It has been a dark period for gender and business in some ways, with an avalanche of reports that predatory men in the workplace, across many industries, are continuing to thrive and operate with impunity, targeting women. Until they get outed by courageous women who invariably pay dearly for it. Time Magazine honored some of those who bravely went public about their experiences of abuse with its Person of the Year cover story.
Investing in women-owned businesses really does strengthen the economy in a uniquely powerful way and in a one-off or at scale, it can contribute greatly to the question of power and safety at work, at least for some
people. Pathetic to even have to write that. Lots to read here in a Fortune piece about the exploding national scene of women's entrepreneurship in food and drink. And there is a conversation to be had about the particular version of this phenomenon playing out among Black women food entrepreneurs in particular which requires serious attention and support.
Whatever you are feeling in response to this moment - spending money with some women in business is a good idea. All of the companies listed below are run by women who control the vision and the operations - and feature creative gift items you can get right now via their websites (I have no business relationship with any of them) or various locations. Thanks in particular to the Commonwealth Kitchen of Boston where some of these entrepreneurs and many others are located and supported in their climb to sustainable business excellence.
Lyndigo Spice - Founder and CEO Celeste Croxton-Tate channels her love of Indian and Caribbean spices and flavors into her catering business and her own line of chutneys, relishes, fruit spreads and spice blends (perfect gifts). (617) 276-8097
Deborah's Kitchen - Deborah's Spreadable Fruits are made with healthful fruit products, 100% All Natural Ingredients. No Preservatives and Low Sugar. Passionate about quality food, health and creative, tasty presentation of things people will love.
SweetTeez Bakery – Teresa Thompson Maynard set out to create a nut-free cupcake in response to her children’s allergies. Now she runs a custom cakes and bakery business and will have a store location soon. Dorchester, (718) 473-4112
Brazo Fuerte Brewing - Founder/CEO Beverly Armstrong runs the state’s first female-owned brewery. The former biotech executive makes full flavored session ales and pursues sustainable practices in every aspect of the business. You can buy it at any Craft Beer Cellar location - all around Boston; and other places too, plus on tap in lots of pubs and bars - more every day.
Craft Beer Cellar - Suzanne Schalow and Kate Baker started this "family of brick and mortar craft beer retail stores in Belmont, Massachusetts and they are now in locations all over the country. Their focus is "beer, hospitality and education" and the place in Belmont is where you can ask any question and not feel like an outsider to the scene at all.
Top Shelf Cookies - Heather Yunger is a crazed Boston Bruins fan. She started by making Black and Gold cookies for home-games. Now a growing business, Top Shelf makes handcrafted artisan style cookies ranging from classics like chocolate chip to several varieties of beer infused cookies. And more...
Eat, drink, reflect - and be merry. Blow off some steam by rewarding some tremendous business women.
Note: People have sent me more to add to this post and I am happy to do so, of course
Hilary Law Textiles - Cashmeres and wool shawls, hats, scarves, skirts, wristlets, cowls and more are all made from pre-owned sweaters primarily found in thrift stores. and Hilary has so many more incredible things to offer that you just have to see on the website.
And here are a few lists people have suggested:
A holiday gift guide of women owned businesses from the web community Milk
California centric "hand-picked" holiday shopping guide from Art in the Find.
A holiday gift favorites list - from women owned businesses from EatDrinkFrolic.com
Andy Tarsy is Principal and Founder of Emblem Strategic, a public affairs and strategy consulting firm.