Wednesday, March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year, the day has also been set aside for A Day Without A Woman, a general strike during which women and their allies are taking action to support equity, justice and human rights for all women and gender-oppressed people.
And here in Milwaukee, a growing number of woman-owned businesses have gotten together to do a bit of both.
"As a female business owner, it’s much more difficult to consider not showing up for work," says Katie Rose, co-owner of Goodkind in Bay View. "So, in lieu of shutting down and not offering the services that we’re so proud of, and that we’ve worked so hard to get going, we’re taking the opportunity to rally together, to create awareness for female-owned businesses and do some good in the process."
The Lady Business initiative aims to generate funds for the Milwaukee Women’s Center (a part of Community Advocates) through the sale of goods and services during the day on Wednesday. Some businesses will host specials on Wednesday and all participating businesses have agreed to donate at least 10 percent of their earnings for the day to MWC.
The growing list of Lady Business participants currently includes:
Bars & restaurants
- Blackbird Bar, 3007 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., will donate 20 percent of sales.
- Burnhearts, 2599 S. Logan Ave., will tap woman-owned New Glarus Brewery's Cabin Fever and serve a special cocktail with Appleton Estate rum, a spirit blessed by the rum industry's first female blender, Joy Spence. Proceeds from both drinks will be donated to MWC.
- Cafe Corazon (Riverwest and Bay View) will donate a percentage of sales.
- Cafe LuLu, 2265 S. Howell Ave., will donate all profits from the sale of the Pacific Rim Roasted Pork Loin Salad (a Cam & Sarah/LuLu original creation) and the Thai Garden cocktail made with female-distiller-owned Hangar 1 Kaffir Lime vodka.
- Classic Slice, 2797 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. will donate 20 percent of all sales to MWC.
- Goodkind, 2475 S. Wentworth Ave., will offer a special kegged rose petal gin & tonic using gin donated by Great Northern Distillery with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the MWC.
- Hello Falafel, 2301 S. Howell Ave., will donate 10 percent of sales.
- Honeypie, 2643 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., will host a tap takeover featuring all women-led breweries. Customers will get $1 off taps if they wear the color red. In addition, 20 percent of the entire day's sales will be donated to the MWC.
- Lazy Susan, 2378 S. Howell Ave. will donate 10 percent of proceeds from its special date night dinner for two menu with dishes inspired by female chefs.
- The National Cafe, 839 W. National Ave., will donate 10 percent of sales.
- Odd Duck, 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., will donate 10 percent of sales.
- Palomino, 2491 S. Superior St., will host a tap takeover featuring all women-led breweries. Customers will get $1 off taps if they wear red. In addition, 20 percent of the entire day's sales will be donated to the Milwaukee Women's Center.
- The Roman Coin, 1004 E. Brady St., will feature three rounds of trivia focused on women's health, intelligence and courage. It will donate $1 from each Spotted Cow or Cabin Fever sold. Wear red and you'll get a 50th anniversary Roman Coin red mug.
- The Ruby Tap (Wauwatosa and Mequon) will accept donations for the MWC all week long. It will also donate 10 percent of profits from March 8 from both locations.
- Sugar Maple, 441 E. Lincoln Ave., will donate a percentage of its earnings. It will also feature special brews from female brewers.
- The Tandem, 1848 W. Fond du Lac Ave., will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from every order of hush puppies sold.
Retail and other
- Alive and Fine (vintage shop), 2652 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., will donate 30 percent of sales.
- Barre District, 2121 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., will donate 50 percent of sales.
- From Milwaukee with Love* will host a T-shirt sale through March 10 during which $5 from every From Milwaukee with Love tee sold will go to support the MWC.
- Ginger Snaps MKE Photographaphy will donate 50 percent of the profits from mini-sessions scheduled on March 8.
- Healium Hot Yoga, 2475 S. Howell Ave., will have a special sale class package from March 7 to 9, and 15 percent of sales of that package will be donated.
- Nail Bar Milwaukee, 2580 N. Downer Ave., will donate 10 percent of sales.
- Nourish Massage, Bodywork & Skin Therapies, 1301 N. Astor St., suite 26, will donate 10 percent of all services and retail sold.
- Olson House (home goods), 4326 N. Oakland Ave., will donate 15 percent of sales.
- Orchid Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, 2120 E. Rusk Ave., will donate 20 percent of sales.
- South Shore Gallery & Framing, 2627 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
- Stag Barbershop, 3064 S. Delaware Ave., will donate 10 percent of total service sales (haircuts, shaves, shoe shines, beard trims) and 10 percent of total retail sales for the day.
- Waxwing, 1800 E. North Ave., will donate 15 percent of all sales.
- Wild Haven Fiber Company, 2658 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., will donate 10 percent of sales.
More to consider
- Wear red. It's a color symbolizing love, revolution, energy and sacrifice, and it will put your stance in solidarity with the cause.
- Spread the word about the businesses you're supporting by using #ladybusinessmke on social media.
- You can maximize your impact by visiting a number of participating businesses over the course of the evening during the Wassailing Witches Event. More information is available on Facebook.
- Consider participating in the #GrabYourWallet boycott, which includes retailers that do direct business with the Trump family. Here's more information and a list of the corporations to boycott.
- Additional businesses are being added faster than we can keep up. So, keep checking the Lady Business event on Facebook for additions to the March 8 fund-raiser.
Milwaukeeans are also urged to make donations directly to the Milwaukee Women’s Center, which can be accomplished online. Please mention "Lady Business" in your donation comments so that your donation is counted among the March 8 effort.
*Full disclosure: The author of this article owns From Milwaukee with Love, a participating business.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.