In 2018, I opened Artaya Loka, a less than 200sq ft retail store of my handmade jewelry and apparel. There, I celebrated people of all backgrounds and sought to make my corner of the world a more welcoming place.
After noticing a need for safe queer spaces in Nashville, I came up with the idea to create Pronoun Party, a gender-inclusive social mixer(sliding scale) headquartered at Artaya Loka. I quickly learned that the shop was more than just a retail space, it was a space for community and connection.
Artaya Loka is Black-owned, queer-owned, and woman-owned; but owning a shop is hard, especially in 2020.
Located in a popular tourist section of East Nashville, the shop's neighborhood took a hit on March 3rd when a tornado devastated the surrounding area. That same month, we all started to witness the rippling impact that the coronavirus was having on everyone.
Due to the effects of COVID-19 on our local economy, mandatory business shutdowns, and new safety guidelines for public spaces, my small shop has been closed to the public for six months.
At the end of October, I'll take a 'gap year' from my physical space with the hope of reopening in a larger space.
How will the money be used?
If this #SmallBusinessRelief campaign is fully funded, I'll reopen the shop in 2021 with a larger retail space that can also host events like Pronoun Party and meet social-distancing guidelines.
If this campaign is partially funded, I'll continue improving my shop's online experience, pay for business expenses, and host pop-up events like Pronoun Party!
Whether you contribute $100 or $1, your support is truly appreciated.
Dana (she/her) @artayaloka
Shop my handmade face masks and jewelry at www.artayaloka.com
All photos by Emily April Allen
#blackownedbusiness #blackowned #queerownedbusiness #retail
- Allison Reilly
- alexis smith
- Hunter Arcand
- Ariana Zukergood
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