In light of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, there feels like no better time to celebrate girl power. Harper & Tucker is a women's business - we are founded, owned, and run by and for women. Even our two namesake dogs are girls. In its very bones, this boutique has been celebrating feminism and all forms of female beauty since its birth, and we will take any reason to celebrate it!
Natalie and I both came from the business world in our early careers before we opened Harper & Tucker. There are many stark contrasts between small business ownership and the professional relationships you foster in that path versus the culture of a large corporate ladder, and one of my favorites has been the opportunity to work with (and befriend) so many entrepreneurial women. From showroom owners, to designers, to neighboring shop owners, to accountants, to photographers, we are surrounded by talented, powerful women. I'd like to take a moment in this blog to highlight just a handful of our favorite women-led businesses that we work with - I hope to introduce you to someone new that you fall in love with!
Kristen is our beloved neighbor on our little corner of Bellevue and we are in love with her shop. Her windows are a constant inspiration for us, and Natalie and I both drop in to buy ourselves a little something more often than we would like to admit! I honestly have never been in a more beautifully styled boutique, and every time I go in I am invigorated and inspired to bring more creative energy back to our own shop. If you are looking for your next brilliant piece of artwork, she is the woman to consult with, and she always has a spectacular selection of original pieces in her gallery. Kristen also curates the most special objects for the home - one of my personal favorites she introduced me to is Estelle Colored Glassware. These glasses are like jewels for your table; they make such a thoughtful, special gift - I pull mine out whenever I want my table to have an extra pop, or when I'm enjoying a glass of wine on my couch and want to feel ultra chic and indulgent. No need to fret if you are not a Newporter - she will ship her beauties to you!
We have carried Show Me Your Mumu since our very first launching collection, and I feel that they truly embody the happiest sort of girl power. Founded by best friends Cammy and Cologne, Mumu produces 80% of their clothing in the USA and employs over 80% women. They always say that their brand is more of a family, all about "girls supporting girls, and lifting each other up." My bestie Faith has worked at Mumu since we graduated college, so through her and because of working with Mumu through H&T, I have been lucky to get to know many of the women that have built this brand into the force that it is today. From the women who run the show rooms (Natalie and I get giddy to see them at our market appointments!), to the ladies at the LA HQ, we are always inspired by their energy, kind spirit, and positivity. Also importantly, their clothes are always FUN to wear, and encourage us to express our creativity and femininity. Who doesn't love that?!
We were lucky enough to meet Renee and Bernadette of Heydt + Mason just about a year ago, and Harper & Tucker's brand has been forever changed for the better. These babes are behind the flat lay images scattered across our website and social media (and at the beginning of this blog)! When we knew we wanted to upgrade our still-life images, we could not have been more thrilled to come across this fellow best friend team. The way they style images gives life to our clothing and our brand, and every time we get a new batch of creative from them we are blown away and re-inspired. Not only do these women have the artist's eye for imagery - they also understand our business and our brand and could not be more professional and lovely to work with. We know as Harper & Tucker continues to grow, we will be consulting with them regularly so that their keen eye and effortlessly cool photography has a major influence on our imagery. I would recommend any fellow business owners who need product photography or brand imagery done to call them for a consultation - not to mention, they are also professionals at interiors, content creation, and all types of design. Everything they touch bursts with crisp, clean, and vibrant energy.
Another woman who has single handedly transformed Harper & Tucker's imagery and brand is Maaike Bernstrom. All of our modeled photography is captured and edited by her, and we are in endless awe of her talent. If you need any kind of lifestyle photography done, CALL HER - all I can really say is that her work is magic. She alone has been able to translate the vision for our clothes and our brand into alive, breathtaking photos. She works with other local and international brands that make us feel incredibly humble to be her client, but she also does the most beautiful wedding, family, and portrait work. Shooting with Maaike is not only fun, but so inspiring, and always an ode to nature and light. She captures singular, candid moments that we often cannot even imagine as they are happening. Natalie and I are NOT models (to say the least), and in fact, no one that we feature in our shoots is, but Maaike has always made us feel comfortable, and brought out both our essence and the feeling of our clothing in photographs in a way that we did not believe was possible before we met her. We feel intensely lucky every time we are in front of her lense!
The Savory Grape is every wine lover's dream. When you visit, you may recognize Nicole from Harper & Tucker images - she is not only a wine connoisseur and entrepreneur, she's also my bff and kind enough to model with us in her very spare free time. In an industry that can be male dominated, it is so refreshing to have a uniquely feminine powered wine shop. Between the vast selection of wine, beer, and spirits, the beautiful space, and the always helpful and knowledgable team, The Savory Grape is a luxury experience. Nicole will always help you find what you are looking for (even if she has to order it special!), introduce you to new delicious favorites, and make the whole experience brimming with fun. The team will even bring out your order for curbside pickup to make your life easier during the pandemic. Stop in, browse the website, our call the shop the next time you need to re-stock your wine or liquor cabinet, I promise you'll be a life-long convert!
Molly Kirby of Kirby Properties was the first person who made the vision Harper & Tucker in Rhode Island a reality. When we called her about a retail space we saw available on Thames street in 2017, she quickly took us under her wing, showed us a space that was a better fit on Bellevue, and had us signed into a lease in our first storefront a week later (no joke). She quickly became Natalie and my first new friend in Newport, and introduced us to her sister Rory who also works with the business. 3 years later, they called me with a new opportunity - a corner storefront down the street that fit Harper & Tucker even more perfectly had opened up, and we were her first call. Once again, in almost no time, Molly had us signed and situated in the space of our dreams. Not to mention, Molly helped me find, buy and later sell a condo to trade up for my first house. If you need anything real estate in RI, call them - they know everyone in and everything about Newport, and will be your most prized resource when it comes to everything property in Rhode Island. They are always trying to find the perfect fit for each local business and the neighborhood - it's basically like a business version of matchmaking, with even more magic.
When I step back and reflect on it, I see Harper & Tucker has been almost exclusively influenced and raised up by women in business, and honestly, little makes me more proud than that. I am very aware that while this current moment is the best time in history to be a woman, there is still so much work to be done to empower women and girls everywhere. It's a small thing, but supporting women owned and run businesses matters. I know it matters to me and Natalie, and to every woman working tirelessly behind each of these businesses I mentioned. I encourage you to seek out and support as many women led businesses as you can in March in honor of Women's History Month, and to raise a glass in celebration of the women before us, and the path ahead that is ours to forge.