Blended Sense: Rescuing the Local Economy with Creative Community

Businesses have been hit hard in the past 18 months. We’ve experienced it ourselves at Blended Sense as a start-up servicing hundreds of entrepreneurs and small business owners. In our own journey from barely hanging on to growing at warp speed, our founders had to make a call no business owner ever wanted to make a year ago to tell our bootstrapped employees that payroll was going to be late. Fortunately, we made it through and we’re thriving now, but we can feel the visceral pain and subsequent elation of what it’s like to keep on keepin’ on when things look bleak.

This fuels our passion, but only in part. Within our mission statement at Blended Sense is the desire to stimulate the local economy by bridging the gap between small business owners and creative professionals. We take this very seriously. For every dollar spent by small businesses that hire creative professionals in their area, a whopping .77 cents stays in that micro-economy and is recirculated. 

Our latest Creative Jam Session held at BoBo’s Snack Bar near Mueller Park helped to save a local business from closing its doors after an arduous journey trying to open in the first place. We’ll let this Instagram post speak for itself. . .

Bobo’s Snack Bar and the Local Economy

Bobo’s is one of numerous restaurants, bars, tattoo shops, local hangs, and Austin’s collective backbone along with thousands of small business owners that rely on the circulation of real capital to stay afloat. 

But the story gets even more eye-opening. A recent paper published by PNAS interviewed 5,800 small businesses throughout the United States and the themes that emerged were startling:

  1. The risk of business closures has increased with the length of the crisis.
  2. Small businesses are already financially fragile without drastic global impacts that affect local economies, most with more than $10,000 in monthly expenses and only about 2 weeks of cash on hand to keep things running. 
  3. Though many businesses sought help through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, many are still barely holding it together, with or without this assistance. 

On a recent Saturday night, Blended Sense opened a $300 bar and food tab at Bobo’s, invited Madeline Oliver, a face painter, an up-and-coming local jazz musician, Anthony Basini to play guitar, and dozens of local creatives to mingle and exchange ideas. And what we love to do – create a synergistic flow with good vibes for creatives to exchange ideas, practice their craft, and meet local business owners in the community – happened, all while helping keep those dollars flowing through a local establishment that depends on their community to survive. 

We helped promote the mix and mingle with business owners like Thomas Garcia, part owner and founder of Element Kombucha, another local business based out of San Antonio, who talked with Joseph Mayang of the non-profit, E4 Youth that helps local artists and creatives find a path to a creative career via high school mentorships. 

Garcia experienced his own make-or-break moment during Covid when his business almost folded after hundreds of accounts stopped ordering from Element because they weren’t considered an “essential.” So many creatives and small business owners can relate to the trials we’ve all overcome to be where we are today, tip-toeing on the edge of a cliff to keep our doors open and our creative juices flowing.

Blended Sense has helped local creative professionals like models and photographers find community, a common desire for all creatives who’ve been trying to produce in an eerily silent echo chamber for far too long, and who are eager to share knowledge and creative inspiration with others. 

Needless to say, the Creative Jam was a financial blessing for BoBo’s Snackbar, an Austin eatery that sources its food and beverages from local Texas artisans, and in the process Blended Sense definitely met its mission to stimulate the local economy. 

There were a few other patrons enjoying this secret hideaway serving delicious collard green egg rolls, and a mocktail perfect for those of us who have to function on a “school” night, but we felt honored to stay true to our mission of helping creatives and small businesses thrive together by supporting a little creative community. 

Want to know when the next Blended Sense Creative Jam is happening in Austin? Sign up for our newsletter here. We’re headed to Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and additional locations very soon!

The Next Blended Sense Creative Jam

If you’re ready for the next one, so are we! 

Join Blended Sense OCTOBER 28, 2021 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 PM CDT at Sweet Eats Fruit Farm an Adventure Farm and Petting Zoo for a spooky Halloween Community Celebration replete with a corn maze and pumpkin patch. 

Add to calendar

*Interested in registering as talent? Grab your ticket, then fill out this form

#PowertothePeople #CreativeCommunity #SocialChange #Entrepreneurship #Creative