SHOP & TELL: FEMINIST SPEAKEASY
Hello world, hello lovely readers! Can you believe we’re quickly approaching Christmas? Well, to help you prepare for the season of giving, I bring you yet another entry to my Shop & Tell series. Today I am overjoyed to share this special feature from one of my favorite Internet cousins and Intersectional Feminists, Dasha Guyton.
Dasha is the blogger and stylist behind body-positive fashion and lifestyle blog Windy City Wardrobe, as well as the founder & curator of Feminist Speakeasy. We actually met a couple years ago via Instagram and immediately connected over our love for fashion, feminism and most importantly - using retro lunch tins as purses.
Over time we developed a lovely relationship and when Dasha reached out to let me know she was preparing to launch a new and special endeavor I was beyond elated and on the edge of my seat, patiently awaiting it’s launch. Dasha is highly creative and possesses an impeccable work ethic that comes out in everything she does. I knew whatever she was up to would follow suit and in the Spring her new shop Feminist Speakeasy was launched.
Everything from the Instagram launch to the website felt fun and empowering! The shop carried so many cute goodies and my first purchase was the coveted Intersectional Feminist tee which I adore so much. Now, I could go on and on telling you all about her new venture but that wouldn’t be fun so let’s switch gears from all my chatting to hear directly from Dasha on her new and empowering business!
REMEMBER, "NEVER KISS & TELL BUT #DOSHOPANDTELL!”
"Being conscious of others and their unique struggles will likely only make us more empathetic and understanding as a whole... " ~Dasha
Can you start off by sharing the story of how you got started with your business and the meaning behind the name?
Feminist Speakeasy is an intersectional gift shop, pop-up shop, and hideaway for people in desperate need of a hideaway from the patriarchy. It was founded on International Women's Day (March 8, 2018) as a way to channel outrage at sexism, Trump’s America, and Britain’s Brexit into something positive. Here we believe that real change can only happen when we all come together to dismantle racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, ableism, and classism. Whether you're looking for feminist-friendly events, tips on surviving a sexist office culture, or a place to get the perfect gift for the fierce feminist is your life-Feminist Speakeasy is the spot for you. We accomplish this through our blog, social media, and Feminist Event Agenda.
I adore my Intersectional Feminist tee so much. What inspired you to curate that particular design?
While I was stocking the shop I had a really hard time finding designers that were working on inclusive illustrations but eventually, I stumbled upon Cheyanne Salmon and she had exactly what I was looking for. Her Intersectional Feminist design includes women, men, people of different colors, and different faiths so it was love at first sight.
While pursuing my degree in Women’s Studies (many years ago) I focused heavily on the theory of intersectionality. Recently, I’ve noticed a rise in the use of the term and this also seems to be a prevalent theme in your work & designs. Can you share a bit more about the concept of intersectionality and feminism and why it’s important to you?
In a world where police brutality and violence towards Black women and Transgender folks is on the rise, intersectional feminism is more important than ever. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “intersectionality,” it’s the notion that oppressions intersect to create compounded, complex experiences of discrimination. In short, intersectional feminism recognizes that patriarchy affects all women differently, leaving some further behind than others. For example, a woman of color might experience both racism and sexism, along with a blend of the two that is unique within either. It’s something that applies to tons of people, but it’s not addressed nearly as much as it should be. Too often, we hear that racism and ableism and classicism and homophobia and transphobia and ageism and xenophobia are not feminist issues — but if an issue is something that affects women, then it should be considered one. Being conscious of others and their unique struggles will likely only make us more empathetic and understanding as a whole and will, in fact, better help us eradicate prejudice in the long run. Rather than handling bigotry one type at a time — which can ultimately pit allies against one another — we should be working towards equality for everyone.
Identifying as a Feminist can often be seen as negative. What are your thoughts on that and how do you think we can shift that perception?
I knew the perception of Feminists getting into this business and that's played a part in choosing bright colors and a happy tone as a way to break the ice. I often meet women who feel it's improper to publically announce their identity as a Feminist for fear of being perceived as a difficult person. I've even overheard women say, "oh that stuff is cute but no I don't want to stop at their table because I would never be bold enough to wear any of that stuff in public." This kind of comment makes me sad because so many people truly believe they don't have the right to fight for equal rights. Identifying as a feminist simply means you believe in the pursuit of economic, political, personal, and social equality of the sexes. The only thing that can be done to shift the perception is for more people to stop hiding and publicly live their lives as Feminists. Maybe then people won't think of loud, angry, man-hating women because newsflash many men identify as Feminists too.
What keeps you motivated in your very new business?
The internet can be a noisy place, especially for the continuing conversation about what Feminism really means and who is included in the dialogue. The idea that culture vultures will drown out inclusive Feminists keeps me motivated to do my part in advancing the movement and bridging the wage gap. Plus the good vibes from happy customers are contagious; there's nothing quite like having someone tell you they've worn their radical woman earrings every day since the day they purchased them.
What advice would you give to other women who may be looking to start their own business?
If you decide to do business under a name other than the name given to you at birth you must register the name. Filing for a DBA (doing business as license) is a crucial step because if you put it off, you may find out later that someone already has the rights to that name and you have to start over with a new one. Once you cross that hurdle, define your business, your brand and commit to it – everything you do should be consistent with your business’s identity. You simply cannot be all things to all people. Branding is a great way to stay consistent, so pick your colors, fonts, and voice then weave these elements together in a branding tool like Canva or Crello.
How do you use social media & digital platforms to drive awareness about your business? Do you have a favorite social media platform? If so can you tell us what that is and why?
I used Instagram and Facebook as a way to tease my brand on a daily countdown before we launched. In doing this, I was able to build a community without paying for ads and I believe this is why we sold out of many products as soon as our Shopify shop went live. I love Facebook because it converts to sells the best, but I also love Instagram because it's great for connecting with customers because they're more likely to post there once they get their Feminist flair in the mail or at a pop-up shop.
Last but not least, can you share something about yourself/ your business that's not on your About page.
I'm a comic reading, cosplaying, robot building, don't go anywhere without a book kind of nerd who has worn many professional hats over the years. So far I've been a film developer, photo editor, cashier, concierge, football referee, store manager, certified bra fitter, juvenile detention officer, social services specialist, child support specialist, case manager for the developmentally disabled, wardrobe stylist, and freelance writer.
A huge thank you to Dasha for sharing her story and insights with us. As a special gift, Dasha has offered all my readers $5.00 off your first purchase (no minimum purchase amount required) using the code krystledesantos or you can just follow this link https://feministspeakeasy.com/discount/krystledesantos and the promo will be automatically applied. Currently there is free shipping in the US until Christmas Eve, so run to the site now!