When your money is spent local, it stays local.
It makes a direct impact in local economics of the businesses you are patronizing and the people that they employ and even in the goods/services that they are buying/choosing.
As a kid growing up in the south, this is what we always thought of as a
"Small-Independently Owned Business".
Today, this is what we think of when we think of "Small, Independent, Family Business".
-David, Sabrina, Chase (13), Bradford (2) and Maggie (who's in mom's belly in the photo but now 6 months).
The "core" of Ikon Photographs LLC. We also employ a few other photographers at various times of the year to assist us in our endeavors.
At Ikon Photographs, we decided to focus on family photography for an extremely good reason. To us family means EVERYTHING. We honestly believe that the solution to MANY problems in our world can be found around the family dinner table in our homes. Granted, in today's world, families looks radically different than they did 50 years ago. Blended, multi-cultural, alternative lifestyles, you name it, many people are deciding that they are a family. That's GREAT! The world needs more cohesive family units more than ever. We don't care if you're blue and have purple antennae, we know one thing though, people with families care. They care about where they live, they care about where they're going and they care about other people. They are attached and engaged with the world. They seek to make a positive difference and impact. That's not to say that single people aren't cool and awesome on their own. In fact, David spent many years as a "confirmed bachelor" before he met his "match" in Sabrina. But it was that beginning of a "family" that has made all the difference and shaped where the "Wells'" have and are going in this world.
Because of that, we chose to focus on "photography of the family". We primarily photograph, Weddings, Births, Birthdays, Family Portraits and other events that are "family focused" . We also take on a number of other photographic projects during the year. We're so much more than just a "pretty face". David is formally trained and educated in almost every major form of photography and lighting techniques. We're just as comfortable photographing architectural elements for a realty shoot as we are sitting and making kiddos laugh for just that right moment of expressions and looks!
When you book a session, wedding or project with Ikon Photographs, you are hiring us into a professional contract. While we are artists and very relationship and "humanity" focused, we still have a business to run. We are "independent contractors". We're not "freelancers". We're not "day laborers". We're not "hired guns". We're business owners. When you sign that contract and pay us your hard earned money. We provide both services and products for you. However, it's much different than if you went to Wal-Mart and bought a Mr. Coffee. Although, we'll have a cup of coffee with you at some point throughout the process...
Those local dollars you are spending are doing something SPECIAL. Take a look at the diagram below.
Look at that! Your money is being recirculated almost THREE TIMES more within the local economy in which you yourself work and live. That is AMAZING. If you want to have a direct impact on how things are going in the community around you, you owe it to yourself and to your community to spend your money both locally and independently.
Going back to our comments about our own "dinner table discussions". We were talking about the impact of local businesses and what it meant to us and other local/small businesses. We started talking about who all we do business with who is "local". Allow me to give a quick run-down. (These are also some AWESOME folks, and we can't recommend them any higher.
When we need some promotional materials, i.e. note pads, flyers, post cards, business cards etc. We go see Max at C and C Quality Printing on Gravois Ave. They are awesome. They can accommodate almost any "short notice" job (of course they love advance warning!) and they never fail to produce high quality and super competitive prices!
Max and Family. They're great people and small-independent-family owned business owners, like us!
We do 95% of our photographic printing with Diversified Lab. The other 5% we do ourselves for our photo booth/red carpet applications.
The folks at Diversified Lab are AMAZING. Every year during the holidays, (traditionally a very busy time for photographers/printers) they ROCK IT OUT!!! Last year, they printing something like 25 different jobs for us in a couple of days and didn't miss a lick! This on top of doing most of the professional printing for all of the other pros in the "know". You'll hear people talk about this national lab, or that national lab. We literally have one of the best print shops in the country and they are local. They're also independently owned. When I pick up the phone, 9 times out of 10 and awesome lady named Rose answers the phone. She makes things happen there!
Cameras, accessories, sales and service.
Schiller's has been an institution since 1892 and there's a good reason why. They are excellent. Their prices are competitive and their service is without equal. Whether you are just "browsing" or there to seriously buy, they treat you with the same high level of integrity and respect. We don't like to talk bad about businesses that we've had not so good service/support from, so we won't. But we have NO problem telling you that Schiller's beats all the other stores HANDS DOWN in EVERYTHING. They cater to us professionals, but they also treat the novice and newcomer with the same care and service that they do the professionals that spend thousands of dollars a year in their store. They're that good! -Also small and independent. They have a great print shop too, but we've got a wonderful relationship with Rose and the folks at DIVLAB. (Sorry Schiller's Rose got us first. :) )
They also rent lenses and all sorts of camera equipment at very reasonable prices...So if you're a budding pro, or an advocationalist photographer (we really don't care for the word 'amateur'), they offer a great and affordable way to try out some gear for a weekend that you might be thinking of buying.
