In times of stress, we can all use a little retail therapy. And, thanks to the Alexandria Makers Market—founded by Alyssa Kovach of A|VA Apparel in November 2019—you can get your shopping fix this month during the global pandemic, and even support local businesses too.
Throughout all of June, local makers, artisans and business owners of the Alexandria Makers Market are coming together to offer at-home shoppers the chance to purchase unique products online, in partnership with Port City Brewing through a summer pop-up.
Here’s how it works: Each week in June, various creatives will feature their items, ranging from makeup bags to soy candles, on the virtual portal. Then, once shoppers have selected the goods they’re most interested in, they’ll head to Port City Brewing for contactless pickup on a designated day.
In week three and four, expect the chance to purchase homemade keychains, artwork from Meg Biram, one-of-a-kind pottery and more. For more information on the participating local artists and pickup times, click here.
For more style-related events happening this summer, subscribe to our Shopping e-newsletter.
There’s a certain thrum of energy that comes from a local Founding Farmers dining room. Especially on a weekend for brunch, the hustle and bustle of the popular restaurant chain is a welcome space for patrons in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 began, that energy has yet to return to the dining rooms, but that’s not slowing the company down.
To help move the business forward in a direction that provides “everyone in our communities with food, drink, and the provisions needed to stay healthy, happy, and well-fed,” according to the website, Founding Farmers Market & Grocery launched in April.
In NoVA, both the Reston and Tysons restaurant locations are now offering a lengthy list of items bound to compete with your grocery store favorites, ranging from pre-prepared meals to everyday staples.
Pre-packaged single meals such as beef brisket with macaroni and cheese and collard greens are perfect for one-person homes during the pandemic, whereas family-style meals like pizza and 16-piece fried chicken dinners (with sides, too) are great for houses packed with their social distancing clan.
When ordering online, you can also find deli meat and cheese, freshly baked breads, salads and dressings, homemade pastas and sauces, breakfast pastries, snacks, produce, dairy items, alcoholic beverages (wine, beer, spiked seltzer, you name it) and so much more.
The company has launched the program making and packaging over 500 items daily, so chances are, you’ll find what you’re looking for, and avoid that long line at the grocery store.
Plus, if you have any additional wellness needs, Founding Farmers has partnered with Apothékary to offer plant-based medicines and products from Every Day Optimal, the leading supplier of USA-made CBD oil products.
To get your order, you have the choice of contactless pickup or local delivery for $6.99, and a guarantee that a staff member will safely wave at you through the window to ensure everyone maintains the proper distance.
And, if you are all stocked up on groceries but just simply miss the meals at Founding Farmers, the restaurant’s full menu is still available to-go, minus the dining room atmosphere (at least for now).
Hungry for more? Subscribe to our weekly Food newsletter for more local updates on restaurants, businesses and more during COVID-19.
While the holiday season is a about eight months away, the District-based Heurich House Museum has decided that, as COVID-19 continues to spread, the DMV region could use a little holiday cheer this spring. That’s why the centuries-old museum has planned Christkindlmarkt in April, a weeklong, German-style Christmas market featuring products from 26 local makers. The best part? You can browse through it all while in your pajamas.
Of the 26 currently confirmed vendors taking part in the virtual market, five hail from Northern Virginia, giving you the chance to support local creatives who make our region so special. Whether you’re searching for art to add to your new home-office space or a well-crafted journal to hold your thoughts, these artisans have something for you.
From her home studio in Fredericksburg, jeweler Cindy Liebel bends, molds and designs metal into contemporary statement pieces like necklaces, earrings and bracelets. This spring, she’s added several new pieces—made of solid gold and ethically sourced gemstones—to her geometric-inspired Axiom collection, all of which will be for sale at the upcoming market. In addition to this month’s market, Liebel has been very active virtually during the coronavirus, answering questions, showcasing sale items and even selling sample designs that did not make it into her new collections, mostly through Instagram.
