Small businesses took a major hit at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, but the communities surrounding them joined forces to support their local entrepreneurs. The fight is not yet over to recuperate local hidden gems, but a new experience with NTWRK and AMEX is helping to uplift independently owned brands and labels. Called the Shop Small Initiative, NTWRK teamed up with AMEX and its ‘Let’s Go Shop Small’ summer campaign and enlisted the help of three prominent streetwear designers — Telsha Anderson of T.A., Rhude’s Rhuigi Villaseñor and jewelry designer Melody Ehsani — to create exclusive merchandise with their favorite small businesses across the country that will be available exclusively on the NTWRK app.
Representing the East Coast, Anderson collaborated with Shannon Maldonado, owner of the Philadelphia-based design shop Yowie. The multi-functioning boutique is known for its eclectic art pieces, and the two creatives designing an abstract resin sculpture was only natural. The resin figure features a woman’s hand holding a stem of grapes; the hand serves as representation of the duo’s collaborative effort and the grapes symbolize the fruits of their success. With varying shades of blue tones and a vibrant green, the symbolic statue serves as a perfect statement piece in home decor.
Straying away from home goods and heading to the west cost, both Villaseñor and Ehsani chose small businesses located in Los Angeles. Villaseñor worked with French bistro Petit Trois le Valley to design a signature hat. Ehsani was on a similar wavelength of creating accessories, and produced a vibrant collection featuring a tote bag, silk bandana and fleece set and socks with L.A.-based floral and coffee shop, Bloom and Plume.
Both the apparel and accessories in the campaign will be available exclusively on the NTWRK app and website before a limited edition release at the locations of the small businesses. Shopping these selections not only directly supports small businesses owners but can also help inject $27 billion USD into the national economy.
Leading the pack, Telsha Anderson and Yowie’s sculpture drops August 20, followed by Melody’s wide range of accessories on August 21. Rhuigi Villaseñor and Petit Trois le Valley’s exclusive hat will be available on August 22. Download the NTWRK app to shop the selection before they’re available at their respective stores.