In 2019, there was a study documenting the fears that hinder the growth among the average female industrialist and her businesses. 

The reasoning behind this study was the idea that entrepreneurship is associated with a form of masculinity creating this theory that women entrepreneurs are inferior. The founders of Village Supply by HERMARKET, Jazlin Pitts and Kia Perry are defying the odds by using their entrepreneurial spirits to bridge the gap between womxn-owned brands and retail spaces that accept them for who they are. 

“Representation of womxn of color (WOC) has been very minimal in luxury retail. Since the civil unrest we’ve experienced in 2020, doors for WOC-owned businesses have been opening up, so we feel that now more than ever is our chance to bridge the gap between our community and the luxury market,” Perry explained. “WOC are the leading demographic in entrepreneurship, and we want to do whatever we can within the retail industry to amplify that.”

When finding inspiration for HERMARKET, both Perry and Pitts believed it would be an excellent idea to work with Buckhead Village to create a more permanent opportunity for local women-owned businesses within the Buckhead community. 

“Many people don’t know this, but Buckhead Village is special to us because it’s where we had our first pop-up shop in 2019,” Pitts explained when asked about their relationship with the neighborhood enclave. “The team believed in us and allowed us to start having sidewalk markets in 2020, which was an amazing opportunity during such a hard year. We understand what both parties bring to the table and are on the same page about wanting to give the community something fresh and exciting.”

Located between Warby Parker and Bella Cucina, the black-women-owned space will serve as a luxurious experience for women’s apparel, jewelry, accessories, home goods, skincare, body care, and wellness products. 

This idea derived from an everyday shopping experience at Ross locations. Pitts elaborated that their beauty section had various items within their beauty section that everyone has grown to love, but more attention should be brought to “smaller, indie brands.” 

We initially came up with an idea to do a subscription box, and that evolved into one large annual market which then evolved into what HERMARKET is today. It came from a passion to put these womxn and their brands on a platform and to create spaces for the womxn that love to shop the brands to reach them and for them to be discovered by a new market,” Pitts said. 

Not only are these two women becoming pioneers in the retail industry, but they are honing in on their entrepreneurial skills to become better businesswomen. They have created workshops that will be beneficial to any women looking to start a brand.

“Workshops are another way for our vendors to connect with the womxn who love them and to bring the community together,” Pitts emphasized. “It’s always nice for WOC to have space where there are other womxn who look like us.” 

They advise women of color looking to start a business by encouraging them to do the research first.

“There’s not much that hasn’t been done out there so make sure you’re not just putting product out there, but that you’re solving a problem and solving it with your spin on it,” Perry said. “Also, have a vision of where you want to go and look at brands that have been successful at getting where you want to be. See what they’re doing, who they’re connected with, what the quality of their product and branding looks like, and don’t copy, but take all of that into consideration when planning your brand. Lastly, invest in your brand. Don’t try to cut corners when it comes to the quality of how people will experience your brand. Invest in the necessary professionals and experts.” 

They encourage local womxn-owned businesses to be a part of their experience by applying on their website. Perry and Pitts hope to soon expand their audience to the digital side of things later this year. To visit in person, you can find them in Buckhead Village at 272 Buckhead Ave. NE.

Co-Founders Kia Perry and Jazlin Pitts (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jamestown)

Alexis Grace is a recent graduate of Clark Atlanta University and a current Graduate student at Agnes Scott College. During and after her time at CAU, she has worked and interned for several publications...