District entrepreneurs took advantage of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26 to show off their wares to new potential customers and to encourage residents and city leaders to support local businesses.
“I am really a supporter of Small Business Saturday,” said Amira Hikim, the owner of KittybyAmira, a high-end clothing concession that has become a part of the Southeast Washington’s Eastern Market neighborhood’s marketplace. “Customers are coming to my tent to make purchases. Small Business Saturday is a good way to get new business and new customers. This is a time for small businesses to get together and compete with the bigger chain stores for customers. This is a day just for us.”
Hikim, who has sold her wares at the Eastern Market marketplace for about 25 years, joined tens of thousands of small businesses in the District in utilizing the publicity that Small Business Saturday generates.
Small Business Saturday got its start in 2010 as a project of the American Express Company. The momentum for Small Business Saturday gained when the U.S. Congress passed a resolution supporting it in 2011. Presently, Small Business Saturday has joined Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday as days when consumers can impact the economy in specific ways.
District officials say there are 80,000 small businesses in the city. Government statistics reveal two out of every three jobs in the District are generated from small businesses.
Javon Davis presented his clothing line and business, Love More, at the Congress Heights Arts and Cultural Center located in Ward 8. Davis’s business participated in the Congress Heights Center as a pop-up, along with other small businesses in the Ward. He said Small Business Saturday can be a boon to neighborhood-based enterprises.
“I think it is a great idea to promote businesses from community, in the community,” Davis said. “But I don’t just sell clothes. I use clothes to start a Love More movement. We need more love in this community and people who disagree need to talk to each other.”
Davis said he wants to expand his business and would like the District government to help him do that.
“I would like to have an affordable space to be able to sell my clothes,” he said. “We could use a storefront. We don’t want to sell our clothes just online. And we would like to sell on days other than Saturdays.”
Dominque Cook, the owner of the Paradise Clothing Co., based in Ward 8, also had a pop-up at the Congress Heights Center. Cook said Small Business Saturday served as a unifying event.
“This is about everyone coming together,” Cook said. “We as business owners are promoting self-wealth and practicing unity.”
Cook said he would like the District government to help him promote his business “so I can become better known.”
“Right now, my marketing strategy consists largely of word of mouth,” Cook said. “I know I have to do more in order to get the work out about my product. That is where I need help.”