Congratulations to the latest MWBC Shop Local Retail Incubator program cohort, which graduated on June 30, 2023. Throughout the program, these local, women-owned businesses explored the nuances of brick and mortar sales as they operated their retail enterprises out of MWBC Shop Local, located in Rockville Town Square. While running their businesses, these women entrepreneurs received incredible amounts of free support to help grow their business and their entrepreneurial skills, including:

  • valuable business training
  • coaching and guidance from MWBC business consultants 
  • sales and business growth strategies
  • networking opportunities
  • access to investors, and in some cases, working capital in the form of a loan or grant from local resources
  • recognition and marketing from MWBC and its partners.

We’re proud to have been an integral part of their entrepreneurial journey and wish them continued success. Four retailers shared some of the advantages and business skills they learned as well as what’s next for their businesses after grauation:

Acid Jayne Design
Owner: Carly 

Participating in the MWBC Shop Local Retail Business Incubator was essential for the growth of Acid Jayne. I was able to get feedback and information from customers in real-time, allowing me to respond to the market quickly and directly. I also learned how to create formal systems for inventory, bookkeeping/taxes, and ordering, which helped organize my business. Being physically present in the shop allowed me to observe customer habits, including how people move around displays, read signage and packaging, and ask product questions.

My experience at MWBC Shop Local has been invaluable to me and my business. The best aspect of my participation was a huge growth in confidence and commitment artistically and creatively. 

Acid Jayne items will be available anytime online on our website and Etsy shop, with new products and features being added all the time! You can also find me at local markets and fairs, on Instagram, and, hopefully, back in-person soon at consignment shops or another physical location. I am so grateful that I was able to be involved in such an important and life-changing program.

Etsy Shop:
IG: @acidjayne


Image: ACB Precision Focus

Fully Bloomed
Owner: Distinee

Being part of the MWBC Shop Local Retail Business Incubator has been immensely beneficial for my business growth! The program has provided invaluable support, resources, and opportunities that have positively impacted my business in several ways. The comprehensive approach has empowered me to scale my business, reach new customers, and build a strong brand presence in the local market. Some key skills that I learned were visual merchandising, customer relationship management, and marketing and product promotion. Running a retail storefront requires the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and find creative solutions to unforeseen challenges, such as addressing customer concerns, managing unexpected inventory issues, and handling various operational obstacles. 

My plans and goals after graduation include building a stronger e-commerce platform to allow customers to purchase products online and expand my reach beyond the physical storefront integration; developing more strategic partnerships with complementary businesses or organizations; and continuing my personal and professional development to refine my skills, explore new business ideas, and stay ahead in the ever-evolving retail landscape. I believe these strategies will help me take my business to new heights. I’m so thankful for the connections and skills developed through MWBC Shop Local!


Image: ACB Precision Focus

Owner: Beth

Being a part of the MWBC Shop Local Retail Business incubator has afforded my company the incredible opportunity to increase product visibility, create joint ventures with niche markets, and meet/interact with community and financial leaders for the mutual benefit of building supportive relationships. Participating in the monthly mini “MBA” classes taught me how to build and grow a business, how to minimize liabilities, protect assets, and gain financial independence, and how to move our business from a one-person shop into a one that can thrive without us.

MWBC Shop Local provided me with a beautiful, short-term retail space to display my sustainable and eclectic home goods and personal wares, which increased my confidence in a permanent retail environment. I also have a clearer focus on how to use my social media for the benefit of my business.

As for what’s next, I’m in discussions with other women business owners on the possibility of a shared space, and plans for a permanent location for the holidays is in the works. I’m very appreciative of MWBC Shop Local and Martha Jimenez for the opportunities provided to me and my company. 


Image: ACB Precision Focus

La Magnoliah
Owner: Coumba

Being part of the MWBC Shop Local Retail Incubator program has allowed me to experience operating my business in a physical store and interacting with customers—a passion of mine. Using my new digital marketing skills, I established a more robust marketing strategy, especially using social media and email. I developed a social media posting calendar and worked on content to create a better presence on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, which has increased my followers. With the customer base I built while in the store, I successfully set up an email list to attract and retain customers and collect customer data that helps me gain insights into customer behavior, preferences to refine my target audience, and gauge the success of marketing messages.

I’ve learned to leverage POS technology for more efficient transactions and implemented an inventory management system to accurately maintain inventory records. I also implemented customer feedback systems to address concerns and improve product satisfaction. 

Moving forward, I’m excited to showcase my products at Pam K. Bambini, a children’s clothing boutique in D.C. I’m exploring partnerships with Yinibini, another clothing boutique, and Analog, a handmade and vintage store. My goal is to launch my own store front in January 2025. I’ve also been approved by Creote and Faire, two B2B online platforms to sell my products on a bigger scale for more online traction.


Image: ACB Precision Focus


Also Graduating from MWBC Shop Local:

JoNa’s Exterior Design
Owner: Kelly

JoNa’s Exterior Design offers all-weather, luxury poly outdoor furniture to residential and commercial customers in and around the state of Maryland. Our seamless purchasing experience includes design services, order placement, regular communication, inspection, assembly, and White Glove Delivery. 

IG: @jonaexteriordesign


Image: ACB Precision Focus
Owner: Diana offers bohemian-inspired hand-crafted products that add a unique touch to my customers’ homes and everyday lives. I’m passionate about using the highest quality materials and partnering with ethical companies to provide the best products, made with lots of love and gratitude.


Image: ACB Precision Focus

We look forward to welcoming a new cohort later this month. You can follow all of MWBC’s Shop Local activities on Instagram