Other Local/Independently Owned Businesses
We would be remiss both in our support of other local/independently owned small businesses out there that we frequent/support if we didn't mention them too. Again, we can't say enough wonderful things about each one of these businesses. This is also a wonderful example of how we put the money that we are paid for photography from our family of clients BACK into the LOCAL community. -Let's not even mention how much we end up giving back to our own school district in terms of charitable giving (Ikon Photographs almost always gives away photography sessions for our local school districts for fundraisers/raffles.)
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company:
The Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company is a St. Louis Original! This independent-family owned chocolate business produces some AWESOME products! They also have tours of the factory which is an AWESOME thing to do with the kids when the weather is bad...plus...FREE SAMPLES!!! DUH!
Having a two year old (Bradford) and a six month old (Magnolia), we're all about the resale and reuse of kids' clothes and toys. Kangaroo Kids is also a wonderful resource for all sorts of parenting/child rearing topics/materials/items. Surprisingly enough, they're an independent, small and family owned business...Just like...Yeah, Us...-Sounds like a broken record...Hopefully by now, you get the point.
Now we get to the fun parts...The yummies for the tummies!!!
Ray's Donuts is a fixture in St. Louis, and you will always see the same friendly faces behind the counters serving up the same A-MAZE-ING donuts each time you go in there! Last year, much to David's delight, they started serving Community Coffee, which is a staple brand of coffee back in Mississippi and Louisiana where David grew up. In fact, it's officially the "State Coffee of Louisiana" as declared by the Louisiana Senate. It's a perfect complement to the amazing...(did we say they were amazing?) well, they are! Community Coffee strangely enough, is also an independent business local to Louisiana and we're so proud that they have started 'spreading their wings' and got some good coffee up the Mississippi River!
Word of advice: Get there early, they get busy and you might miss out on your favorite. They only bake/fry a certain amount each day, when it's gone it's gone!
The Olivette Diner used to be almost next door to Ray's Donuts...We think Ray's moved because the world just could not take that much AWESOME in such close proximity of each other. However, the Diner, is a great place to stop in and get some breakfast. It's nice that it's right down the street from us and we're found from time to time keeping a cup of coffee company. Actually, the morning we got married, we went to the Diner after our "civil ceremony" before the whole BIG DAY started up.
It's small...It's independent and family owned...It's REAL SMALL and REAL INDEPENDENT. Bring Cash, they don't take plastic. -That's how ya do it! Cash money on the barrel head!
Then there's the Crown Candy Kitchen...The oldest Soda Fountain in St. Louis and home of the "Heart Attack" a full 3" thick of B with a little L and some T thrown in there, but mostly Bacon...Get there early, there's always a line and the food is as good as the egg creams and malteds!
Do it, your cardiologist will thank you.
Walter Knoll isn't just a great florist, they're a WONDERFUL florist. We actually used them to do a number of flowers for our wedding. They also have a "wholesale" end of their shop that we used. -David being an artist of all sorts of media, decided to take the challenge and did most of the floral DIY, which was a great idea for visuals, but not so much for the sake of time! -If you ever have any questions about DIY wedding decor...Ask him, he can clue you in on some great ideas, but also advise you in terms of the time coefficient that is involved.
Ikon Photographs is also proud to have been a "donor/partner" in a recent contest Walter Knoll had in which Ikon was featured as their "photography giveaway amazing incredible super duper extravaganza....Ok, at this point, I'm just seeing who's still reading..." -But seriously, we did partner up with WK for a giveaway in one of their contests. They're an awesome florist and we highly recommend them...They're local, independent and oh, a small biz...Yeah...Just like us...
A quick story...
When we were on our honeymoon a few years back, we stayed on Vashon/Maury Island in Puget Sound off the coast of Seattle, Washington. It was AWESOME. It's a funky little artists' colony and literally one of the delightfully strangest places in the country...or just off the country as the case is...
All around the island there were these flyers and posts up about keeping $ local. They emphasized using paper currency more than credit/debit cards. The reason being, is that it actually kept "hard" cash assets on the island and didn't take money "off" the island and also kept banks and lending institutions (Oh yeah, we also use a local bank for both our business and personal banking...shocker...) because those transactions also charged even more money to the businesses as well as interests that were generated during the vig etc...
We thought it was an AMAZING idea and it's something that we've always thought a lot about but less in an island sense, but more in a local "community" sense. So, whenever possible, we do things "old school"...We shop local, we spend in cash and we get to know our neighbors.
Try it out sometime, you'll be amazed at how much you'll enjoy it!
For more information regarding local businesses and the impact you can have either
by using one or founding one, check out: