I have a very fun announcement (especially for those of you who live in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Detroit). There is going to be an event called The Mercantile which celebrates companies that have built it into their business plan to give back socially. Think: Toms, Cheeky, Warby Parker, Soma, Yoobi, but on a much smaller scale. The event isn’t a charity, nor is it for profit necessarily – but it’s the idea that through commerce we can celebrate a good cause and help build a community. It’s half shopping experience and half party.
I wish I could take credit for the idea but it wasn’t mine. Steve Fortunato (of Room Forty and The Fig House) and Matt Ford (founder of Oaken Anchor event production company and friend of Steve’s) brought the idea to me because they wanted help with the curation/vetting of vendors and the design of the booths.
After Nashville, the event will be in Detroit (October 16th) and Los Angeles (December 4th) and I’m hoping it gains momentum so that by the time it’s in LA it’s a HUGE shopping market (perfect timing for the holidays) and becomes a hot ticket in town.
The band that has signed on to perform at all three of them is The Shadowboxers who are AWESOME. Justin Timberlake produces them and even shows up to sing at their concerts sometimes (in LA, anyway).
To help promote the B-corps involved and thank them for being the kind of business that cares about bettering society, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite pieces from each company. And if you are interested in being part of The Mercantile (and you are a B-corp) please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking for a few more for Nashville and many more for Detroit and Los Angeles. The commitment is one day, where you bring lots of desirable product and there is no fee unlike other trade shows, instead a percentage of the sales goes to the house to cover costs.
Our hope is that these companies become more successful and that the causes that they give to benefit more and more. Our other hope is that more companies will become b-corps not just because giving back is the socially responsible thing to do, but because being a B-corp can actually help grow your business. Steve and Mat came up with the by-line, “Commerce, Cause, and Community.” And that really is it – it’s about having successful businesses while being able to give back. Win, win.
So here are the brands selling/being celebrated in Nashville:
Fashionkind sells women’s clothing and accessories, but I’m REALLY into their home decor (of course), like their Handmade Brass Mask, Moroccan Embroidered Pouf, and Peace Basket. I just bought this dress over the weekend (which was not cheap, but again, you know it supports a good business).
The Giving Keys:
The Giving Keys employs those transitioning out of homelessness by creating inspiring jewelry and apparel. I secretly really want their Best Friends Split Key Necklaces, except I’m one of those people who claim to have five best friends and that’s a lot of bling around my neck.
Some seriously high-quality shoes produced by makers who are extremely talented. Current favorites include: Ecuador Huarache Sandal in Bone and Oliver Oxford in Slate Grey, oh, and these. Those are so perfect.
Project 615 has tons of tee designs centering around their hometown Nashville, plus you can make custom gear too! I’m into their classic navy baseball cap and this Nashville Batman Onesie.
Roma Boots merges fashion with philanthropy to give poverty the “boot” through their rubber boot collection. Their mission is to bring impoverished children throughout the world hope, love, and lasting change through aid and education.
When they first brought the idea to me, I wanted to be involved so badly but my band-width to actually produce the event was ZERO this summer. So they have killed it pulling together the events and I’m so proud of them and excited to help be a part of the design and promotion of it. I’ll be at the one in LA, as I have a speaking engagement in Canada during the Nashville one, so please any Nashville Bloggers (or press or influencers) that want to go and give The Mercantile some social media love please email and let us know so we can get you in: email@example.com. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram: @themercantileevent.
We want to make this a huge event, with tons of people, sales, and fun. September 25th, 2pm – 8pm in Nashville at The Cannery. Purchase tickets here. And get even more info on The Mercantile Event here.