Local Spotlight: Charlotte Collective

Local Spotlight: Charlotte Collective

Collective- col·lec·tive

When used as an adjective, it means “done by people acting as a group”. As a noun it’s defined as “a cooperative enterprise”.

Charlotte Collective fulfills that textbook definition and more. This shop is a retail experience showcasing so many of Charlotte’s small businesses that we often see online, at pop-ups, or within other stores around the city. They have created a beautiful retail space, an anchor for the community, and a supportive space for each other as well.

With the work of local makers, creatives, and passionate entrepreneurs splayed across this prime location in Plaza Midwood; 1222 Central Ave, you automatically feel that you’re walking into something so much bigger than yourself. You’re supporting someone’s dream as you’re shopping through the items for your closet, home, technology, and more!

I got to take a look into the Plaza Midwood location before the grand opening. As I walked into the space, the sun was flooding in through the large garage doors putting an instant smile on my face. I was ready to learn more about where this concept came from and get a behind the scenes look at all the work that’s been put in to get here.

When I reached out to my friend, Amy from Worthy Figures, I couldn’t help but jump right in. She explained that this concept all started out of chance. Although Area 15 in NODA is a close comparison, she has always identified a need for an incubator spot for small businesses to test out having a small shop of their own. When the opportunity came in South End, she jumped at it quickly and started building her list of businesses to bring with her. This list being made up of entrepreneurs and creatives met on the pop up market scene for almost two years.

When looking at the line up, I couldn’t help but then ask a few of the business owners why they took the leap with Charlotte Collective. Lauren, the owner, creative and maker behind Feminist Goods Co., said “At the core of everything I do is the drive to create a community and safe space for womxn to be exactly who they are. For me, Charlotte Collective makes sense because it provides the opportunity to pull together and collaborate with other CLT businesses I love and founders that I admire to create a space where we can build closer relationships with our customers and community! Also, as a plaza Midwood area resident I LOVE that I get to be part of our neighborhood culture.

Talk about a mission. It seems that the biggest overall goal for this space is to give small business owners the opportunity to have a store front without all the risk or expense. To connect with their customers in person and to grow a community not just with their customers, but with each other. It’s a task they all commit to. Amy noting that the biggest obstacle being the time commitment. Some of these businesses have full-time jobs- talk about hustle! If their mission didn’t sell you on taking a visit, I truly hope their hard-work, hustle, and passion do. The collaboration that goes on to run a store with 16 different small business is no small feat.

Alley, the powerhouse behind The Alley Way Market, confirmed how comforting the concept of the Charlotte Collective is. She said, “I joined Charlotte Collective because my dream has always been to have a brick and mortar shop! At this point in my business I wouldn’t be able to afford a solo stand alone shop.  So when this opportunity came around I knew it would be perfect for my business.  What I didn’t realize is how much I would learn from all the other business owners! It has been a great experience being around like minded people..

I shopped my way through the store grabbing more than I’d like to admit. More than anything though, I left inspired. It takes a lot for a small business to take a leap on physical retail space. For all of them to come together to make each other’s dreams come just a bit more true can’t leave you anything but inspired.

Here are the brands at the Charlotte Collective along with their Instagram!

Feminist Goods Co.| Glory Days Apparel| Golden Reeds| LA Suds| Pretty Honest Candles| Rachel Tenny| Shani Amara| TayFlower| The Alley Way Market| Winnie’s Boutique| Worthy + Badass| Worthy Figures| The Cactus Club| Cosmic Creativ| Elise Design Company

Their official grand opening is tomorrow, July 13th from 10am to 8pm! You can RSVP here. I’ll also link all of their social media stuff below as usual so you can follow their journey. Their normal hours of operation will be Tuesday- Friday 11am to 7pm, Saturday 11am to 8pm, and Sunday 11am to 6pm.

Do not sleep on this CLT shop- keep an eye out for what’s to come for Charlotte Collective. They may be small businesses, but there’s nothing small about their passion, business savvy, hustle and impact within the Charlotte community.

You can follow their journey here: Website | Instagram | Facebook

As always, thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next time.

xx Alicia

Local Spotlight: Black Fathers Rock!

You ever meet someone by chance and you can’t help but know their story? That sentence is the absolute description of my experience with Ryan, an author, speaker, host, father, and founder of Black Fathers Rock!. This local spotlight is all about a local non-profit organization that started as a dream, turned into an event, and is growing as an organization. This organization’s mission is to disprove and dismantle the stigma around black fatherhood.

