• M.L.


Last week, I made a call to my friends and followers on Instagram to go and give my page for M.L. Enders Design some love. I had noticed that I was not getting as many interactions with my page and I am not surprised, Instagram keeps making it harder to see business profiles unless you pay for promotions.

There have been other people I follow on Instagram who run a small business or are trying to share their art that have complained about the same problems. And here is the thing, we could switch to a personal profile to get more visibility but, we would lose those tools that make Instagram useful for businesses (analytics, linking products, sharing websites, etc.). So we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do we sacrifice the ease of sharing our material for more interaction, or do we stick with the business page and increase the $$ we spend on our marketing?

It may seem like an inconsequential decision but, when running a small business these are the minutiae you have to consider. When I already have a hard time paying for my Adobe subscription every month, spending an extra $50/month on social media promotions is an additional cost that could mean I miss my monthly payment for the Creative Cloud (I literally use this for everything I produce through M.L.Enders Design). I know that at the end of the day, my decision is going to be to find the money to pay for paid promotions. I like having the business tools on Instagram, so this is the price I have to pay.

BUT, there is so much that YOU, as the consumer can do for all of us trying to make our passions become our life support. Everyone wants to complain about corporations and dream about living outside of the matrix. Well, supporting your friends is a big step to achieve this. It is an active choice you have to make every single day to break away from the system and literally, “Put your money where your mouth is.”

Instead of paying $8 for a bottle of shampoo that is full of palm oil and artificial preservatives, why not buy from the woman making all-natural, organic, small batch shampoo in her kitchen? Instead of hitting up Starbucks or Dunkin, why not go to your local coffee shop who is always serving up delicious coffee? Instead of buying that $30 print at Target, why not DM your artist friend and get some of their art up on your wall? Instead of listening to that Top 40 band, why not make a playlist of all of your favorite local music? Instead of only liking celebrities’ and big brands’ posts with thousands of likes, why can’t you go to your friends’ pages and give them all some love?

There are so many choices you can make on a day-to-day basis that affect everyone in your life positively. When you choose to spend your money and your support at a small business or for a friend’s benefit, you are not lining shareholders pockets or supporting corrupt corporations. You are paying for a parent to send their kid to college...You are paying for that person to go on the trip of a lifetime...You are paying for that artist to finally quit their shitty day job.

THIS IS IMPORTANT, PEOPLE. Those who own small businesses or are making their art their life generally understand this concept. You find the people that support you the most are those that know the struggle of starting something from a thought in your brain. But we need everyone to pitch in. There is so much creativity and innovation happening right around you. You do not need to go onto that website that ships from China or spend a day at the mall to get what you need for your life. Spend the time to do your research and find those people you can be loyal to and feel good knowing your dollars are going to something significant.

I am not saying this is an easy process, though it is something you can do incrementally. A little every day, find ways to support those around you. Like and share their social media posts. If you don’t have a lot of $, take advantage of a sale to get you started (but DO NOT price haggle, the price they tell you is the price ((you would never walk into a chain store and bargain for a lower price))). Attend art galleries and live shows of your favorite artists- and buy the awesome merch! The list goes on for the ways you can support your community while simultanously saying “Fuck the System.”

To make it even easier, I have compiled a list below of all of my faves (with links)- not just local but those I have found through Instagram or some of my friends who are a little farther. Holistic care, music, art, coffee, restaurants, jewelry,’s all there for you to explore. And this barely scratches the surface of the amount of talent that is available around you. I myself haven’t even bought from everyone on this list, but I hope to someday. The least you can do, though, is start following and start showering them with love and appreciation for putting themselves out there and making a dream come true.

When we work together and

build a community that is strong,

we will all succeed. <3


@grettaingraham- Print Artist/Tattoo Artist

@ameliaingraham- Photographer

@emilieptxy- Glitch Artist

@minaelise- Fine Artist/Illustrator

@lindaluzz- Illustrator/Graphic Artist/Muralist

@_cheyennealfordphoto- Photographer

@thatdragonsden- Tattoos by Jesse Luna

@mimitheresa_art- Visual Artist

@saraartlove- Painter, Hair, Makeup

@sydoniemerrellmua- Dreadlocks and Makeup

@isarosaphotography- Photographer/Musician










@parkvillesounds- Performance Space/Recording

@chris.yeti- Recording/Mixing

@funkhausmusic- Recording/Mixing






@emily_frostsalot- Badass Pastry Chef


@banh.meee- Vietnamese

@littleriverbar- Craft Cocktails

@pachangaweha- Empanadas


@harponchurch- Locally Sourced, Irish Inspired

@cheeseforthepeoplect- Fun Cheese/Meat Platters


@vasutribe- Yoga and Organic Spa

@iamgreenbeauty- Vegan/Green Hair Salon and Spa

@hairgods_salon_barbershop- Amazing if you have short hair)

@ageintobeauty- Spiritual and Cermonial oils, elixirs, etc.

@soldenct- Tools for Spiritual Wellness

@laurenbedear- Intuitive Tarot Reader and Artist

@herbal smokez- Hand Rolled Herb & CBD Rolls


@freyascreativecollection- Jewelry by Theresa Ingraham

@keepitbright- Clothing, Housewares and Stationary with a Bright theme (UK based)

@kolbybrianne- Leatherworker

@rework_creative- Spirit Armour and Jewelry

@styledbyjazz_- Local Fashion Designer

@butchwaxvintage- Vintage Clothing and Accesories (Cali Based)


@brehant_creations- Wedding/Event Styling & Coordinating The Hartford Dance Collective / Studio

@lipstickhustler- A woman of many talents, Andrea Cortez is a former make-up exec turned community supporter. She owns studio space in Hartford, dances with fire, is an amazing makeup artist, and the list goes on. Check out her different projects- @vagabond_tradingpost @taintedinc @houseofmirrors3cards

Get clicking people!!!

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72 Oxford St, Hartford, CT 06105

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