Featured Press: Star Metro
CALGARY—A female-run market, which made its debut on International Women’s Day, will now call East Village Junction home for the entire pop-up market season.
This year marks the second season for the pop-up retail park in the East Village, put on by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC).
One of the containers belongs to She[EMPOWERS] marketplace, which hosts five female-owned local businesses.
She[EMPOWERS] is a Calgary initiative that aims to economically empower women in the city. It was started by Alora Boutique owner, Jameela Ghann.
The plan was to have it as a one-day event to mark International Women’s Day and raise funds for the Women In Need Society. Now, its makeshift marketplace will be a summer hub for local female entrepreneurs to sell and share their work.
“No one else was running a female entrepreneurship market in the city, so I wanted to do it,” said Ghann. “But it is also celebrating the fact that we have really great female-run businesses in the city.”
Ghann, who was a vendor at East Village Junction last year, was approached by CMLC to host the She[EMPOWER] market at East Village.
“It brings an innovative concept to our pop-up retail market. We thought it was different and a great way to support female entrepreneurs,” said Jessa Morrison, senior manager of brand marketing for CMLC.
“When you have women who are contributing to the creative space, the economy and to building business, it just creates a vibrant and healthy community.”
“It creates a space for other people to ask for help and it creates a space for the city to support female entrepreneurship and really support empowerment that way,” said Ghann.
Kelcy Prout, one of the She[EMPOWERS] vendors, said it was challenging starting her own sustainable clothing business, Good + Wild.
“When I became an entrepreneur, it was really daunting because the business world is still dominated by men,” said Prout. “So, I‘m really happy to be a part of something that supports women specifically.”
Although there are no plans to set up a permanent shop once the pop-up season ends, Ghann hopes to continue She[EMPOWERS] through a series of workshops and mentorships for women.
“It’s important to support all entrepreneurship in the city, but I think if we want female equality, the first way to do that is through economic empowerment. Supporting female entrepreneurship is one way to do that.”
Mary Getaneh is a Calgary-based reporter covering arts, culture and diversity. Follow her on Twitter: @marygetaneh