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Pink Bow Tie co-owners Rebecca Bradley (left) and Claudia Parisien have created a buzz in Vankleek Hill with their campaign to support small businesses in the area.

‘Babes Supporting Babes’ movement boosts small business in Vankleek Hill

A Vankleek Hill retailer is creating a buzz with a campaign to support other small businesses in the community.

Pink Bow Tie started its ‘Babes’ Supporting Babes’ movement just last week, with clothing from its supplier Brunette The Label, whose products have been sold at the Vankleek Hill store for the past five years. The Vancouver-based clothing brand has a strong focus on the empowerment of women and features the popular line ‘Babes Supporting Babes’ as its motto. Pink Bow Tie has made the line the focus of its current campaign, using funds provided by sales of ‘Babes Supporting Babes’ products sold by Pink Bow Tie to shop at other retailers in Vankleek Hill.

“For every piece that we sell, we will commit to supporting another local business in return,” says Rebecca Bradley, who co-owns the business with partner Claudia Parisien. The pair came up with the plan for the campaign after the province announced the current lockdown for non-essential businesses two weeks ago.

“Now we’re in April and we’re on our third shutdown,” Bradley notes. “I just feel that every time there’s been a shutdown, we allow ourselves one day or one evening to cry and then the next morning we need to find solutions.”

Once the shock of the new lockdown had sunk in, Bradley and Parisien started to think about what they could do to encourage people in Vankleek Hill to support small businesses in the region. They wanted to remind residents that while it may be easier to shop online when local stores are closed, it is well worth it to make an extra effort to support businesses in the community, whose local owners are doing the best they can during the lockdown.

“A lot of the local businesses around here are still brick and mortar stores and they are making an effort to remain open,” explains Bradley. “We want to remind people to make an effort to shop local.”

The shop local campaign has already been embraced by shoppers and other local businesses. A number of female business owners and employees in Vankleek Hill have purchased ‘Babes Supporting Babes’ hoodies or t-shirts of their own and posted photos of them on the Pink Bow Tie Facebook page, and on their own business websites. In just a week, Pink Bow Tie has sold more than 60 pieces of ‘Babes Supporting Babes’ clothing.

“We’ve already received so many messages from women who love this and say they are discovering a lot of new local businesses that they didn’t even know about,” says Bradley. “I think we have the perfect community to be able to do this type of project.”

And of course for the two owners of Pink Bow Tie, there is a bit of a bonus that comes supporting other businesses in Vankleek Hill.

“Basically a few times a week we get to go shopping,” Bradley laughs, noting that most of their purchases have been done by phone or email. “So many local businesses offer free deliveries, so a lot of them are just bringing what we buy to the store directly.”

Reid Masson

Reid Masson is a graduate of Algonquin College's Journalism Program. He has over 20 years of experience as a staff writer and editor for various newspapers across Canada, including The Ottawa Citizen and Brockville Recorder and Times.

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