Vol 3 | 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 learned, launching your third guide is a learning 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.  


 “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.” 


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. 


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. 


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. 



As a result of the pandemic, The Valley experienced rapid growth. 


Many of the businesses featured in Volume 1 were ones I had been a client of in some capacity.  In Volume 2 our membership expanded beyond that and included new members, many of whom were referred to us by current TSG members.  


It was a very different experience selling Volume 2, as we now had a guide that featuring many of the people and businesses people recognized in our own community.  

When we sold Volume 1, we didn’t have our own guide to share as an example, so we would bring guides from other markets as examples.  The photography and guides from other markets certainly is very well done, and in all markets editors work to hard to showcase the people behind the business in an authentic, elevated and relatable way but there was a different level of connection when speaking to business owners about being involved in Volume 2 as rhey recogninzed the faces of people within our own community as ones they would be proud to be featured alongside of. 


The four community partners featured in Volume 2 are supported in some manner by a member(s). We felt it was important to highlight the big impact small business has on our local community.⁠


Scouting to me is discovery.  Whether someone reaches out with an interest in being a part of the TSG network or is referred to us, what is intriguing to me is learning more about the people and businesses doing what they do in a unique way and how that contributes to the distinctiveness of our community. I love the story behind the business and figuring out how we amplify their message or are a part of presenting it in a new and interesting way. 

I also have a great respect for the investment made by a small business when they choose to work with us as a partner.  While objective differ client to client, it is important to me that we understand how what we have to offer is a good fit for their initiatives.  My interest is in developing long term relationships with the businesses and people featured in the guide, so that we can continue to tell different aspects of our members’ story volume after colume as they celebrate, adapt and grow different aspects of their business. 


Every editor brings a unique set of skills and aesthetics to the design process. For Sasha, it was important to reflect the natural beauty found in the Phoenix & Scottsdale landscapes. This was reflected in the cover color selection, as well as the many spreads shot on location or inspired by the surrounding environment. Indeed, one of the best times for a photoshoot is sunsent, and Arizona’s unique “golden hour” is captured in both Member spreads and cover colors. 


Distilling the story behind the business into a compelling image.  I enter client creative meeting with looking to answer one question…. What is the story we want to tell?

We then collaborating with the client and photographer to determine what elements are the most important to include in the visual image.  My role is the pique  interest enough with a viaul image that a reader is intrigued enough to want to learn more about the business by going to their place of  business or website/social  to learn more.  


Natural beauty found in our desert landscape.  Reflected in the cover color selection. 

​​One of the best times for a photoshoot is right before the sun sets, also known as the “golden hour.” Arizona sunsets light up the sky with the most vibrant orange waves of light that contrast beautifully against the green found in our cactus landscapes. Many golden hour sunsets took place while we created this guide, so we didn’t have to look far for the color inspiration for the cover of this issue.⁠ 



The part of the creative process where all of the pieces start to come together is always a thrill for the editors, and Volume 2 was no exception.


Our lead TSG designer, Jane O’Connor was a valuable partner in helping create a cohesive feel throughout the guide.  Editors submit the creative assets for all the clients featured in that volume at one time.  

I look at creating a guide in a similar fashion to building a house, as we enter the design phase  materials have been selected, we have a floor plan and this next stage is when we begin to build the house.  If the editor is the architect, the designer is the builder.




Guide delivery day is the first time an editor sees the guide bound in a hard copy.  It is the day a a years worth of effort is tangible – and complete.  It’s the day we get the key to the house. 

Hours are spent creating each individual spread – photo selection, edits, graphic designin, more editing, guide layout are all part of the process before the guide goes to print. When you open the guide for the first time and flip through the pages there are no more decisions to be made. It is the first time I can truly take in the member collective and see the creative process as  complete. 


Guides are sent right after launch through direct mail and available  throughout the year through our member network and distribution partners. It make s my day when I receive a text or DM from someone saying they received their guide in the mail.  It is important to me that we reach our audience at home and in the places they know in love in the community. 



It’s move in day!

The Cloth & Flame team lives their motto – of creating experiences wherever they can be imagined. A launch party partnership with them was a dream – but the true gift was working with each member of the C&F team to bring my vision of a “celebration under the Arizona susnet” to life.

Many other TSG members collaborated on the event or generously donated to the launch event including Camelback Flowershop, Benedicts Catering, Pop of Colors, Cammie Cutter Designs, Pretty Paper Club and Koko’s Candles.  

Our Launch Party Venue – The Icehoue – has a rich place in the history of Phoenix but in terms of event space it is very much blank slate. There is so much talent in our community and launch party is the perfect occasion to showcase thier gifts and talents. Our partners showed up BIG! I simply called in the experts and stepped out of the way. Itwas blown away when when I saw the beauty was created. 

It was yet another reminder of why we do what we do at TSG. Local businesses and entrepeurs put into their heart and soul into their work. They do what they do because they love it,  and have a unique way of doing what they love.  

Winona’s goregoues photograohy caputres the details and elements of the evening as well as the vibe.  I’ve received so much kind feedback about of the energy at the launch party and I beleieve what people were feeling can be attributed to gathering in the spirit of collaboration.  Under this vision we celebrated the expertise and distinct talents of one another, and the harmony that created is something is what the TSG community is all about. 

 Members and Friends of TSG were there to celebrate the