Digital marketing agency YUSHiiN LABO features struggling local business owners in Project VOICE
Mayumi Izumi // Contributor
YUSHiiN LABO, a local digital marketing company founded by husband and wife team Mina and Yushiin Sato, is using their website and Instagram profile to feature struggling local businesses in their community.
“When the pandemic hit, our business was hit hard—and at the same time, we saw our clients struggling,” said Sato. “We asked ourselves how we can help our clients and fellow small businesses by using our expertise. That’s how VOICE was born.”
One of YUSHiiN LABO’s first features was Bowen Island Pizza Company, located in the Lonsdale Quay Market. Owner Melanie McCreedy grew up on Bowen Island but spent a lot of time in North Vancouver with her grandparents.
During McCreedy’s elementary and high school years, her mom made pizza for her friends, neighbours, and family on Friday nights. It was while she was at graduate school that she started doing pizza nights herself. In 2015, she decided to start her own pizza company with some help from a friend, who is the property manager of the Lonsdale Quay.
“As we moved along with this project, we realized this is something that goes beyond the pandemic,” said Sato. “More and more people are realizing that it is so important to support locals and know what and who we spend our money on.“
When her shop was suffering from electrical failures last year, McCreedy decided to renovate her pizzeria and deli instead of opening more locations. This decision proved to be a wise one as thousands of Vancouver restaurants have had to close thanks to COVID-19.
“Some businesses got fresh orders from new clients who saw our posts,” said Sato. “There are people who email us saying they enjoy our photos and texts, and getting to know more new food places in the neighborhood.”
Project VOICE started out as a free service that the Satos provided but once businesses reopened, they decided to charge by donation—50 per cent of which they donate to other businesses in their community.
One of the businesses they donated to is Ocean Ambassadors Canada, a non-profit organization that has been in business for three years. Their mission is to clean up the littered plastic and to teach children sustainability at ocean camps. The Satos chose Ocean Ambassadors because their values match with theirs—supporting the community, the environment, and children.
YUSHiiN LABO continues to feature new voices online, and have now featured over 80 small businesses. “We hope to provide an opportunity to raise awareness of amazing local small businesses and then bring some positive changes to how we live, how we shop, and how we eat, for a better future and a better community,” said Sato.