Anatomy of a Guide
The primary job of each TSG editor is to produce a guide that distinctively showcases small business owners in their communities. As TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale Editor, Sasha Clements shares, launching your guide is a continual discovery and creative process.
Traditionally, a TSG print guide is scouted, shot, designed, printed, and distributed over one year. In February 2020, Sasha began conversations with clients for the inaugural Phoenix & Scottsdale guide, signing one client by the end of that first month. Then business – and the world – shut down, putting Sasha’s mission and production timeline to the test. In the strange months that followed, TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale focused on supporting the community, building a platform upon which small businesses could rely.
As restrictions eventually loosened and businesses reopened doors, Sasha pivoted once again. “It was the resilience and determination of our community that fueled me to scout, shoot, and design our first guide in four short months.” Volume 1 launched in March of 2021, just one month past her original launch date.
SCOUTING PHOENIX & SCOTTSDALE
“Volume 1 was special because it brought many local businesses together in the face of adversity and celebrated supporting local at a time that carried more significance than ever before.” However, Sasha reflects, “it was when we began scouting for Volume 2 that we truly felt momentum for our mission.”
Sasha credits the confluence of local-centricity, an explosion of growth, and the power of print for that momentum. “With Volume 1 in circulation, business owners could experience TSG and witness its impact on scouted businesses.”
Inaugural members eagerly returned for Volume 2, and additional categories were introduced to welcome new businesses. Most excitingly, the generousity of several members allowed Sasha to feature several non-profit partners, conveying what TSG Editors know to be true: small business has a big impact on communities.
“To me, scouting is about discovery,” explains Sasha. “As an editor, I’m in the unique position to learn the stories behind the businesses that shape our community.” However, Sasha continues, “being scouted is just the beginning of the TSG experience.”
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Integral to being scouted is the opportunity to collaborate with editors on the page or pages within the guide. Throughout the creative process, editors wear the hat of a creative director to distill the story behind each business into a compelling image. “My job is to guide members through the creative process, as well as to produce images that will pique the reader’s interest and encourage them to learn more about the scouted member,” remarks Sasha.
Ultimately, each editor brings a unique skill set and aesthetic to their guide, often choosing to weave a theme throughout the guide to tell a larger story. For Sasha, it was important to echo the natural beauty found in the Phoenix & Scottsdale landscapes. This intentional decision was echoed in the timing and location of spreads and, most notably, her choice of cover colors. Flip through Volume 2 to find that many spreads reflect the saguaro green of the book and sunset orange of its stripe.
THE DESIGN & PLANNING STAGE
An editor’s storytelling continues into the design stage, as sharing the story of each business while organizing the guide into an seamless narrative is a delicate dance. “It’s always a thrill to see the pieces start to come together though,” says Sasha.
Spread by spread, editors spend hours designing, paginating, and, well, editing the upcoming guide. Countless edits and proofs later, the guide goes to print and editors shift their focus to launching in style.
Launch parties have become something of a tradition for TSG Editors – not to mention fabulous affairs. Functioning as both a celebration of a year’s worth of Scouting and the unveiling of the market’s best and brightest, TSG launch parties are a special aspect of membership. Planning a launch party is also a welcome distraction as editors eagerly await the delivery of their guide.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT
Sasha describes the day guides are delivered as nothing short of special. “It’s a year’s worth of effort in tangible form.” The only thing that’s better? Toasting the guide at the launch party.
In the wake of the launch party, distribution of the Guide throughout the community begins. And the magic of the Guide continues as locals discover (or rediscover) businesses that are sure to help them live a beautiful life.