The first-ever Women-Led Wednesday, taking place this week, aims to promote women-owned small businesses while tying into a bigger goal.
Retail holidays along the lines of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are gaining increasing currency as both a marketing tool and a way to highlight broader business or cultural goals.
Another example that highlights both of those points pretty effectively is Women-Led Wednesday, a new campaign launching this week. The initiative, borne of the outdoors industry, encourages online shoppers to take a look at women-owned businesses.
The concept was spearheaded by Cassie Abel, the head of both Wild Rye Mountain Apparel and the marketing firm White Cloud Communication, who saw an opportunity to give fresh awareness to companies run by women, at a time when the issue is front of mind for many—in no small part because a record number of women were elected to serve in Congress this year.
Even with plenty of progress made in some parts of culture, there’s lots of room for more. Examples of the gender gap are prevalent throughout the working world, including in the association field. Concerns about fields excluding women are prevalent in the executive suite, in cybersecurity, in law firms, and even in terms of the presenters chosen at conferences. The issue has become serious enough that California recently passed a law requiring more board representation for women.
Abel characterized the new retail holiday as an opportunity for the public to show support to startups and small businesses that have seen success with women at the helm.
“Women-led Wednesday is about voting for women in leadership, and helping to grow female-led brands,” Abel told Powder magazine. “The goal is to lift. It’s not going to happen overnight, but supporting women-led brands financially is the quickest path to leveling the playing field.”
Founders of the many companies, such as Carrie Greener of the lifestyle brand Pappy & Co., noted that the retail holiday allowed for a mixture of mission and commerce.
“Women-Led Wednesday just makes so much sense,” Greener told Snews. “We have all these shopping holidays, so why not one with a real purpose. We’re excited to help empower other women by showing the potential that is out there.”
Jen Gurecki, the head of the outdoor equipment firm Coalition Snow, added that, beyond the opportunity to support businesses, it was an opportunity for consumers to make a statement.
“If you believe in the underpinnings of Women-Led Wednesday, this is a call to action,” she said. “Put your money where your mouth is.”