You may be asking my connection and interest in this movement, right? Well, I don’t actually know my dad. An organization willing to help fathers in the community re-unite, better, and connect themselves with their family is something I definitely can get behind. Ryan put it perfectly when he told me, “You often overcompensate as an adult where you had an absence as a child.” and although he was primarily connecting this to fatherhood, I believe it’s a blanket statement for life.

Ryan and His Family

Do I have your attention? I hope so because this story is not one you’ll want to skim over. Growing up as the oldest of two boys with a single mom, Ryan came from a household in Ohio that was filled with his mother’s love, but absent of his father’s presence. Growing up with no longing for kids, he now has a baby boy and adorable daughter to dote over as his wife continues to grow her career. Then life hits you. Imagine the summer of 2017 and having an overwhelming feeling come over you that just inspires you to build an event. An event comprised of two and a half pages of notes that come to life the following year. Then once that event is over you receive a large donation from someone outside the community that pushes you to start an organization. Literally within a year, the course and mission of your life has changed and grown. That is the synopsis of Ryan’s story.

From a small black book; that he carries around to this day, to building an event almost 150 people attended and extending six awards to deserving fathers in the community, and to now having a non-profit to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the community. While also being able to support and assist fathers in building success stories- all the while ensuring you’re growing and balancing your family life. That’s Ryan.

When you meet Ryan, the conversation comes easy and you can tell that the mission he has for his organization comes from the fire in his belly. He has lived his mission full circle. This year’s award celebration for Black Fathers Rock! will consist of six fathers in the community being recognized as well as two performances. It is this coming Saturday, January 19th at 6pm. This award celebration will actually be the LAST event at Pease Auditorium, so if you would like to experience this amazing event, make sure you buy tickets!

As I pulled information from Ryan, I couldn’t help but ask him what’s next once Saturday passes and he didn’t disappoint. He mentioned that he has two book concepts he will be working on, the organization will be aiding the initiative to place changing rooms in men’s bathrooms, and there will be a lot more programming being built for the community. He mentioned his wife will be helping and leading the programming, so we can expect to see some events coming up like “Donuts with Dad”, a parenting workshop, and a Fatherless Forum.

Ryan has big goals for Black Fathers Rock! this year. He described the organization as a necessary movement and explained that he hopes to see more success stories this year; at least one a month. 2018 treated Ryan well and the organization even better, when he told me a success story that made this all just a little more real for me. An honoree from last year was able to reunite with his children after a custody hearing, with the BFR award being a part of his story. These men that are being honored are fathers that take that title seriously and continue to find ways to better themselves in order to be their best for their families and community.

Truly, if you have the time to dig into your community and find organizations with great stories, take the time to listen. That’s what this series is all about! Not only is this organization starting a conversation and a movement, but it’s giving back to the community in so many ways. I couldn’t have picked a better Local Spotlight for this week.

2019 Award Recipients are below as well as how to follow Ryan and the Black Fathers Rock! organization. A link to donate can also be found on each of these pages.

Black Fathers Rock! | Ryan’s Instagram | BFR Instagram | BFR Facebook

xx Alicia

Local Spotlight: Worthy + Badass

Local Spotlight: Worthy + Badass

Worthy + Badass, what a name right? Well it’s not just a name it’s a movement, it’s a passion, and it’s Justine. Justine is the Boss Babe behind this killer business and brand! Worthy + Badass is a local small business that creates a collection of minimalistic jewelry and stationery. She also partners with other creatives on her site, teaches classes, and tries to expand her offerings constantly; like to “badass” t-shirts and NC state Christmas ornaments. I actually found Justine through Instagram with her necklaces and then was able to connect at a Girl Tribe pop-up before attending her event.

More about her later, but let me tell you why I chose this business to feature! I was lucky enough to attend an event and photoshoot held by Justine on the 4th of January. I walked into the building and instantly heard music and laughter. I entered the room and saw a DJ, Photographers, and Hair and Makeup artists- all volunteering. Volunteering their time for a day to make women feel powerful, beautiful, and well, worthy. Balloons on the floor, jewelry displayed, and women everywhere. Women of all ages, races, and from different paths of life. It was the most beautiful and overwhelming first take I have had at an event in a long time. An event that completely embodied the message it pitched.

