As a follow up the short feature piece I did a few weeks ago I was able to steal a few minutes from the front man of Great Lakes Proud, Austin Holsinger, to discuss what is up with this sweet new company and to find out what makes him so Great Lakes Proud:
1. How did you come up with the idea for the Great Lakes Proud idea/ concept?
- The idea came to me earlier this year as I was away from the Great Lakes and living in Montana. I have begun a couple other conservation initiatives over the last few years so I knew that was a passion of mine plus I longed to be back in Michigan. I grew up in northern Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College in southern Michigan; for as long as I can remember I have been on water (sailing, fishing, relaxing...etc.) and I know, first hand, how important our water is to Michigan (environmentally as well as economically). I also share a sense of pride in Michigan and the Great Lakes that almost everyone who has visited feels. So...I wanted to develop an outlet for people to express their pride and empower them to do something positive to preserve our water. Through much planning and thought the idea was born. I chose the sticker because it is a beautiful image and a quality design that doesn't look tacky or common; it jumps out at you and says everything I want it to with no extras - I wanted to allow people to express their pride for the Great Lakes by displaying something attractive. As the business grows so will our recognition and I believe that, before long, you will see the Great Lakes Proud stickers displayed on cars, computers and more throughout the entire state and Great Lakes region!
A few examples of people who are already showing their Great Lakes Pride! You should be next!
2. It is so cool that you are going to donate to projects and causes
around the Great Lakes, what are some areas that you are looking to
-One of the coolest parts about the business plan is the interaction we have with our supporters/fans. Through the use of social media we can connect with people throughout the state that share our ideals and drive in order to make a difference. Also, we plan on giving our supporters a voice through social media so we can help support projects and causes that are most important to them. I may have one special part of the lakes that means a great deal to me and I am very proud of it so we will support it. However, you will have an entirely different area you are proud of that you want to see preserved; we will support that too! By "liking" us on Facebook or following us on Twitter you are given a voice in our business and empowered to influence change. We are also interested in supporting both small and large organizations throughout the state; different conservation groups that are peppered along our coastline and other organizations like Circle of Blue based in Traverse City, MI. Our communication with the organizations is in the infant stages at this point so everything is really exciting.
3. Are you guys outdoor enthusiasts? If so what kind of outdoor rec
activities do you participate it?
-Outdoor enthusiasts is an under statement! Growing up on the lakes and in Michigan pre-determined that we would be in love with the outdoors. In the summer we are doing everything from kayaking, camping, fishing and hiking to SUPing and whatever else we can get our hands on. The winter brings with it an array of outdoor activities as well and we love them all - skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, fishing etc. Even if it is something new you can bet it will be given a try!
4. Which Great Lake is your favorite?
- I have spent most time on Lake Michigan; the west coast of the state contains some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. However, the Pictured Rocks on Superior aren't bad either...
5. Favorite beach/ spot on The Lakes to visit?
- Pyramid Point at the bottom of the Leelanau Peninsula is on the short list along with the Petoskey State Park in northern Michigan.
6. What is the largest order you have fulfilled so far?
- At this point most of our retailing has been done online and the response has been great. As we move forward we also plan on having "brand ambassadors" throughout different areas along with retail outlets in different towns. Currently our largest order has been 50.
7. Are you considering other articles to put the logo on?
- Yes. Right now we are working on a t-shirt and hat but always willing to take suggestions via facebook. We want people to get involved!
8. Do you use Twitter or Facebook? If so, where can we find you?
- A loaded question...Although I love every season the area has to offer I can say, without hesitation, that the summer tops the list. My favorite thing is the warm, sunny afternoons spent on the beach or on a boat - the perfect combination of being active and relaxing and the ability to soak everything in. Just put me close to the water and I am happy.
10. What is your favorite bit of Great Lakes Lore?
- The lore surrounding Lake Superior is almost eerie (no pun intended...) and I love hearing the shipwreck stories. But, each lake has a special place in history with very unique stories to be told. There isn't one I wouldn't listen to!
I would like to thank Austin and Great Lakes Proud for taking the time to do this interview, best of luck to you guys, this is a Great idea!
I hope that you all go out and pick up a few of these sweet stickers!