The Seattle Writing Examiner was given the opportunity for an exclusive interview with Heidi Butzine, best-selling author, entrepreneur, wine aficionado and shop local expert. Her most recent book, Shop Local: A Practical Pain-Free Guide to Shopping with Purpose, is the result of extensive, hands-on research and part of her personal mission to get more people to support local businesses everywhere and strengthen the communities where they work and live.
Heidi’s book and websites not only connect shoppers to local businesses, but can help businesses, including authors, connect to local customers.
What is your philosophy about consumers shopping locally?
Shopping locally isn’t about spending more money, it’s about making a difference with the money we’re already spending. It’s being aware of the impact we make with our everyday buying choices. It’s being mindful about where we decide to spend our money knowing that local businesses put more of our money back into our communities.
The economy is not going to fix itself so it’s up to each one of us to support and strengthen our local businesses to keep our communities thriving. I wrote my book, Shop Local, to help people become better shoppers, raise awareness of the importance of local businesses, make it easy to think local before they spend as part of their normal routine – and even have some fun while doing it.
Where did you learn your passion for supporting locally owned businesses?
I’ve learned that my heart belongs to small businesses. After running a successful independent consulting agency for 12 years, we were purchased by a Fortune 200 company. This gave me great experience working in the corporate world but I really valued and missed helping small businesses and family-owned and independent companies.
Since going into business for myself, I’ve had the opportunity to live and work in my hometown which drives me to want to do more to protect the character of my community and to help others do the same in their communities.
Based on my research, interviews and feedback I’ve received about my book, this led me down the path to help small indie businesses get discovered by local shoppers which resulted in the Certified Locally Owned™ program and the ShopLocal.us web site.
What inspired you to begin your mission to help others support local businesses?
I’d like to say that I just woke up one morning and decided I was going to write about shopping local, but it was a combination of personal experiences.
First, I’m a Southern California native and I take great pride in where I work and live but I also love to travel, especially to places like Seattle. Traveling around the globe and living in a tourist destination has made me appreciate that it’s the local businesses and dedication of the folks who run them that gives communities their sense of place and character.
Wine also had a lot to do with it too. Through my work as the creator of the Wineopolis Citizen’s Guide wine travel book series, I was able to get to know winemakers and small businesses in wine country. I learned how much the people in these communities depend upon and support each other to protect their businesses. If our neighbors fail, then we fail is a mantra that I’ve adopted from a winemaker I met in Oregon. I realized that this applies to any community and an important reminder.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve written several different kinds of books in my career but my common thread of inspiration is that I love being able to provide knowledge and information that will help readers take action, get inspired or make a new discovery. Whether it’s a textbook for career training, travel guides to enjoy wine without intimidation or making a conscientious shift to shopping locally – knowing that I’ve written something to help the reader enjoy something more by learning about it is what moves me to write.
What advice would you give to authors on making their book a success?
Plan out your goals for the book before you write it. Decide what opportunities you’d like your book to bring to you as an author whether that’s creating additional services you can offer using your expertise, building a following of readers for a future series of books or getting paid for speaking gigs. Writing a book is a huge personal investment so you owe it to yourself to plan for your success, know your desired outcomes and where to go find them.
In your opinion, are there any Seattle area businesses that stand out?
The quintessential shop local mecca for me is of course Pike Place Market. I really love Piroshky, and LePanier. I also love what Eat Local prepared meals is doing to showcase good clean local foods that are convenient to eat and at prices that are comparable to an entree at a local restaurant. It’s simple. It’s easy to understand and it supports the local movement.
About Heidi Butzine
A successful business woman with a knack for finding business solutions, Heidi created a successful consulting agency that was coveted and purchased by a Fortune 500 company. She runs several of her own businesses and works with organizations based around her passion for writing and travel, her love of wine and her desire to help small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed. She is the founder of ShopLocal.us and Certified Locally Owned™ and creator of Wineopolis® Citizen’s Guide wine travel book series.
Connect with Heidi on her website and on LinkedIn.
About Certified Locally Owned
Certified Locally Owned makes it easier for people to find and shop at local businesses based on a proud distinction and certification of locally owned and independent businesses across the U.S.
The Certified Locally Owned™ program was created to help local shoppers easily recognize locally owned or independent businesses based on our certification. The certification carries marketing benefits including being featured and marketed on the top-ranked ShopLocal.us web site as well as a unique business QR code, which marketing experts can attest is an excellent way to measure effectiveness of business advertising.