In the current world of fighting for sustainable and ethical consumerism, supporting small businesses has become increasingly more popular and accessible. Part of shopping from small businesses includes being aware of the people behind the products. Ramapo’s Women’s Center and LGBTQ+ Services believes supporting and empowering local women-identified businesses is incredibly important, and to celebrate Women’s HERstory Month, the office hosted its second Women in Business Pop-Up Shops in Friends Hall on Monday afternoon.
Tables representing 10 different local women-owned businesses lined the perimeter of Friends Hall with products ranging from popcorn to crystals. Additionally, three other tables represented Ramapo’s Enactus selling tote bags made from t-shirts, the WeCare Program collecting gently used female-presenting professional wear for their clothing closet and complimentary water and pink lemonade.
“We wanted to bring even more vendors than last year and make it a very eclectic mix,” coordinator for the Women’s Center and LGBTQ+ Services Alex Woods said. “This event was definitely the biggest on our radar to get done because we really wanted to create this experience, not only for the vendors to be able to sell their goods, but also for students to connect with smaller businesses in the area.”
Arianna Diraggio, the Women’s Center’s Master of Social Work Intern, was the biggest leader in the event. She spent a lot of time reaching out to local small businesses on social media and working with them in preparation for the pop-up shop. One of her biggest goals was to showcase and empower all of the wonderful sellers, and her hard work paid off, because there were at least 44 attendees, according to Archway.
“It exceeded my expectations. I was really nervous to begin with because I know it’s hard to promote, especially over spring break, but so many people have come out. It seems like everyone’s having fun,” Diraggio said. “I couldn’t be happier. I’m very happy.”
Businesses at the event included Mia’s Funky Jewels, Ascension by Ruby, Diane’s Dope Nails, Lady J’s Crochet Studio, DaNae Soaps, Wick N’ Chill, Darling by JR, JP Moda Boutique, The Bruja’s Tomb and Pop-A-Licious. All of the shops can be found online and on social media for more information and online shopping.
Jordan Chernick, the Lady J behind Lady J’s Crochet Studio, is a junior at Ramapo and has a major in management and a minor in entrepreneurship. She was asked to be part of the event after reaching out to the Women’s Center in February about a fundraiser she was doing for Black History Month. She sells Black Lives Matter crocheted bees, in which 30% of the profits are donated to The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. After hearing she was a women-owned business, the staff invited her to be part of the pop-up shop, marking this as her first event.
“I have a couple of events coming up in the summer, so this is like a great way to get a feel for everything, like talking to people,” Chernick said. Between energetically interacting with customers and making sales, the business owner crocheted throughout the event.
“It’s just really exciting [to be part of this]. The whole vibe [and] everything feels so positive and happy.”
Featured photo by Emily Melvin