Justine, picture by LunahZon

Before I got my chance in front of the camera…which was hysterical and fun, I pulled Justine aside. If you ever get the chance to meet her, you’ll know who she is as her warmth radiates through the room and makes you instantly comfortable. So why did she build w + b? Two years ago after she came back from Basic, she wanted to rebrand the company she had into something that defined her more now than it did before. She opened up about her struggles and how building her business from a passion project helped her cope and grow. This rebrand whole heartedly represented how she now felt in the world and how she wanted to make more women feel.

I asked her to describe w + b in three words. Simple. Quality. Powerful. I attest to those words. I love my state necklace I have because it is simple and beautiful, I wear it often. It’s made of quality materials and if you haven’t gotten the feels already, this business has a powerful message.

Now the hard question, I asked her to describe herself in three words and I loved it. Badass. Innovative. Determined, although she more eloquently said “Bulldozer” first! My favorite answer from Justine though was when I asked her about her inspiration. All of her stamps for her collection come from a personal place. Each symbolizes something so personal, especially the butterfly and bee necklaces. The minute she started to answer the question, she lit up even more and you could tell that she puts so much of herself into her craft. She’s a hustler and she’s a fighter.

Picture by LunahZon

I was inspired and empowered by this event. I connected with women and listened to their stories. There was a flood of joy that washed over you at that event! It was a no brainer that I would feature Worthy + Badass. Justine has a stamping event coming up for Valentine’s Day as well as a few events TBD that she hinted at. She also does custom work if you’re looking for a gift for someone special or to treat yourself! Make sure you follow her and support her journey. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.

I wanted to share something with you guys that Justine asked each woman to share which evoked a lot of thought for me. “What makes you worthy + badass?” In short, my spirit and story makes me worthy + badass. In my life I have been tested often and failed some, but with each challenge I learned more about myself. I gained confidence and I learned my value. I found my worth sometimes in the darkest of struggles I faced. My story is still a work in progress, but you can bet that with each struggle I’ll have a story for it. A story that will be full of my accomplishments, failures, and most importantly, my lessons. A story that will embody my resilience and toughness- dare I say badass-ness . I could be more specific, but this isn’t the post for it. So I hope this small piece of myself is enough of a window into my soul.

Ask yourself the same question and own whatever comes to mind. You are worthy and you’re a badass, in case you needed someone to remind you!

So will you guys be checking out Worthy + Badass? Let me know if you do! Have a local place or business you want me to check out? Make sure you reach out to let me know and you might just see it as a local spotlight! As always, thank you for stopping by and I’ll see you next time.

xx Alicia

Local Spotlight: Brows by Hilary

Today I am sharing my experience with Hilary at Brows by Hilary! Hilary is the boss babe behind this small business that she started in 2017 after taking a leap of faith. Hilary is based in Charlotte and has a large list of services that she provides. I’m already eyeing a few for the upcoming holidays! I found her through Google and Charlotte Agenda and her reviews speak for themselves. I needed a serious self care day, so I booked an appointment for a facial and to have my eyebrows waxed and she definitely delivered! 

Walking into her space I immediately felt relaxed. We went over past experiences and what I wanted out of the appointment. I should tell you that the last time I got a facial, it was so painful and not enjoyable at all! That was in 2016 and I haven’t wanted to get one until now. I wanted to treat myself and refresh my skin now that I follow a skincare routine. I told her my worries and she was quick to address them and put me at ease. We also talked about my skincare routine and how skin only gets better through diet, water intake, and more. 

When I got time to just look around the space, you feel like you’re in your own spa. It is decorated so minimally, but in the most beautiful way with golds and whites. You walk into the room and the smell warms you. 

When the appointment began, she would explain the type of wax she was using and why while also asking what I liked and disliked about my brows so she knew what to do with them. I felt like I was in good hands right away. When it came time for the facial, I was already so relaxed that I was excited. Every step taken during my facial was so enjoyable and refreshing. From the oils to the hot towels, I was in heaven. Hilary has an air about her that was so relatable, but professional. We talked about our personal lives as well as business and each time she spoke, you could tell the pure love she has for this business. 

If I had to pick the one thing I loved most about this experience, it was Hilary herself. She takes pride in her work and making you feel good by the end of the appointment. She answers all your questions, ensures you’re comfortable, will provide suggestions, and is extremely personable. I would say my self care day was a success. I had great service and even better conversation! I couldn’t stop thanking her by the end of the appointment. 

