Local photographer Mandy Evans is bringing a new creative community to the Springfield area. The Rising Tide Society is an international organization for small business owners and other creatives focused on the idea of "community over competition."
Evans, who owns Mandy Evans Photography, first heard about the group from other photographers she's friends with across the country. Feeling like there wasn't an outlet for creative professionals to come together, Evans applied to be a community facilitator for the organization, which was founded in May 2015 by photographer Natalie Franke and has groups in more than 400 cities around the world.
The group primarily interacts through monthly gatherings called TuesdaysTogether, which are held the second Tuesday of each month. Each meeting has a new topic provided by the national organizers. The first Springfield meeting will be on June 13 at Farmers Park. After that, the group will alternate meeting on Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings each month. At press time, there were 103 members in the local chapter's Facebook group.
"I found when I started my business a lack of how to start a business," says Evans, who has a bachelor's in photography and a master's in education. "I had to learn a lot of things on my own without local help." She hopes Rising Tide Society will be a place local business owners turn to for help but adds that the group isn't just for photographers or even other professionals working in creative industries. One of Evans' friends who joined is an insurance agent, and hobbyists are also welcome to join. "We all have something to give, and we all have something to learn," Evans says.
Additionally, she says the educational meeting topics are applicable to all business owners not just those working in creative industries. "With as many small business entrepreneurs as there are in our community, it's a great resource," she says.
Springfield has other similar groups including Springfield Creatives. Evans says she hadn't heard about that group while she was applying to become a community facilitator. "I think that's the real issue here," she says. "There are so many resources here, but we just don't know what they are." Evans sees Rising Tide Society as a resource for people who are starting businesses for the first time. "I feel like competitiveness sometimes stops people out for help when they may need it," she says. "Most small business owners, especially creatives, are always likely to offer help when approached."
St. Louis, Kansas City and Fulton already have groups that meet for TuesdaysTogether, according to risingtidesociety.com. To find out more about the local chapter, join the TuesdaysTogether - Springfield, Missouri Facebook group.