ndigo dyeing workshop and open market at Femme Fatale DC
ndigo Dyeing DIY with Sophie Kanter (@alittlechickadee); photo by Briget Heidmous, courtesy of Femme Fatale DC

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Femme Fatale DC Open Market

Before pop-up shops and local maker markets were all the rage, there was Femme Fatale DC. The grassroots retail venture, co-owned by women of color Cee Smith and Adriana Mendoza, has been around since 2016 with the intention of shaking up shopping. Currently located in Cleveland Park, at the business’ sixth pop-up location, Femme Fatale DC offers immersive retail as well as a gathering space to bring makers and movers and shakers together. The store, which can be shopped in person or online, features more than 70 products from locally connected women and nonbinary entrepreneurs. The venture stands out, however, for its commitment to helping other women and nonbinary creators grow. “We believe that collaboration, autonomy, and collective effort are more powerful than competing,” says Briget Heidmous, Femme Fatale DC’s community facing product manager and strategist. “We are a community of empowered individuals working together.” Since opening, the venture has worked with 250 entrepreneurs; some have stayed since the beginning, while others have gone on to launch their own shops. One such success story is Mz. Eclectic, the upcycled fashion brand by Ebony Brown. Heidmous explains that Femme Fatale DC aims to be a “launchpad” where creators can create while growing their businesses. “We have created spaces and opportunities for small and micro-businesses that inspire, disrupt wage and access disparities, and embolden retail entrepreneurs,” Heidmous writes over email. As for the pop-up side, Femme Fatale DC focuses on activating latent space that can work as an event space as much as storefront. The current location hosts events weekly, including tarot readings, happy hours, parties, and workshops. On Aug. 22, Femme Fatale DC will put on an open air market with skincare products, jewelry, upcycled vintage goods, and more, as well as an indigo dying workshop (register for that in advance). Tarot readings will be available inside and DJ M$NP will help set the vibe. The pop-up departs the Connecticut storefront on Oct. 1. The open market runs from noon to 4 p.m. on Aug. 22 at Femme Fatale DC, 3409 Connecticut Ave. NW. femmefataledc.com. Free.