Celebrating Our 1st Anniversary!
As we celebrate our first anniversary, hear from Shannon LaBare, Be in Bakersfield co-founder + Owner/Creative Director at Purveyor House, as she reflects on everything that’s made Be in Bakersfield a success and shares her vision for the future.
Shannon LaBare • Be in Bakersfield + Purveyor House
More than two years ago, a group of friends led by Daniel Cater, Austin Smith and Anna Smith gathered to talk about building a platform for progressive, creative millennials in Bakersfield. Not too long after they started meeting, I got involved. Like me, these were people who wanted something better for where they lived — they wanted to bring in more like-minded people to build up the community.
We had no funding besides a little bit the group had raised, but we kept collecting more people who believed in the vision. It was a passion project for all of us involved.
Coming into 2018, we had built marketing campaigns, images and videos telling the story that we wanted to share. I wanted to showcase that Bakersfield could have a great brand identity around it by using visuals that were professional but still true and authentic to us as a city.
We launched in April 2018 at the Bakersfield Young Professionals Summit. We shared our stories, our backgrounds and why we believed in this mission so wholeheartedly. We wanted to make sure that everyone knew this was for Bakersfield by people who lived and worked in Bakersfield — people who believed that Bakersfield was a great place to live.
The response has been pretty incredible. We’ve had a lot of great feedback, and we’ve had some tough conversations with people about things that truly matter to our community and how to get involved. There’s a lot of space to grow here, but there are also a lot of good things happening.
We want to help people build a community outside of their typical 9-to-5 work friends. What do you do on the weekends? How do you get your culture? How do you get connected? That’s really what we’re about — without shying away from the true hard facts about where we live and the opportunities we have to make life here even better.
On the personal front, this project helped me see the opportunity and allowed me to take the leap of faith to jump out of my corporate job and start my own business — to show that there’s space here for entrepreneurial minds. There’s a need for people who want to do things a little differently.
I’m honored that Purveyor House is helping drive the conversation at Be in Bakersfield. The team that has assembled around it is truly incredible and is inspiring to me as a business owner and community member on a daily basis. I don’t know where I’d be without it.
We had our first event in August of last year at Sonder restaurant. It sold out, and the energy in that space was exhilarating. Everyone left proud to be here. Since then, we’ve been able to support a lot of community members, events and organizations through our content building and our online platforms. We’ve just had our second event at Sonder, and it was fantastic. We welcomed a good group of people at the Be Rooted event — all from different parts of town and walks of life — and we shared stories of what being rooted in Bakersfield means. We also created a vertical living wall that represents the intentional act of getting rooted, engaged and involved in the place where you are planted. We’re excited to make that event live on beyond one night by moving the living wall around town.
I’m excited about the future of Be in Bakersfield because it’s wide open. We’re actively seeking sponsors to create more programs like what we’ve been doing, and we’re excited to be involved in the growth of the conversation around Bakersfield.
As we move forward, I’d like to see a lot of bigger companies latching onto what we’re doing and using it to recruit and retain talent. I would also like to see this invigorate and re-energize the creative class in Bakersfield. My hope is to keep more creative work here — to hire from within and grow from within.