We talk and think a lot about community in Creative Business League - how to build it, how to improve it, how to start it. Community is at the heart of what we do; we draw our support from it, learn from it, are enriched by it and make money from it. We started our businesses here in the Bay Area where local business owners were open, welcoming, and encouraging in our new endeavors. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by fellow kick-ass, passionate, thoughtful and encouraging entrepreneurs who support us, and we want to support them right back. We also love to spend our money conscientiously. To that end, I would like to introduce you to a group of amazing women-owned businesses who support and share these values. These brick and mortar retail stores are owned by a diverse group of women and are strong supporters of the Bay Area arts and maker communities. They are the first to respond with support when their communities are in crisis; they provide income for their employees; they support local artists and makers; they actively create safe spaces in their stores.
So why is this list only Brick and Mortar stores? Because part of building community is getting to know the people in your neighborhood; it involves getting to know them as people with thoughts and feelings, and that starts with a little old-fashioned, face-to-face contact. Go in, say hello, introduce yourself, start a conversation and support your local small businesses.
These shops carry a wide variety of art, bath & body care, clothing, jewelry, accessories, home goods, cards and gifts and they carry a wide variety of price points; from $4 cards to incredible works of art, they each have a little something for everyone and every budget. Most of these shops carry work that is under $20 for easy gifting. I’ve linked to some pieces that I think you’ll enjoy, but I encourage you to go and check them out in person.
Rare Device - This shop, owned by Giselle Gyalzen carries some of my favorite gift items including these candles by PF Candle - http://raredevice.net/collections/bath-body/products/pommes-frites-candle
Marion and Rose - Owned by Kerri, she curates a cozy collection of home goods and has regular art exhibits and is a champion of independent makers and Made in the USA goods - http://marionandrose.com/collections/kitchen/products/ca-shaped-bottle-opener
Maple Street Denim - owned by the super-rad Julie, she carries an awesome selction of denim and will even special order your size! She also carries great gifts for the holidays - https://www.msdoak.com/shop/enamel-pins-by-these-are-things
Show and Tell - owned by Alyah is a concept shop, gallery, and gathering space in downtown Oakland. They carry sustainable and socially responsible apparel, accessories, and gift items - including this cheeky Great Lakes T-shirt - http://www.showandtelloakland.com/store/show-and-tell/item/great-lakes-women-s
Concept 47 - Owned by Stevonne, her shop is a desitnation for her own line of skin care products as well as jewelry, aromatherapy, candles and gifts in Temescal in Oakland - http://www.conceptfortyseven.com/collections/natural-makeup/products/goji-chocolate-lip-balm
Little Paper Planes - Owned by Kelly, this shop carries her own line of clothing; gifts, art, ceramics and accessories - http://www.littlepaperplanes.com/product/1967-alyson-fox-poketo-wallet
Secession - Owned by Eden, this store and gallery hs been an incubator for emerging artists in the Bay and is a great place to start your art collection She also carries a variety of gifts and apparel - http://store.secessionsf.com/dino-bridge-onesie-baby-pink/
Hawthorn Boutique - owned by Laurie and located in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, her boutique focuses on makers and brands with artistic integrity and a commitment to sustainability - https://www.hawthornboutique.com/products-page/gamma-folk-necklace-42/
Viscera - owned by Ari, this shop produces their own line of 3D printed jewelry amazingness, including this bracelet - https://shopviscera.com/products/anconeus-bracelet
A last note: This list is by no means definitive - help us add to it! Leave a note in the comments with your recommendation for a woman-owned business that you love. If you know of a small, woman-owned business in the Bay Area or beyond, remember that they rely on customers like you for your support and your business. Seek them out, buy from them and make a new friend. See where it takes you.