Monday, October 20, 2014

Celebrating Women's Small Business Month with Flirt Brooklyn

Patti at 586 5th Ave

Women owned businesses still only make up 30% of the total of small businesses in the US, but have grown by 59% since 1997 to 8.6 million today. Much of this growth is thanks to better access to training, resources and access to capital and contracts after the signing of the Women's Business Ownership Act of 1988 and the establishment of the Women Business Center program and the National Women's Business Council.

Flirt Brooklyn
You can go into many stores on our own 5th Avenue in Park Slope and see women entrepreneurs providing beautiful products, great service and training. One such store is Flirt Brooklyn. They have two warm and inviting stores, both, we are pleased to say, in the 5th Ave BID. So to celebrate Women's Small Business Month I visited Patti Gillstrap, one of the three women owners (also Seryn Potter and Heather Falcone), at the 586 5th Avenue near 16th Street where they also have a sewing studio; Home Ec.
Flirt Label Designs

Home Ec
The sewing studio is warm and cosy, there are boxes of samples, material and patterns. There is a bank of sewing machines and lots of space for cutting and designing. Flirt set up intentionally to only sell their own designs in the store, but so many talented designers walked through their door, they then expanded to sell their items too.

Private Classes
Patti showed me so many things that children and adults have made, starting with a basic skirt or bag and then over time building up to a more complex project with more layers, pockets, frills and buttons. You can sign up as a complete beginner and bring your own pattern and material or delve into the many patterns they have in the studio.

Princess Costume
Currently there is a special promotion where new students can spend 2 hours sewing  for $75 instead of the usual $90. This is a great opportunity to get those Halloween Costumes made! Classes are usually Wednesday to Saturday but email Flirt for more information.

Open Studio
Bags from simple to more complex
If you are already a competent sewer, there are open studio hours for $10 per hour. A great option if you just don't have the space to store or work on a machine at home. Also Patti is there if it all starts to go wrong!
Hats different materials

Shop Local
Flirt is the ideal place to shop local for Small Business Saturday on 29th November. Patti tells me they also hold wish lists, so go and choose some items, leave your long list and then send your Partner in to buy for the Holidays!

Flirt Brooklyn stores: 93 5th Ave near Park Place and 586 5th Ave between 16th and Prospect Ave.


- Joanna Tallantire

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful initiative to encourage women-owned businesses. It is also good to hear the number of these businesses is growing, though still only at 30 percent - surprising.