Whimsy Market in Leesburg, Florida helps women shoppers and sellers

Hundreds of women lined the entrance to the Venetian Center last Thursday as more than 40 local women-owned small businesses gathered for a Girls Night Out event hosted by Whimsy Market creators Erica Rew, Nikki Anderson and Sheena Willis. The event made headlines on social media, leaving the community wondering when the next one will be.

“The turnout was overwhelming and incredible,” Rew said. “The promotional bags really attract people, but we never imagined that we would have so many people. The support is great for these local businesses.

Women line up to take part in the Girls Night Out Whimsy Market event at the Venetian Center in Leesburg.

The three friends launched Whimsy Market after each experiencing market difficulties with their own small businesses.

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“Honestly, small businesses need good markets to survive and we just weren’t getting that,” Rew said. “Especially during Covid, when all the markets were closed, it was so hard on small businesses.”

Women look at offerings from local women-owned vendors at Girls Night Out Whimsy Market at the Venetian Center in Leesburg.

Whimsy Market aims to create a unique shopping experience for buyers and sellers. The motto is “to give small businesses the love and support they deserve”.

Their first market was launched in October. The Girls Night Out market was their sixth to date.

“The first one was definitely our biggest but all went really well,” Rew said. “I’m pretty sure we’re at full capacity here tonight.”

Local women-owned vendors displayed products such as homemade fudge, jewelry, tumblers, t-shirts, books, plants, food and more.

“It was a great idea and it’s good to have additional sales for the summer because they’re usually slower,” said Talia Stewart of Florida Grazing. “We’re a relatively new deli business and really enjoy networking and getting to know people.”

Likewise, Lexi Matias of MIRNO Forever was grateful for the opportunity to share how her company is giving back.

A woman smells homemade items at Girls Night Out Whimsy Market at the Venetian Center in Leesburg.

“I make clay earrings and other handmade items, but what’s unique is that we buy a tree to plant with every order we receive,” Matias said. “We are a small company but we have already planted around 140 trees, which is pretty cool. Plus, we donate all proceeds from our PRIDE jewelry. Whimsy Market does an amazing job of making it a fun experience for everyone.

When the girls aren’t shopping, Rew goes online to her Facebook group, Whimsy Waffle, where she showcases these small local businesses. To learn more, visit www.facebook.com/whimsymarketfl.

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