Back in September, Whitney Winkler, the owner of Whitney Winkler Art, was feeling a bit down about her business. So, she decided to do something about it.
"I wondered if I should reach out to other women's store owners, that maybe they're feeling this way too, maybe they have days like this," Winkler said. "So I immediately got on Instagram."
This simple overture has led to these women coming together to create the Women-Owned Passport, an initiative in which shoppers can get passport stamps and discounts at participating businesses. It runs through Dec. 31.
Fourteen women-led business are participating: ARCHd, Avenue Wrapping, Blue Suede Vintage, Boshi Botanicals, Cooper-Young Gallery + Gift Shop, Everbloom Design, Five in One Social Club, Golden Hour, Mbabazi House of Style, Paradox at PeCo, Penn Home & Design Co., ShopMucho, Snapdragon Floral, and Whitney Winkler Art Studio & Shop.
The women gathered at Tiger and Peacock. The meeting, Winkler said, was affirming. She realized she wasn't alone. They women decided they would encourage each other and collaborate. This is when the idea of the passport was born. The endeavor is collaborative. Kristen and Lindsey Archer of ARCHd did the graphic design of the passport, while Vanessa West of Avenue Wrapping helped organize the effort. Becky Beloin of Boshi Botanicals pitched in on PR.
Winkler doesn't remember who specifically came up with the idea for the passport. She said someone mentioned having some sort of incentive for people to visit all the shops. The participating stores, she said, share customers. The thinking was that a customer would go into one store, pick up the passport, and maybe learn about other stores that they didn't know about.
Each store is offering something different on the passport. For instance, at Blue Suede Vintage, customers will receive a pair of earrings with a $20 purchase. At Golden Hour, it's a free tote bag with a $50 purchase. Winkler said there is no added bonus when one gets all the stamps on their passport. That's not really the point.
"The goal of the passport is exploration. We did talk through the idea of [customers] getting something at the very end. But we didn't want to put that much pressure on customers," she said. "We wanted people to feel like, even if they couldn't make it to all the places by Dec. 31, that they would have a list of places to go in the new year."
This article was originally featured in the Memphis Business Journal here.
November 20, 2023 by Susan Ellis