The Creative Economy

We are the creative economy!

Creative entrepreneurs are a high-impact demographic contributing to the success of the creative economy. This article is an overview of the creative economy that provides actionable insights for your consideration. We will look at the overall construction of the economic ecosystem by examining international definitions, national statistics and ways, for creators and supporters, to leverage data for the improvement of our professional lives.

The creative economy is a fast evolving and ever changing faction of the greater economy; for this reason, it would be impractical to attempt a hard and fast definition. There is however international agreement that the creative economy comprises 4 key sectors: Art, Functional Creations, Media and Heritage. Within each sector are sub-sectors: Visual Arts and Performing Arts; Design and Creative Services; New Media, Publication and Printed Media and Audio Visual; Traditional Cultural Expressions and Cultural Sites.

Creative Industries, Graphic. Source

Overarching agreements about the creative economy are described successfully by the United Nations Institute of Training and Technology:

“The creative economy is one of the most dynamic sectors of the global economy with a powerful transformative force for socioeconomic development. The creative economy deals with the interface between economy, culture, technology, and social aspects. Having creativity as the main driver, the sector is concentrated around products and services bearing creative content, cultural value and market objectives. Creative goods and services are resilient products for they rely on ideas, knowledge, skills and the ability to seize new opportunities.” Source, 22 September 2019

For some context: The most recent comprehensive research on the nonprofit sector of American creative economy comes from the Arts and Economic Prosperity 5. The report published (2016) by Americans for the Arts reports an impact of $166.3 billion. The Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account maintains localized records of economic impact of for-profit creative business, published (2016) by U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis. It reports an impact of $804.2 billion or 4.3% of the GDP. (Well damn!) District of Columbia’s most notable growth areas have been government, broadcasting and advertising. The reports combined illuminate the nonprofit and for-profit spheres of the creative economy, both of which are defined by the 4-sector/9-sub-sector descriptors we know from before.

What does that mean for us?

Femme Fatale DC, and the majority of our community, hustle in the for-profit creative business world. We have the data, with it we may actively leverage the information to increase industry sustainability. Applying the data looks like: framing information to support and scale our efforts; argue for legislation that supports the for-profit sphere with-in the creative economy and corner markets within the overall scene. The information we do have provides us a solid platform to argue a case for increased financial and community investment in creative enterprise.

I’m a creative entrepreneur: what can I do with this information?

Start where you are: identify where your “sphere”, where you business lives within the 4/9 structure. Assess your placement by asking: What sectors/sub-sectors does my company exist within? Am I where I want to be? How can I scale? Once you identify your “sphere,” complete a localized market assessment to identify the placement of you business within the market. Leverage this information by asking: Who’s values overlap with mine? Who’s product overlaps with mine? What are my goals? Do I want to collaborate? Who can I collaborate with, and how?

Connect with the Femme Fatale DC community of creative entrepreneurs. Our community is incredibly talented, motivated and supportive. Share your talents and receive the talents of others: collaborate! In our network are womyn with experience doing just about anything you can think of. Our community is our greatest asset!

Learn more, dig into some of the documents referenced here (links provided), take that information and use it to advocate for your business. Look at this data as a reference to the expansive and powerful community of which you are part. Revel in the energy, commit and take charge of your creative business.

I support creative entrepreneurs: what can I do with this information?

Let me just say: you are the reason we are here and appreciate the hell out of you! Big love from FFDC.

Advocate. Advocate. Advocate, for investment in creative industries that support local spending, both by the maker and the consumer. Tell local gatekeepers to support, to hold space for and develop local creators in the DMV. Support funding initiatives from local government that support the creative economy.

De-stigmatize the maker: With this much economic impact creatives need not be seen as starving or frivolous.

Keep shopping local and engage with the FFDC community!

Takeaway: The creative economy powerfully impacts the growth in other economic spheres while improving the overall human experience.


Arts and Economic Prosperity 5, 20 September 2019

Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account, 22 September 2019

More Resources:

Facts and Figures On the Creative Economy

Briget Heidmous

Femme Fatale DC