SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — The Women’s Economic Ventures annual celebration of small business has launched a Virtual Shop Local Market to safely bring shoppers to local small businesses this holiday season.
The marketplace features more than 50 women-owned and minority-owned small businesses who are part of the WEV community.
The 26-day shopping portal will be open online until December 13th.
This year, holiday shopping is expected to start earlier, generate more online purchasing activity, and focus on non-traditional gifts for home, health, and beauty.
“Small business owners in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties need our community’s support this holiday season more than ever,” WEV CEO Kathy Odell said.
“Fourth quarter sales may determine which of our favorite local shops will survive into the new year.”
Local businesswoman Caleigh Hernandez is participating in WEV’s Virtual Shop Local Market.
“Shopping small and locally is so important, this year especially,” she said. “Consumers can buy unique, handmade and intentional gifts that support a community.”
Her passion for social change on the African continent led her to develop RoHo, offering one-of-a-kind Kenyan beaded leather sandals, bags, African beaded jewelry, Binga Baskets, and home goods.
Through her partnership with artisan groups across Kenya, RoHo creates consistent, fair paying work for their artisans, most of whom are women.
“We are grateful for our WEV community who has showed up and continues to support us during this challenging time,” Hernandez added.
Since 1991, WEV has provided business training and consulting to more than 17,500 women and men throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
The certified community development financial institution has made over $6 million in business loans and helped more than 5,000 local businesses start or expand.
WEV-supported businesses generate more than $300 million in annual sales revenues and have created nearly 9,400 local jobs.
The Virtual Shop Local Market can be accessed here.