All in all, I highly suggest you check out this small business. With the holidays coming up, this is a great place for a pick me up for yourself or even a gift for someone you love. I know I’m personally thinking about going back to prep for holiday pictures! This post only shares a small sneak peek into the services she provides, but you can bet that you’ll be happy with anything she offers. 

Have a business you want me to check out in Charlotte for my “Supporting Local” posts? Send me a message or leave me a comment. I have been loving this series and this Supporting Local post was a big win in my books and I can’t wait to continue finding businesses I fall in love with. The Facebook page for Brows by Hilary is linked to the picture above as well. As always, I appreciate you stopping by and I’ll see you next time! 

xx Alicia

Local Spotlight: Worthy Figures

Local Spotlight: Worthy Figures

Happy Friday! I hope you all have an amazing weekend planned! Today I’ll be sharing with you my experience with Worthy Figures, a brand that offers boutique style shopping for sizes 12+. Amy is based in Charlotte and she has an amazing eye for fashion. She is also a newly appointed Mod Cloth Advocate which is exciting and she posted about it on her page if you would like more information. She keeps classic, trendy, and special occasion pieces stocked and helps you to step out of your comfort zone.  I got to experience this shopping day excursion with Shanice Littlejohn, which was so exciting and a pleasure.

When we got there, there was a delicious candle lit warming the space, a mirror ready to do its job and racks of clothing waiting to be sifted through. Amy explained that she had a rack of curated pieces that were chosen based on our Instagrams and pieces we have liked that she posted. We browsed the racks and tried on pieces that fit our style and some that pushed us out of our comfort zones. All the while, I couldn’t help but ask Amy a few questions. She explained her love for shopping and styling, while giving some great examples of how a piece in her store has fit into so many people’s closests that all had such different tastes and that were all different ages. I think that alone is a statement about how much time she invests in diversifying her boutique and her customer base.

By the end of the appointment, I walked out with three sweaters and a cute fall t-shirt she printed for her business. All four items will be featured in my Instagram posts as well as a Fall Look book I’m working on for you guys! You could say my experience was an A+ with an extra + and here’s why.

I have always had a hard time shopping mainly for any sort of top due to the fact that my chest is, well, large. I mean…I have a hard time finding bras sometimes if we’re being honest. I didn’t have that issue with Worthy Figures because it’s her niche and specialty. Amy knows what brands tend to run small or big, which have a bit more stretch in their clothing, and so much more. This knowledge showed in our appointment.

With this experience, I still went up a size in one of the sweaters simply because I loved how it looked oversized. Overall though, I have been looking for affordable pieces; under $50, for the fall since August and have struck out, but not this time. For once, I left a shopping experience with a huge smile on my face. I didn’t leave defeated or discouraged because I was set up for success and let me just say that even if I did leave with nothing purchased I still would have been happy. I believe this because this business concept is a unique one. It’s not often that this is actually an option for women that are plus-size. This Boss Babe has gotten it right, from the atmosphere to the physical stock, and I can’t wait to see the growth that this business deserves. 

If one thing stuck out the most about this experience it’s when we would try on something that was out of our comfort zone. Amy would be there telling us to make it our own and to not let the piece dictate the outfit, but to make it fit into our own personal style. Shanice found this amazing large pearl sweater that she thought was too feminine for her style, but Amy urged her to try it and with some (gorgeous) black thigh-high boots and jeans, Shanice absolutely rocked it. The bottom half of her outfit didn’t play up the femininity of the sweater, it instead balanced it.

This is a business I will continue to support because her heart is in the right place and her business’ mission aligns perfectly with who she is. Yes, I am laying it on thick, but man was I impressed. If you are in Charlotte I highly suggest you checking her out as she has a few events coming up that I’ll list below as well as linking. Worthy Figures attends events, does personal shopping/ styling, and does personal appointments. Even if you find something you love, but aren’t sure she’ll hold it and invoice you for later to ensure you want it. She’s accommodating, professional, and relatable.

This post shares a small sneak peek into what I bought and what she has available. I have always loved supporting local businesses, so I was so excited to write this post. Have a business you want me to check out in Charlotte for my “Supporting Local” posts? Send me a message or leave me a comment. This first Supporting Local post was a big win in my books and I can’t wait to continue finding businesses I fall in love with.

Worthy Figure’s Facebook with event dates are linked to the picture to the right. Make sure you subscribe to blog so you don’t miss a post and follow me on Instagram! As always, thank you for stopping by and supporting All Things Alicia! I’ll see you guys next time. xx Alicia