In this historic time of reckoning and self-reflection, it's impossible not to ask yourself what more you can do to make the world better and to make the lives of our fellow humans safer and more equitable. We all have our part to play.
One of the reasons I love our area is because we have a huge number of women-created, women-owned, and women-run businesses and nonprofit organizations: Dogwood Bakery, The Hub, Craigardan, Ernie's Market, the Bessboro Shop, Chez Lin & Ray's, Covered Bridge Realty, the Cupola House, Turtle Island Cafe, Gold Bar Butter, The Neighborhood Nest, Emily Phillips Art Conservation, Spring Hill Farm, Erin Hall Studio, Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness, DAK Bars, Ledge Hill Studio, my own Birds & Muses, and a veritable bouquet of boutique floral companies -- Red Legs, Boquet Valley, Mad Crazy, and Flower Designs by Tracy, to name but a few of the female-powered entities bolstering our local economy and bringing flavor, beauty, art, ideas, and expertise to our lives. We have women yogis and farmers, chefs and artists, architects and art conservationists, realtors and designers and gallery owners. And of course, there's my pal Debb Schrodt of The Pink Pig, who not only runs her company but intentionally showcases women artisans and their products. What's more, unlike many retailers who have just become woke enough to support Black-owned businesses, since opening her shop Debb has featured the artistry of a wide range of Black craftspeople and artisans, as well as many other Makers of Color.
As a woman who worked for thirty years in the male-dominated world of Wall Street, Debb knows firsthand the pluck and determination it takes for female entrepreneurs to succeed. She and her husband, Fred, moved to the Adirondacks to chase a shared dream: to start a business that would allow Debb to utilize her keen aesthetic eye and her sophisticated palate, and provide Fred an opportunity to show off his skill at restoring vintage furniture and bake a loaf of mean banana bread to boot. Thus the Pink Pig was born, tutu and all.
Though there's always something new -- and old -- on display in the boutique, one thing that's been part of Debb's mission from the beginning is her patronage of other women entrepreneurs and artisans who, like Debb herself, give back to their communities -- women and girls in particular -- making it possible for an even wider circle of women and girls to thrive and pursue their own dreams.
Here are a few of the women-created, -run, and -owned lines that you'll find at The Pink Pig.
Created by Caitlin Crosby, a performer who was inspired to help other women embrace perceived imperfections in themselves, The Giving Keys aren't just fun necklaces stamped with inspiring words -- Caitlin's business employs the homeless, creating more than 100 jobs in the Los Angeles area.
The Love is Project was inspired by Chrissie Lam's trip to Kenya, where she met a group of Maasai women creating beadwork bracelets as beautiful as their makers. There are now 1600 Kenyan women artisans making gorgeous beaded bracelets that can be found in at least 50 countries, all of those bracelets incorporating the word LOVE.
Those beautiful Tamra copper water bottles aren't just utilitarian objects for your next Adirondack hike -- the Tamra Jal, or copper water, they hold has Ayurvedic health benefits such as immunity-boosting, naturally antioxidant, increasing metabolism, and more. Creator Cheryl Freeman and Tamra customers are supporting the livelihoods of the Indian craftspeople who make the bottles and their lovely leather and tasseled bags.
The gemstone bracelets and earrings by Scout Curated Wares aren't just soul-supporting from the intrinsic qualities of their materials; the women who created Scout donate 10% of all net proceeds to organizations that support and promote women.
Kazi Goods's mission is one after my own literary heart: they want to empower artisans to "weave a better story for themselves." Their baskets and other home goods are pieces of art. You can read the stories of some of their more than 3600 artisans across Rwanda, Uganda, and Ghana on Kazi Goods' website. Indego Africa also makes gorgeous palm and raffia woven goods -- I covet one of their baskets with cowrie shells in the shape of flowers -- with the goal of giving women and youth the resources to achieve economic independence.
Check out more of Debb's sources and their products at the websites below, and of course, come into the store to purchase items that will make you happy and ripple your investment outward.
Bohemia Design's leather slippers and Moroccan wedding blankets.
Indaba Trading's tactile ceramics and glassware
PJ Harlow's "poetically correct" loungeware
Papaya Art's mother-and-daughter designed paper goods and planners, where "flowers, faces, and ink run together."
MargotElena.com's sensuous Library of Flowers perfumes and hand creams
JacquelineRose.com's sculptural jewelry collection, made using the lost wax technique
OceanneJewelry.com's modern minimalist jewelry and apparel, designed by Frenchwoman Anne Harrill by way of Cleveland, Ohio
Kit+Syl Studio's handmade jewelry and florals, created right here in Essex by Teddi Rogers
Sue Handman's spunky and hilarious fabric-collage clothing, cards, and messenger bags
Dan300's Australian-made bath and body goods (Dan is short for Dani)