As a self-described folk artist, Sterling-based Marni Manning has an eye for the unique. Using travel, nature and folktales as inspiration, she watercolors murals, signs, paintings, wall art and more. As a result of the pandemic, Manning has created Quarantine Coloring Pages for aspiring artists to doodle in the lines, as well as Instagram live demos for kids and adults to take part in. As part of the virtual market, Manning will be selling watercolor kits, as well as original prints featuring spring flowers, children’s cartoon characters and so much more.
Katie Wagner is a book conservator at the Smithsonian Institute by day, and an experienced bookbinder by night. From her home studio in Alexandria, Wagner is able to transform her affinity for books to a talent, creating unique, handbound books from upcycled materials. In the past, she has created a floral-printed recipe journal, a pocket-sized travel journal, a children’s diary made of Legos and so much more.
Alexandria-based Old Town Suds started with the founder’s desire to create eco-friendly detergent, free of dangerous chemicals. That was in 2011. Today, the company’s specialty is homemade soap bars, consisting of ingredients like chocolate, beer and even wine, which are typically sold at farmers markets throughout the region. In addition to soap, products include a hydrating chocolate face mask, lip balm and yoga mat cleaner.
Owned and operated by mother-daughter duo Neslihan and Ezgi Kaya, Seyyah is a jewelry company inspired by global travels and Turkish roots. Ezgi designs and creates each bold statement necklace or pair of earrings in Alexandria, while her mother lives in Turkey, operating a small studio across the world. As part of the Christkindmarkt, Ezgi will be debuting the third edition of Kamuran, one of the company’s bestselling items, as well as new seasonal earrings.
The online affair will begin Saturday, April 18, continuing through Sunday, April 26. To receive the link into the market as soon as it opens, input your email here.
On March 23, Gov. Ralph Northam announced an executive order banning gatherings of more than 10 people, ultimately altering the daily operations of thousands of businesses throughout the region. While some organizations were permitted to stay open as essential stopping points for local residents, others were deemed nonessential, forcing them to close their doors. But what happens when your business has no doors?
For farmers markets throughout the region, answering that question has been the most difficult part of adapting to the coronavirus threat.
“It’s been a process to work with authorities and keep markets open, as it wasn’t explicitly stated that we [farmers markets] were essential in Virginia,” says Hugo Mogollon, executive director of Freshfarm, a nonprofit organization consisting of 16 markets throughout the DMV. “We firmly believe that farmers markets should be open, but they tend to be seen as an amenity and not what they actually are, which is a food market.”
Though markets in the District and Maryland were immediately considered essential businesses when COVID-19 began to pose a threat to the region, Virginia’s markets were forced to shut down for a brief period. Industry leaders have since worked with local government entities to instill regulation that keeps residents safe, while still giving them access to locally grown, fresh produce.
Now more than two weeks after the executive order was officially put in place, markets are starting to get their footing on the new reality, which consists of pre-bagged food options from various vendors of the DMV, pickup locations and drop-off services, instead of the former process of browsing hundreds of choices with neighbors and friends by your side. While these services keep many markets and farms from shutting down, it can create a divide in the public’s general ability to access food, according to Mogollon.
“Working with farmers is a challenge because every single farm and every market is different—and now not everyone can make an online platform or receive preorders,” says Mogollon. “On the other side of that, we have so much food coming from everywhere. The problem is getting it to people. The adaptations are making it hard for some people to get food and that can be dangerous.”
A post shared by FRESHFARM (@freshfarmdc) on Apr 6, 2020 at 9:19am PDT
Late spring and early summer is when the majority of farms across the country are at the peak of their growing seasons and the height of their revenue streams, yet with the effects of the coronavirus continuing to linger, that norm is being threatened. Russell Shlagel, is already preparing for a change of pace at his farm in Waldorf, Maryland, which sources the Del Ray Farmers Market regularly.
“We do a tremendous pick-your-own business on the weekends starting in May, with the bulk of our customers coming from NoVA,” says Shlagel. “I’m sure people will be hesitant to pick their own, so we are gearing up to offer a lot more pre-picked strawberries than we normally do, and we are setting up a drive-thru situation for the first time.”
