While out on assignment at Red’s Back Alley Market on Thursday, I took a moment to muse at the number of female entrepreneurs popping up in the area.
The market, organized via downtown shop Red’s Mercantile, had vendors selling products ranging from handmade clothing and jewelry to flower crowns. It was advertised as a venue to help Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival attendees curate their look for the weekend.
As light and aesthetically oriented as that sounds, I was impressed by all of the women there who decided to take a leap and run their own business. Most of the vendors present were women, including but not limited to Elizabeth de Cleyre with her business Cede; Sarah Hrudka Behlke and Lindsay Ulness of bridal design studio Linyage; and Sarah Willger of Token Jewelry.
The owner of Red’s Mercantile, Becca Cooke, started a grant program that helps women launch their own businesses. According to the Red Letter Grant’s website, women run only 31 percent of businesses in Wisconsin.
Considering that statistic, I was happy to see so many women representing their businesses at the market, and in Eau Claire overall. The market brought to mind the many other women entrepreneurs in our area, such as Melissa Wilson of natural beauty product business Melnaturel and Brittany Tainter of Giizhig Design Company.
I’m not the only one to admire the trend here.
While I interviewed de Cleyre about her garment line, another woman stopped by to take a look around. Before leaving, she smiled to herself and said, “Oh wow, look at all these young creative women out here.”