It’s International Women’s Day on March 8, but shouldn’t every day be an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments and work of our female friends? In honor of the many enterprising ladies in town, we’re spotlighting some of our favorite women entrepreneurs running businesses in NYC. Take a look, then go spend in solidarity!
Fashion First: DA SPOT NYC
DA SPOT NYC, a unique fashion boutique in City Point, Brooklyn, not only features 25-plus independent creative brands by people of color but it also houses C.A.N.V.A.S. Art Gallery, featuring the work of local artists. The goal: To create a unique space to amplify the voices of Black and POC creatives.
WHY NYC? “As native New Yorkers and Brooklynites me and my partners liken running a business here to living our wildest dreams out loud. The other thing that drives me forward: Being able to support the local community.”—Michelle Cadore, co-owner.
445 Albee Square West
Creating community: Union Square Play
Run by local moms, Union Square Play, with its robust roster of classes, workshops and open play, helps connect parents and gives them a much-needed ‘home away from home.’ Now virtual, the company offers virtual moms’ groups and an online platform via their app—both extremely needed during this isolating time.
WHY NYC? “When COVID-19 hit, we were trying to make sense of our new reality and we wanted to step up, make a difference and think differently about making life just a little bit easier for parents with little ones.”—Jennie Monness, partner.
36 E. 18th St.
Handmade With Care: Babe of Brooklyn
At Babe of Brooklyn, the goal has always been to develop old school all-natural grooming/bread-care products—which is pretty much what every quarantining dad might need.
WHY NYC? “One of the greatest thing for us are the people we have encountered along our journey. Being in NYC has fueled our outlook on how we approach the business and life by making sure we gain access to and provide quality products and making sure all things Babe of Brooklyn are genuine. It’s the conversations with our customers that have helped us to keep creating, keep pushing to keep our company operating (even in the face of a pandemic).”—Tameka Allen, owner.
Beads & More: Saskia
At Saskia, a jewelry studio in Industry City, every bead tells a story and every beaded necklace or bracelet (whether you make it using a DIY kit or purchase one that owner Saskia de Vries has created) is as unique as you are.
WHY NYC? “I love doing business in NYC for the same reason I always wanted to live here—the mix of cultures, the human interest, the appreciation for flair and color and the adoration of art in all forms. I find myself among my people and am honored that they appreciate my designs. I’m proud to call this community my clients and friends.”—Saskia de Vries, owner
67 35th St.
Something for Everyone: Awesome Brooklyn
At Awesome Brooklyn, a gift shop in Prospect Lefferts Gardens that opened in 2017, the specialty is gifts that are so awesome you’ll want them for yourself. And who could say no to a Brooklyn Pigeon onesie or 718 Hot Sauce.
WHY NYC? “My customers—New Yorkers are the greatest people on earth! We love our community and we love supporting local vendors. We live and work in the neighborhood and what happens not just at the shop but all around us is super important to us as a family and us as a business.”—Vanessa Raptopoulos, owner
617 Flatbush Ave.
Prospect Lefferts Gardens
A Treasure Trove: Clever Alice
At Clever Alice, a Nolita shop that hosts multi-brand women’s designer sample sales, it’s always an adventure to browse the racks for dresses, jumpsuits and handbags—which we will all need once WFH is over.
WHY NYC? “New Yorkers are the best part of being in the city. Their creative expression in how they dress, think and live is the inspiration that can’t be matched. The energy we get from our NYC shoppers is everything to us.”—Tamara Chaponot, owner
4 Prince St.
Coffee & Mission: Bean & Bean Coffee Roasters
When you stop in for coffee at one of the three Bean & Bean Coffee Roasters in NYC, you’re supporting a mother-daughter business that’s all about giving back. The goal of these two coffee sommeliers: To bridge the gender gap in the coffee world by supporting women farmers and helping out the environment by donating part of their profits towards helping injured sloths in coffee-producing countries.
WHY NYC? “We love serving the most diverse and dynamic city in the world. NYC's diversity is reflected in the makeup of our Bean & Bean team and the customers that support us. As a BIPOC and immigrant owned business, our coffees are roasted and brewed for everyone to enjoy. We work to make specialty coffee as inclusive as possible.”—Jiyoon Han, co-owner
318 8th Ave.
Always Staying Innovative: The Doughnut Project
Tucked in the West Village since 2015: A doughnut shop with a cult following that might stem from the fact that each hand-crafted pastry draws inspiration from food and cocktails. Best of all, it’s a team of three female employees who are creating these unique gourmet doughnuts, like The Everything and Lemon Love Letter.
WHY NYC? “The brief moments you get to speak with customers and make each other laugh. I get told over and over again by our customers how our business has kept them sane during this challenging time. We have customers drive into the city from Connecticut, New Jersey and Long Island each weekend to visit us. It has become a fun tradition for them.”—Leslie Polizzotto co-founder and owner
10 Morton St.
Tapping Into Imaginations: Let's Dress Up
Since 2005, Let’s Dress Up has been the Upper East Side spot for fairytale-themed tea and birthday parties. Since COVID-19, this beloved space has kept is super safe, reopening with small format and private events as well as some virtual offerings.
WHY NYC? “When you are running a kids’ business in NYC in a pandemic there is literally never a dull moment. Days are filled with everything from the logistics of a particular event to washing princess dresses and posting on social media. The greatest thing for us is interacting with the kids (in person or on a screen) and hearing their excitement and laughter as they participate in one of our events. Even if it inevitably ends up with them waving a magic wand and pretending to turn me into a frog!”—Samantha Myers, co-owner
345 E. 85th St.
Upper East Side
Keeping Chefs Working: WoodSpoon
Home chefs can now provide a ‘taste of home’ via WoodSpoon, a community-based marketplace that has been delivering home-cooked dishes to New Yorkers since its inception in January 2019.
WHY NYC? “As a company that celebrates cultural diversity and authenticity, NYC is our natural home. Our platform connects communities through food and supports local chefs who embrace their native culture while sharing it with diners. Some of our most popular items are comfort foods like delicious breads, pastas and soups your grandma used to make. You can’t get that at a restaurant.”—Merav Kalish Rozengarten, co-founder and CMO