Entrepreneurs: Here’s how to get what you really need this holiday season

Here’s the thing about supporting local: sometimes people really don’t know where to start. Or they think they do, but they’re not actually supporting local business and startups in the way that could be most impactful to that company’s growth and long term success.

Sound familiar?

That’s why we were so excited to be introduced to Shine Registry a couple of months back, a growing platform that uses best practices from crowdfunding and traditional wedding registry sites to create new tools to support the local entrepreneurs, small businesses and local nonprofits that we care about most.

The premise is simple: entrepreneurs create a registry of products and services they need to get make their enterprise fly, and the community shows up to help in concrete ways that truly make a difference.

Items requested on the registry may be small, like office supplies or Instagram follows, or they might be big, like pro-bono web development, marketing or legal help. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that people need a lot of different types of support when starting something new. One is emotional support — that your community cares and is proud of you.

As we celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Month and head full on into a holiday season that may be more important than ever to support local, we sat down with Shine Registry Chief Operations Officer, David Weinberger, to learn why he says that the 440 founders and small business owners who use his platform are some of the smartest and most passionate people he’s ever met.

Let’s start with you, David. How did you first get involved with Shine Registry?

David: Shine Registry founder Emily Wazlak and I had known each other for about ten years, and I was blown away when she first told me about her idea for Shine Registry. I immediately loved the idea of building on time-tested traditions like showers and gift registries in order to close resource gaps for entrepreneurs, and I knew that Emily was the right person to bring this idea to life. When the opportunity came up to work with her full-time as Shine Registry’s COO, I was thrilled.

Tell us more about the Shine Registry backstoryhow did it come about, and what are you hoping to accomplish through it? 

David: Emily came up with the idea for Shine Registry when a friend of hers was getting married and another was starting a business at the same time.

She and her group of friends had so many obvious ways of celebrating their friend who was getting married—an engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette, wedding, and post-wedding brunch. Meanwhile, without traditions to fall back on, it was unclear how they could support and celebrate their friend who was starting a company.  And so, Shine Registry was born.

Our team is building the tools for new traditions and ways to show up for the people you care about when it matters, and with the support that really counts.

People talk about Shine Registry being the ultimate “business shower registry”. What exactly do they mean by that?

David: A “business shower” is an event to celebrate an entrepreneur, in the same way that we gather to celebrate our friends and family when they get married and start families. It’s an opportunity for a community to show support with startup costs, services, or other contributions to support their venture.

The Shine Registry platform is the perfect tool for people to explicitly ask for the support they need, and give people an opportunity to fulfill their requests.

Tell us a story about a business that’s been featured on Shine Registry, and the impact that being listed / found on Shine has had for them and their work?

David: A great example is Wanny Muñoz, who is using her Shine Registry profile to ask for cash to cover start-up costs for UWander, INC., her tourism and wellness social enterprise. UWander provides educational and wellness travel experiences to individuals, organizations and communities, and their mission is to inspire inclusive travel and wellness that honors all walks of life.

It’s a family-run business, managed by Wanny Muñoz, headquartered in Lawrence, MA with strong family roots in the Dominican Republic. When Wanny first launched her Shine Registry profile, she hosted a business shower and raised over $12,000 from her friends, family, and supporters.

As we launch the #pugetsound Shine Registry page together with Vibe Coworks this month, we’re really looking forward to seeing more great stories of success just like Wanny’s coming from Kitsap and the Greater Puget Sound region.

What are 3 reasons why businesses in Kitsap and the greater Puget Sound region should consider getting listed on Shine Registry?

  1. If you can ask your friends and family for a gravy boat when you get married, you ought to be able to ask for the things you need when you’re starting and running a business, too. 

  2. Entrepreneurship can be lonely! Creating a registry for your business or nonprofit on Shine gives you a way to engage with your community in a new, fun, and exciting way. You can ask for strategic connections, social media engagement, pep talks, office space and supplies, and money to cover your most urgent needs in a way that makes it easy to share, and easy for the community to support you. Why go it alone when you can ask your community for the help that you need?

  3. It’s easy! Just go to shineregistry.com and click “Sign up” to get started.

  4. And four (can I name a fourth one??)… the holidays are here, and people really do want to support local businesses with their holiday shopping!

Is Shine Registry only for startups? What about nonprofits? Businesses that have been around for awhile?

David: We welcome founders and small business owners of every type and stage. Leaders of nonprofits and established small business owners have been very successful on Shine Registry, too!

The holidays are coming… how can gift givers make the most of the #pugetsound Shine Registry page to support local businesses this year?

David: The holidays are a great time to show some love to your favorite small business. Shopping local is a great start, but we can do more:

  1. Give a cash gift to a founder or small business owner, perhaps one whose business has struggled this year or who could really use a cup of coffee. Many of our users are registered for monetary gifts through their Stripe accounts. 

  2. Give the gift of engagement: many small businesses run sales and promotional events in the final months of the year and could use help getting the word out on social media. Be sure to like and share their content to help them make the most of the year-end spending frenzy. 

  3. Encouragement and connections go a long way: Shine Registry’s users are going to be very busy in the coming weeks, and we’ve found that some of the best ways to show your love to a small business owner at this time of year is to share some words of encouragement and offer to make strategic connections that will set them up for a successful new year.

How does Shine Registry help startup ecosystems like the one we have in Kitsap and the greater Puget Sound region grow and thrive?

David: We want to make it easier and more fun for people who care about small businesses in Kitsap and the greater Puget Sound region to show up for founders and small business owners with timely and right-sized support.

That’s why we’ve partnered up with Vibe Coworks to create opportunities for people in Kitsap and the greater Puget Sound region to discover and meaningfully support local founders and small business owners.

Shine Registry also allows us to pick up on trends in the kinds of asks and fulfillments taking place on the platform, which enables us to help local ecosystem organizations make more informed decisions about programming and service delivery.

If 90% of the founders listed on the #pugetsound page are asking for support with website development, for example, we can help local support organizations identify that need and develop resources to close that gap.

Talk to us about underestimated and historically underrepresented founders and business owners. What are some of the ways that Shine Registry is helping to level the playing field?

David: This is something that is hugely important to us. We designed our platform specifically to give founders and small business owners a digital presence and an opportunity to reach an audience of deeply engaged small business advocates.

Historically underestimated and underrepresented entrepreneurs are able to issue public calls to action to people in their communities (and beyond!) who can contribute money, connections, volunteer hours, and in-kind gifts to help bring their ideas into the world.

What are some of your favorite asks that you’ve seen listed on Shine Registry?

David: Everyone uses the platform slightly differently, depending on what they need for their business.

One ask stands out to me because it’s both funny and a genius marketing move: A while back, a fashion designer used Shine Registry to ask her supporters if any of them knows Rihanna and, if so, to give her one of the user’s designs and post photos of her wearing it.

Influencer marketing starts with an ask, and why not ask your friends for some help?

Shine Registry is a startup itself. Where do you see Shine Registry going in the next five years?

David: We want Shine Registry to be top of mind for anyone whose friend or family member is starting something new in their professional life. We’ll consider ourselves successful if Shine Registry makes every entrepreneur feel seen, loved, and supported by their community.

Any parting words you’d like to share?

David: If you’re a founder or small business owner and want to get started on your own registry, head over to shineregistry.com and click “Sign up.” If you’re in the Puget Sound, be sure to tag your registry with pugetsound. Need help figuring out what to ask for? We have a guide for that!