Since I encourage everyone to be a tourist in their own city, I’m always excited to hear about people who are doing creative things to promote the local scene. Hamilton In A Box, which was started up by Hamiltonian Tylor Myers, is one of those innovative endeavours. The concept is pretty simple – through the website, you can build a custom gift box full of all-local products. You then select where to ship the box – send it as a gift to share a little taste of Hamilton! Tylor also writes a blog to spotlight some of the local products. There are lots of great items to choose from when building the box. Local businesses who are on board so far include:
- Ceylon Tea Bush
- Canada Heritage Candles
- Weir’s Lane Lavender
- Spencer’s Mercantile
- House of Java
- Honey and Glow
- Cooksville Hot Sauce
- Soulful Soap
Tylor generously shared a gift box with me and I must say, it’s so much fun to receive this package of goodies! I caught up with Tylor to learn more about how he came up with the idea for Hamilton in a Box.
I Heart Hamilton: Who are you? Are you a lifelong Hamiltonian and what area of the city are you from?
My name is Tylor Myers. I’m 26 years old and I have lived on the Hamilton mountain my whole life. I am a graduate of Mohawk College and continue to live and work in Hamilton.
What inspired the idea for you to create Hamilton in a Box?
I knew that I wanted to start a real, tangible service that would provide value to people. I brainstormed and researched until I had discovered a business in a US city making gift boxes that represent their city. They were offering small items from large, successful “iconic” companies. I thought it was an interesting concept but I wasn’t keen on simply offering items from already well established, large businesses. I felt that it would be near-infinitely more meaningful if the service promoted items from local small businesses and helped connect them with potential customers.
How did you choose which local products to include?
Firstly, I’d like to mention that we are always looking for new products to offer. If you or someone you know, is offering something that you think would be a good fit with Hamilton in a Box, then we want to hear from you. We are still actively trying discover new businesses and offer more variety to our customers. That said, there are some important factors that go into choosing a product to offer. The first criteria for choosing products for Hamilton in a Box is of course the business needs to have roots in the Hamilton area. Secondly, the product has to be something that can be sustainably reproduced. We want to ensure that we can meet customer demands as well as offer great products consistently. While not a requirement, we enjoy working with businesses who are interested in growth with an emphasis on the local community.
What was the reaction like from local businesses you approached for the project?
I’ve gotten very positive responses! Each business I’ve had the pleasure of working with has been extremely friendly and accommodating. I believe I had approached them before I even fleshed out the idea, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some veiled uncertainty behind the positive reinforcement! But I think as business minded persons they were able to see the value that we offer and it has been my honor to work with them.
Through working on Hamilton in a Box, did you discover new local businesses you did not know about before?
I think any Hamiltonian would be surprised at the number of great small businesses in the city. A lot of us are aware of the great food scene here; where to get the best shawarma, or where’s the best deal on a pint and wings. But there are a number of great small businesses in the city making high quality products.
What do you hope people take away from Hamilton in a Box?
I hope that moving forward we as city can collectively decide to make conscious consumer decisions. One of the greatest benefits to shopping local is that a significantly larger portion of that dollar spent will remain in the local economy. Another important reason to shop local is to help maintain the cities unique identity as we grow. Our one of a kind shops and our relationships with them define the Hamilton experience. It is that sense of identity that makes Hamilton our home, and which would be lost with the inclusion of innumerable retail chains.
I want Hamilton in a Box to showcase, even if it’s just a fraction of them, the great local businesses we have. It’s not always possible to get everything local, but the next time you pick something up in the store you can ask yourself “Is there a locally made alternative?”. If so, we hope you will make that choice, and I hope that Hamilton in a Box makes it easy for you to find, order, or share.
Thanks so much, Tylor! Love what you’re doing – keep sharing the local love!