When Anne Marie Johnson founded her DC-based online clothing boutique Bitter Grace eight months ago, she knew she wanted its mission to extend beyond just selling clothes.
So she started investigating ways to bring together local female business owners to discuss female empowerment and give back to the community—and network and sell some of their goods, of course.
The result is Bitter Grace’s first-annual self-care retreat. The theme is “The Road to Self-Empowerment,” and will feature a line-up of speakers, opportunities for networking, and an afternoon of shopping products and services from local female entrepreneurs. A portion of all sales will benefit Doorways, which provides assistance to survivors of sexual and domestic violence.
“I’ve always wanted to build a brand that is beyond clothing and is centered around a mission to give back and make a positive impact on the lives of others, especially in the DC community” says Johnson. “Helping women and females really rebuild their lives and regain their confidence—that’s the focus of this [theme of] ‘The Road to Self-Empowerment.'”
The first two hours of the event will feature a line-up of four speakers who will touch on topics such as leaning into your fears and overcoming self-doubt. Blogger Britt Noelle Wells, author and Resilience Leadership founder Dr. Taryn Stejskal, and the duo behind life-coaching group Turn It On, Rebecca Ahmed and Natalie Ioannone, will all speak.
After the talks, there will be a guided yoga and meditation session, and then guests will be free to network and check out the 20 local vendors on-site. The businesses are all women-owned and based in the Washington area, and include spots like the Bethesda-based Kickspos, the all-natural skincare and candle line Nourish and Refine from Alexandria, and the DC organic dessert company Ella May Confections.
And Johnson hopes to make the event an annual occurrence, as well as live-stream future speaking panels so folks outside of DC can tune in.
“What fulfills me in what I do is being able to give back and help others,” says Johnson of the event. “That’s really what the retreat is about—being able to empower others to do more and be more, which has become our mantra as a brand.” (She means that literally—if you attend the event, make sure to use the hashtag #DoMoreBeMore.)
Johnson sums up the event, with its mix of self-help, philanthropy, networking, and shopping, pretty simply: “By helping others, we benefit, too.”
The event will be held Saturday, August 31 at the Willard InterContinental Hotel from 1 to 5 PM. Tickets are $25.
The Willard InterContinental Hotel; 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. NW