What a month, what a month. To be both black and a woman, all day, every day. For me, the fact that Black History Month is followed by Women's History Month signifies the seamless, yet ever-present divide of an intersectionality that characterizes my own existence. This year, I've felt the significance of both seasons of celebration and exaltation more poignantly than I have in the past. And because of that, I've taken every opportunity that I can to enter into spaces where others are celebrating these facets of life in the same way that I am.
Last week's celebratory activity was a pop-up shop at West Elm on 18th St.
First things first: food. Maman bakery has been on my to-try list for quite some time, so it was exciting to get to taste test some of their vittles for the free. The raspberry and rose macaroons were truly some of the best that I’ve had (and I️ say some because I️ definitely ate two). I️ haven’t yet met a croissant that I️ didn’t like, and the matcha-dipped options included in this spread were no exception.
Having sufficiently satisfied my intense sweet tooth, I️ finally made my rounds within the space. This International Women’s Day pop-up event was a celebration of the launch of West Elm’s collaboration with prinkshop. Prinkshop is making the phrase “I️ need that on a shirt” a reality; they create advocacy campaigns on printed t-shirts, totes, and notebooks and donate proceeds from the sale of these items to the campaigns associated with the shirts.
What’s not to love?
There was an on-site screen printing station set up at the event and I️ was impressed by West Elm’s ability to transform their retail space to fit this purpose.
As I️ mentioned, the core of this event took place in the form of a pop-up shop featuring the following local, women-run businesses:
Payal Singhal x Desai Foundation: Vocational programs training rural Indian women (I️ purchased a set of two notebooks to gift)
Spencer Devine: Hand-made travel bags
Mercado Global : Accessory brand & non-profit Global Goods Partners : Handmade gifts & lifestyle brand Indego Africa: Non-profit empowering artisan women in Africa (I️ have my eye on one of the plateau baskets and a Wren Mini Bag)
Last, but certainly not least: the cocktails. Both very different and both pretty strong. After a long day of work, I will say that both were the best thing I never knew I needed. I'm not a huge fan of vodka (unless it's in one of my beloved cosmos), but I can say with confidence that I would go for another #empower cocktail if it crossed my path again.
West Elm hosted quite the event and i must say, it took everything in me not to leave with something new for my apartment to accompany the sense of womanly pride I had drummed up during the event. This cookie was not only cute and edible, but also a reminder that we must continue to #PressforProgress for women locally, nationally, and internationally. And one way that we can press on, is by continuing to put our money where our mouths are with respect to women empowerment and supporting our own.
I recently read a book entitled "Our Black Year," an extensive synopsis of one black couple's experience pledging to buy black for a full calendar year. It would be quite the comparison to analyze the challenges (and the joys) that they faced on that journey against a year dedicated to women-owned business purchases. I will be sure to keep you all posted if I ever find a book that describes such a venture or if I ever decide to take the full plunge myself.
What women-owned business have you patronized recently? Share your faves with me on Instagram!
“Women and youth around the globe have the capacity, creativity, and determination to uplift themselves, their families, and their communities—all they need are the resources."
- Indego Africa Mission