It feels a little self-indulgent to start with our own blog post, but... how else can we properly introduce ourselves??
locaLI bred was conceived with the desire to champion Long Island's entrepreneurial and creative spirit. When we both moved to Long Island from Brooklyn around the same time (five years ago) we were nervous to leave city life behind. We had just seen firsthand Brooklyn undergo this tremendous transformation. The emphasis on patronizing everything artisanal and locally grown saw the city blossom into this mecca of hip and cool and new. Meanwhile, the city perception of Long Island was... great pizza and bagels. But when we moved here to settle down and start families, we found that outside perception to be absolutely absurd (although the pizza and bagels were indeed DELICIOUS). We both immediately fell in love with the Island - its beautiful beaches, vineyards, farms, and amazing Main Street towns - and found it the ideal environment in which to raise children. Frequenting farmers markets all over the Island we discovered so many talented local artisans producing so many amazing creations.
As we both prepared to go back to work after taking time off from our corporate careers to start families, something didn't feel right. The thought of going back to corporate life (Halie worked as an international trade attorney, Theresa worked in small business marketing for American Express) felt particularly unpalatable, especially now with our own children being raised in the community. After brainstorming we decided that the best way to nurture our family’s community, and to spread the message of Long Island love, was with curated gift boxes. They could serve as a showcase for the amazing ingenuity on this Island and the wealth of products being fabricated in our own backyards - and if we do it right, perhaps re-write this unfair outside perception.
There's a tremendous amount of Long Island pride here. Long Islanders from all over jumped to be a part of this. When we started meeting makers all over the Island we were amazed by how quick they were to connect us to other local makers they admired themselves. Soon an overwhelming number of businesses and makers contacted us to be a part of locaLI bred. Like us, they see the value of local promoting local and the value of the mindshare amongst small businesses. So many people within our community helped us along the way. Organizations like the Workforce Development Institute and Launchpad Huntington provided us with some invaluable resources and connections that allowed us to get off the ground. In many ways this business is almost entirely community driven and the early success we've had is reflective of just how strong this community is.
We've met so many people in the past six months who are making the most amazing creations in sheds and garages or shared commercial kitchen spaces. We hope with locaLI bred that we can help tell their stories and play a small part in helping their businesses continue to grow and flourish. With these boxes you get an introduction to the talented makers and amazing goods being produced in our own backyard, which you can't say for a basket of fancy fruit.
locaLI bred is so much more than just a good gift. It’s a way for locals (and those expats who live off the Island) to support their local businesses and communities while also staying hip to what’s new here. Our goal is to always keep locaLI bred as local as possible - from an Island based box distributor (who also supplies most of our packing material) to a local screen printer and artists. We are particularly proud of the fact that each of our locaLI bred boxes supports at least ten local businesses across the Island. We also wanted to be as representative as possible of all of Long Island. There is a lot of focus (rightfully so) on the North Fork and East End makers, but we truly wanted to showcase makers from all regions of the Island. We are continuously discovering, sourcing and curating additional Long Island products and will be rolling out new boxes and products seasonally.
Look, we get it. We know that everyone wants to support local but sometimes it's just easier to buy from the big guys. With locaLI bred we've tried to level the playing field and make gifting local easier by curating and compiling great local, giftable products into one easy place, delivered right to your recipients door, wrapped up in a bow...er a square knot.
We can say with certainty that there is an amazing entrepreneurial spirit brewing on the Island right now and we think it's ready to explode! We hope you'll join us on the front-lines of fostering that community spirit with us. Think Local. Think Long Island. Think locaLI bred.