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Inaugural WOW EmpowerHer Market spotlights woman-owned small businesses in the DMV

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The 2023 season finale featured an important "first" for the Commanders as the team hosted its inaugural WOW EmpowerHer Market at FedExField. The opportunity to display and sell their respective products was both impactful and exciting for the nine woman-owned businesses selected for the event.

"As an African American woman business owner, it meant everything to be able to showcase my business and products to Commanders fans," said Monet Jackson, owner of customized apparel business Selfie Genes. "This was a moment I always imagined happening and I was so grateful to finally experience [it]."

The idea for the WOW EmpowerHer Market initiative developed through thoughtful collaboration and communication between the Commanders and members of Women of Washington (WOW), the team's designated program for connecting and empowering female fans. WOW entrepreneurs were hungry to build their businesses, and the Commanders were eager to continue expanding its efforts in the community as well as in the diversity, equity and inclusion space. From here, the EmpowerHer Market was born.

The nine businesses included in the January 7 event electrified SeatGeek Legends Plaza with an assortment of awesome items from jewelry and clothing to artwork and soaps. At the market, patrons were able to not only pick up a cool, interesting product but also had the chance to support folks with one-a-kind stories.

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"My business was started by my now 9-year-old son Tony who was born with congenital heart disease," said Tita Escobar, founder of custom merchandise shop TNT Kreations. "TNT stands for Tita (myself) and Tony. When you support my business, you're supporting me and my child's dreams."

The impact of events like the EmpowerHer Market cannot be understated. In establishing a presence at FedExField for the January 7 game, these businesses were exposed to tens of thousands of potential new customers.

"It allows us to reach a larger audience, potentially expanding our customer base and contributing to our growth and success," said Corinne O'Leary, founder of newly designed patented foot warm Cozy Feet.

After fostering connections with potential new customers, the list of positive effects put in motion by this type of initiative goes on, O'Leary explained.

"When folks support businesses like the CozyFeet, whether they are local, small-scale, or independently owned, they not only contribute to the livelihoods of the individuals behind those businesses but also invest in our overall community's prosperity. Supporting local businesses fosters a sense of community pride and strengthens the local economy," she said.

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"The money we spend at local establishments often circulates within the community, supporting other businesses, services, and initiatives. Small and local businesses are often major contributors to job creation, providing employment opportunities for residents and contributing to overall economic stability."

In addition to pushing forth community prosperity, WOW EmpowerHer Market type of moments are a win for ingenuity, creativity and the environment.

"Also, many local businesses offer unique products, services, and experiences that you may not find elsewhere. By supporting them, you're not only accessing distinctive offerings but also helping to preserve diversity and innovation in the marketplace. Supporting local businesses can also have environmental benefits since typically they have shorter supply chains, reducing transportation emissions and fostering sustainability."

The WOW EmpowerHer Market will not be a one-off boost as the team has plans to implement more experiences focused on uplifting female entrepreneurs in the DMV in the year ahead.

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