According to Shlagel, the wholesale component of his business is “nonexistent right now” too, as restaurants continue to temporarily close and grocery stores shy away from locally sourced products. Despite that though, he remains optimistic for both his business and the state of the nation as a whole.
“People are scared right now. And while I never thought I would see it in my lifetime, I know it will be OK,” says Shlagel. “I don’t know when it will all end, but I am hoping to enjoy a really good Fourth of July cookout with friends and family.”
Freshfarm is also looking ahead, with plans to create a subscription-based platform that will aggregate from all the farmers, giving a weekly bag of fruit and vegetables to families who cannot afford to purchase their own food right now.
“This just started and we will expand as more food starts to come in. That way, you know you’ll receive a bag every week,” says Mogollon. “If people don’t want to come to us, we will come to them.”
For a full list of local farmers markets currently open and offering delivery or pickup, click here.
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With three locations in the District, the retail initiative is able to house over 200 makers and nearly 5,000 products. Among those 200 vendors, 86% are women, and in honor of Women’s History Month, the initiative is celebrating with SHE DC, a monthlong, women’s-only installation.
As of March 1, the artists have set up shop across four locations—Dupont Circle, Georgetown, The Wharf and Canopy Hilton Embassy Row—presenting items like acrylic-painted wall art, letterpress prints, hand-stitched clothing, fused-glass dishes, photography and so much more.
To close out the city-wide affair, SHE DC will host a closing party for all makers and artist enthusiasts alike on Tuesday, March 24.
If you’re interested in finding out about the local talent presenting and selling their work this month, click here. // Dupont Circle: 1710 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC; Georgetown: 1533 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC; The Wharf: 10 District Square SW, Washington, DC; Canopy Hilton Embassy Row Hotel: 1600 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, DC
Proctor & Gamble are experiencing better than expected profits in every area…except the male grooming products section of Gillette, and few people should be surprised.
Before the Super Bowl, Gillette released an ad that insulted men with social justice/feminist based narratives about toxic masculinity. Even things such as wanting to talk to a pretty girl or boys wrestling in the yard were considered negative things that needed to be dealt with. Gillette finished the commercial by indicating that “some men” don’t do this and that we should all be like these “some.”
Needless to say, it didn’t go over well. Gillette received a well-deserved societal spanking for its sexism.
Now the numbers have come out, and Gillette seems to be the weakest link in P&G’s chain according to Market Watch:
The good news is that sales grew 5% organically—that is, without help from acquisitions or currency exchange—whereas the Street was looking for 3.7%. Products for skin, fabrics, and home led the way. But sales of grooming products, including Gillette, slipped 1%, continuing a long string of declines. Margins disappointed. The upside earnings surprise came from non-operating items, like a tax-rate change.
Gillette must have felt the burn before the earnings reports. It attempted a quiet, yet blatant, and very lazy walk-back of its toxic masculinity stance by attempting to make a United States soldier out to be a hero. The ad could have been considered even more insulting than the first.
As I wrote of their horrible attempt at damage control:
Overall, this video seems more like a lazy attempt to walk back their previous message without actively saying that’s what’s happening. They imagine that they can win men back by displaying a military man looking like he’s coming straight from a Backstreet Boys video shoot and getting a job, having kids, and being a soldier.
If the message is that men are actually important, then it’s not said. If it’s that soldiers are just like everyday men, they’re mum on it. It’s good they called a military man a hero, but beyond that, I’m not sure what the point here is.
Market Watch notes that this may be a grooming product problem overall due to the relaxation of workplaces and the emerging popularity of beards, as well as online brands such as Dollar Shave Club gaining larger footholds in the market.
“When Edgewell Personal Care (EPC), maker of Schick razors, reports quarterly financial results in May, investors will get a better idea of whether Gillette’s weakness is specific to the brand,” notes Market Watch.
However, the old saying “get woke, go broke” has repeatedly been shown to be an adage that businesses should pay attention to. Very few brands succeed after venturing into social justice territory, with one notable exception being Nike.