The women of Goddess Gifts Studio in Inglewood had long desired a space to showcase their handmade wares that was free of the exorbitant vendor fees they often encountered selling stuff at pop-up events, craft fairs and the like.
Sannae Hopson, of the natural skincare line Dame Body, had made a name for herself at these kinds of local events offering workshops, helping women of all skin tones to get beautiful inside and out, mixing consultation and customization into the marketing of her handmade beauty products. When her popularity grew, she decided to join Von “Elle” Watson, hosting their own women’s wellness events, which spotlighted the numerous local vendors they met along the way.
“We never had shelves to fill, so we were full of excitement and uncertainty. In the past, we hosted community events or private home parties,” says Hopson. “In 2020, Elle began looking for a space to rent to create a suite for women that specializes in handmade products, something that was rare in South L.A. After looking for a couple weeks, she found a cute office space in Downtown Inglewood on historic Market Street. It was perfect.”
In March 2020, Hopson and Watson, along with co-founder Fantajia Thomas, finally opened their new space, after designing the layout, purchasing fixtures, painting and stocking the shelves with a variety of merchandise from their circle of crafters and creators.
But only two weeks after opening their dreams were cut short. The first shutdown of small businesses was implemented in L.A. due to the pandemic, beginning a struggle that many local brick-and-mortar spaces are still dealing with today. The goddesses kept busy creating and making sure the space was safe as they adjusted their public shopping experience.
“Since COVID, we have operated by appointment only,” explains Watson. “This helps to control the number of bodies in the building, keep track of who’s coming in the space, and gives us time to clean and sanitize between clients. Curbside pick-up is also offered through our website.”
Operating during stay-at-home orders has been a challenge, but GG Studio got a boost at least, following the Black Lives Matter protests and the collective focus on supporting Black-owned businesses. This made a tough year a little bit better.
“In 2020, we definitely experienced an increase in supporting Black-owned/women-owned businesses due to the Black Lives Matter movement and concerted efforts to shop locally,” says Hopson. “Because we had systems in place, we were able to handle the influx of sales. We were so thankful for the outpour in support of our workspace/online platforms.”
In addition to their inviting, well-stocked Inglewood space (currently booking for small events with strict health & safety precautions in place) GG Studio ships products all across the U.S. and to some international locations, striving to provide excellent customer service and a personalized connection, which promotes sharing and connecting independent and handmade business models.
“Our philosophy is to create, make and sell locally,” adds Watson. “We offer a space to create your vision, make the products and provide a retail space to promote revenue. The vision for our collective work space is to help build and nurture women in a creative environment that allows them to thrive and find a new work/life balance.”
As their website touts, “each goddess specializes in a gift created by her mind, heart and hands.”
Check out a list of GG Studio vendors below and show your support.
I Love Juellez – LaVon “Elle” Watson’s handmade custom beaded jewelry. www.ilovejuellez.com
IROC Charms – Fantajia Thomas’ handmade one-of-a-kind glamorous earrings, bracelets and necklaces. msha.ke/www.iroccharms
Dame Body – Sannae Hopson’s collection of scrubs, soaps and body butters. instagram.com/thedamesannae
My Daddy’s Recipes – Nekia Hattley’s plant-based food company “on a mission to enhance the quality of life of people of color through health, wellness and healing.” mydaddysrecipesbychefkia.com
Jaire IC – An edgy L.A.-based contemporary clothing line. jaireicstore.com
Pretti Lyps – Mary Carpenter’s cosmetic company specializing in pretty colors for pretty lips of all shapes & sizes. prettilyps.com
Teaschool – 12-year-old Chancellor Clark’s organic loose-leaf tea line. instagram.com/shopteaschool
Spread The Light – Micayla Coquia’s environment-friendly candle company. instagram.com/stl_candleco
Piece Love Sew – Stephanie Ellis’ unique up-cycled sweatsuits, aprons and jackets.
233 S Market Street, 113. Inglewood. Info and event booking at (401) 232-4810 or www.goddessgiftsstudio.com