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As we explore the power of everything local this month, Kotmo’s Founder, Celine, and Miguel, Kotmo’s Sustainability Manager, sat down and shared their thoughts on the importance of localized business.
Why is it important for your business to support local entrepreneurs?
Celine Juppeau: From the beginning, we chose to support local entrepreneurs because we believe that we are surrounded by talent. Working with locals helps us be innovative, to create new products, to test ideas and redo them as much as we can. Working with locals gives us flexibility to innovate and respond quicker to our client’s demand.
Why is it important for not only production to be local, but design as well?
CJ: Design translates culture. As designers, we are immersed in a culture and a style of life depending on where we live and where we grew up. Having a local design allow us to create product that reflects our community and their needs.
What impact does choosing a local supplier have? From a sustainability perspective, why choose a local supplier vs an international supplier, who is perhaps cheaper?
Miguel Santos: Choosing a local supplier has positive impacts on social, environmental and economic contexts. Socially speaking, working with local suppliers helps engage local industries and partnerships within. Because Kotmo is so focused on working with other local companies, we can help foster relationships that help both sides of the partnership well into the future.
Environmentally, using local suppliers means that transportation and distribution impacts are minimized tremendously. Instead of relying on overseas or other international shipping, having raw materials and finished products sourced close to our location means that our production system is minimizing many costly environmental impacts.
Lastly, engaging local suppliers means that we are supporting local workers, and allowing their companies to continue to hire and/or pay their teams. This strengthens the local economy, meaning local business activities can continue onwards and grow.
One last point to make is that local partnerships also allow us to become more flexible when it comes to delivering products that our clients want. If we don’t have to rely on long shipping times, we can pivot and change various aspects of our products to suit the needs of our customers much more effectively should it be required.
Why is it important to build strong relationships with your suppliers? Can you achieve this just as easily with non-local suppliers?
MS: Building strong relationships with suppliers – those that are meaningful – are so crucial for optimal service delivery. When difficulties arise in production, or scheduling for example, strong relationships allow for companies to interact openly with confidence that the both sides will be supporting each other. Many of these relationships can only occur when the ability to meet and learn about each organization in person is available. Connections in person provide companies with tangible context and information about the other, and sometimes that’s all it takes for a comfortable and genuine relationship to begin. When there’s trust and cooperation, service quality is maximized, business is secure, and clients receive more than what they pay for.
Ready to partner with local businesses and launch a project? Contact us!