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