecting bugs for show-and-tell in science class were among the many hobbies I obsessed over. Despite my quirky tendencies, I learned growing up that storytelling through visuals and writing was my forté. It was the thing that kept me up at night, left me thinking about what other project I release into the world and somehow make sense to my overflow of ideas.

Local Lady came into the picture 3 years into becoming a Nashville transplant. Initially as a class project, it started as a personal outlet to write and record stories from people who were just as creatively passionate as I was. I think there is something to be said about the person(s) behind a private business. I find it fascinating when I can sit down with the brain behind the original idea, how it connects to their background, who they are as an entrepreneur, and what they dream to be the future of their business. Our society has become accustomed to glamorizing “hard work" ; that for a certain amount of time, you go through challenges, and then immediately become established. By getting to know the owners, I hear their take on starting a new business and the challenges they still face because they work for themselves. Yet so many rewards come out of their journey and I believe their authentic point of view is worthy of acknowledgement and appreciation. Owners are constantly adapting to interests and leisure time of families, college students, singles, and the elderly. I was taught the importance of working hard for something greater than yourself and not allowing trends and popular ways of living to interfere; to be proud of who I was, learning to listen and applying my skills to reach my goals. Locally owned businesses are the reasons why our creative communities thrive. If they ever become obsolete, I believe some of the best ideas will never reach their chance to profit and share fresh inspiration with the world.

The Local Lady highlights my journey discovering America’s small businesses and their stories! I hope as a reader, you'll be encouraged to do some exploring yourself. If you're a small business owner, I hope my resources, stories from your entrepreneurial peers and creative services help you never forget why started your passion project in the first place!

Embracing Authenticity & Family Legacies,

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Libby Oellerich, "The Local Lady"