In today’s economy, there are more women-owned businesses than ever before. In the United States alone, there are 12.3 million women-owned businesses and 40% of US Businesses are women-owned. There has been a growing demand to support women-owned businesses. Here enters the company, HERMARKET. Founded by the duo, Kia and Jazlin, they have created a space to support these businesses. Founded in the heart of Atlanta, HERMARKET has assisted these companies by putting together pop-up shops and events in the community. We had an opportunity to interview these lovely ladies about HERMARKET and what it means to them.
How did you meet each other and what inspired you to create this business?
We both met at Nordstrom in 2012. Kia worked there as an employee and I was an intern. There was an instant connection so we formed a friendship and stayed in touch throughout the years. Kia started HERMARKET as a platform that shined a light on indie brands and wanted it to develop into a subscription box concept. Fast forward to 2018, we had a conversation about collaborating. From there, HERMARKET bloomed into markets, pop-up shops and most importantly a sisterhood of beautiful women who create amazing products! We both do a bit of it all. However, Kia’s main focus is the creative aspect of the brand and Jazlin focuses on brand development and strategy.
As a black-owned and woman-founded business, how do these two things influence your company and your mission as individuals?
Being 100% black and women-owned has fueled all of our decisions. We strive to give an equal amount of opportunities to both black-owned and women-owned businesses in general. These women are the reason we exist. Since we both are so engulfed in women-owned businesses, it definitely has trickled into our individual lives and the way we support businesses aside from HERMARKET.
Being entrepreneurs yourselves, how does this impact your view on how small businesses can empower communities?
Small businesses don’t understand the power that they have in the community! We try to create small intimate programming around The Working Woman Panel series to display the power of women in our community. From this panel, many conversations are started that can lead to change and empowerment.
How do you influence and impact the vendors and businesses that get in touch with you to support their communities? Does this come in ways like supporting black creatives, supporting young children who want to become entrepreneurs, etc.?
In addition to the markets and retail opportunities we provide, we also hire black creatives for various services. We’re also planning some community development programming that will benefit the youth in our communities.
As women who focus on building experiences that benefit women, how do you feel about supporting women-founded businesses to reach their full potential as your brand ethos and mission?
We strive to be the bridge between the brands and big-box retailers, buyers, and opportunities that they may not be able to afford. Our goal is to help them reach their full potential through educational materials and experiences. We would be doing ourselves a disservice by not helping each of our brands to reach their full potential. We try to support our vendors at markets and events that we aren’t directly associated with as well. Our vendors have become a little family, and we take our relationship with them very seriously.
As a team working together, is there a certain creative process that you go through to create these different events?
We are continuously researching and looking for inspiration. It usually just starts with a conversation about what we see as lacking in experiences and try to fill that void. We pay attention to the conversations and trends on social media around women and try to target that as well. We also challenge ourselves to bring an element of surprise to each experience for vendors and shoppers to make them feel connected. We’ve tried to have a set process but that usually doesn’t work for us.
Do you have a team language? Meaning is there certain ways that you communicate with each other and you both just click?
That’s an interesting question! We do not, but we’ve been friends for so long. Most of the time all we have to do is give each other a look and we know what the other person is thinking.
As business owners, is there a certain routine that each of you goes through to unwind relax and refresh for new ideas?
A trip to the spa for a massage is usually Kia’s go-to for relaxation and a glass of wine and a good tv show does it for Jazlin. When it’s time for us to brainstorm to come up with new ideas, we go to The Lola, a women-only members club, order food, and spend hours in our favorite room throwing ideas back and forth and strategizing!