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Print Collective Founder Melinda Berman On The Importance of Shopping Local

Melinda Berman felt a profound void when her full travel schedule came to a halt this past March. She quickly realized that there were other ways to bring the sense of wonder that travel inspires and started Print Collective, a digital platform offering community-driven city guides. Covering 8 cities, including Toronto, Berman’s goal is to inspire people to rediscover their communities, support small businesses, and bring the beauty of travel home.

What inspired you to start Print Collective?

“Travel has always been an important source of inspiration and education for me and I felt a huge void when the world shut down. Then I realized, at its core, travel is about anticipation, discovery, and connection. I started to find that sense of excitement when a friend recommended a beautiful pasta bar I’d never heard of close to my house or a gorgeous vase from Marrakech that I could order to my home. I watched in awe as these businesses pivoted their offering to reach consumers in new ways, whether it was restaurants transforming into specialty grocery stores or museums holding virtual tours and interviews. Supporting local independent businesses made the experience all the more meaningful.

“This was the inspiration behind Print, a collection of community-driven insider city guides, designed for the new world in which we live. With restrictions in place, even the thought of travel can seem far-off, but there is so much that people can explore just within reach! We now have eight cities live on @printcollective_ (including Toronto, Montreal, Brooklyn, LA, London, Paris, Athens, and Venice) and recently launched the Print website where users can explore city recommendations, plan their day with the dynamic map or start dreaming about their next local escape.”

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How do you curate your city guides?

“Print is all about community. The unsponsored recommendations stem from a collective of local creatives who work and live in each city and share their personal selection of local gems. Specifically for Toronto, we connected with Daniel Hadida and Eric Robertson, co-chefs at Pearl Morissette, or Erin Kleinberg, Founder + CEO of Sidia and founder of Métier Creative, to discover their daily routines and unique recommendations”

Why is it more important than ever to support local businesses?

“Local and independent businesses shape the cities we love and are the lifeblood of our communities. With the drastic impacts of Covid-19, it is so important to provide support and exposure to businesses as they continue to pivot and adapt. With travel as we know it being brought to a halt, the purpose of Print is to inspire people to find the joy of travel at home. To re-discover their own neighborhood or the city next door, and most importantly, to support local brands.”

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How is Print Collective promoting small businesses during the holiday season when many cities (including Toronto) have gone into lockdown?

“We have an exciting set of gift guides coming out the week of November 30th! Each day will be dedicated to a specific city, starting with Toronto, where we will share a variety of items, all by local brands, so that you can focus your holiday shopping and gifting on supporting small businesses.”

What is next for Print Collective?

“As many parts of the world return to lockdown, we are launching a new series, ‘Travel at Home’. We’re featuring brands from cities around the world (with global shipping), to help you explore from the comfort of your couch, as well as masterclasses from local business owners to help transform your home into your dream escape.”

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