PRODUCT INNOVATION | PHOTOGRAPHY
KEEPING LOCAL OPEN SIGNS ON.
The COVID-19 public health crisis drove over 40 small businesses in RVA to the brink of collapse. However, some places fought their way through it and found ways to stay open. The pandemic is not yet over & businesses are still recovering. Our challenge was to find innovative ways to help these small businesses on their road to recovery.
Open Sign Project is a product-driven initiative to connect Richmonders with local businesses and philanthropic organizations. It is founded by a team of five women whose skill sets include strategy, copywriting, art direction, and experience design. While we all met a year and a half ago, we only recently bonded over the shared desire to give back to the Richmond community that’s given so much to us.
EMPOWERING THE COMMUNITY IN EVERY PHASE.
Learning about the stories of resilience of local entrepreneurs
Capturing their essence & their vision through photography, films, illustration & design
Creating a space for their voices to be heard
Partner with community organizations to amplify brand awareness on both ends
Selling products at a wholesale price to partner entrepreneurs so they can make a profit
Donating proceeds to grassroots organizations
OPEN SIGN CALENDAR
Quarantine started in March of last year, so we wanted to release a calendar in March to celebrate the resilience of Black-owned restaurants in Richmond and the hope of a new calendar year.
Each calendar month, from March 2021 to February 2022, features a different entrepreneur alongside a quote from our interview with them. Our partners, BLK RVA and Richmond Tourism were instrumental in helping us choose which restaurants to feature. It’s our hope that next time you’re getting takeout or going out to eat—you’ll consider giving your business to one of these twelve restaurants. And that you’ll also consider looking up other Black-owned restaurants in Richmond beyond just the ones we were able to highlight.
MAKING MEALS MATTER.
Each calendar comes with a QR code that lets people directly order from the restaurant instead of ordering from food delivery apps that take most of the profits.
One-hundred percent of profits made by selling the calendar will go directly to RVA Community Fridge: a grassroots group of BIPOC community leaders who are promoting equal access to healthy food, by giving it away for free.
HEAR THEIR STORIES.
We wanted our microsite to be centered around the entrepreneurs and their stories. There were so many inspiring nuggets in every interview that we had, so we decided to add short sound clips from these interviews on every entrepreneur's page. We also captured the vibe and essence of the place by featuring the art, the photographs, and the spaces around a restaurant that represented each entrepreneur's mission.
We sold over 170 copies through online sales & retail outlets
Open Sign Project has around 147 followers on Instagram
Although our project was centered around local businesses in RVA, we received support from over 6 different states in the US
Our project was featured in ABC 8 News, on Brandcenter's social media (4k followers), and on Mark Pollard's Instagram (14k followers)
Ali Weiner (Co-Strategist)
Danielle Loleng, Experience Designer
Kate Power, Copywriter
Brittany Reid, Art Director