Maiden Minnesota highlights women entrepreneurs

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The Twin Cities, longtime haven for small businesses, will celebrate local female-owned companies at Maiden Minnesota this Friday at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel.

The annual shopping event will showcase over 35 female business owners, called Maidens, and their food items, home décor, clothing, jewelry and more. Items from each business, cocktails and gift bags will be available for purchase. A silent auction will also take place during the event.

Tracy Dyer of Urban Junket and publicist Jen Stack of Relish Minds PR created the event in 2007. Dyer said the event started because they wanted to generate support and buzz for local businesses owned by women.

In its ninth year, Maiden Minnesota has tripled in size and now partners with a different local charity each year to raise money and awareness.

This year’s charity, Dress for Success Twin Cities, is a nonprofit that aids women in poverty to achieve economic independence by providing them with professional clothing and resources and support to help them find stable careers.

Dyer said Dress for Success will receive $5 from each ticket sale and $10 from each gift bag sale. Each participating business will also donate $300 worth of product to the silent auction. Businesses not participating in the event are also welcome to donate auction items. Past events have raised up to $47,000 for charities, Dyer said.

Murphy News Service spoke with a few businesses involved to shed light on what event-goers can expect to see at Maiden Minnesota.

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Maiden Spotlight

WHO: Kristin Wornson, owner of Skipping Lillies

WHAT: Botanical jewelry

HER STORY: Kristin Wornson and her brother Eric started Skipping Lillies 11 years ago. Wornson said their stained-glass artist grandfather taught them how to work with glass when they were younger and making jewelry had always been one of her hobbies.

“We jumped off a cliff together…and we made a lot of messes,” she said.

Her brother has since stepped down, but Wornson continues to make tiny flowers and plants into necklaces, earrings and bracelets. She also makes customer jewelry per customers’ requests.

FAVORITE ITEM: “I don’t have one, I get too attached to all of them!” Wornson said.

MAIDEN MINNESOTA: Wornson says she is excited to participate in the event for the first time. She will have botanical jewelry, ceramic tile jewelry and silk scarves available for purchase.

 

WHO: Tracy Dyer, owner of Urban Junket and co-founder of Maiden Minnesota

WHAT: Eco-friendly and rechargeable bags

HER STORY: Dyer realized during her time as a marketing executive for Best Buy that women did not have options for pretty and functional laptop bags. She started the company in 2008 and has been creating bags designed for women with busy lifestyles ever since. Her bags are created from recycled plastic bottles and many include built-in chargers. The batteries are TSA safe, work with any phone or device and run cool so they do not melt anything in the bags.

FAVORITE ITEM: Dyer said she will be debuting six new bag styles at Maiden Minnesota, but the spotlight will be on the Andra Chakra bag. She calls it a “work/life” bag and it has separate compartments for gym clothes, a laptop, a yoga mat and other necessities.

MAIDEN MINNESOTA: As co-founder, Dyer has been with the event from the beginning. She said she has a great team of staff members that help her run her booth and manage the event, but she is always happy to talk to people about her own business and items for sale.

 

WHO: Elizabeth Geisler, owner of Coccoon.

WHAT: Coats and capes that will keep women warm and stylish through Minnesotan winters

HER STORY: Geisler fell in love when she made her first cape four years ago. She was working in New York at the time, but moved back to Minnesota and started her own line immediately instead of job hunting. Geisler said she designs everything herself and strives to make new outerwear pieces for each season, focusing on great fabrics and fit.

“Nothing is stuffy or uncomfortable to wear,” she said.

FAVORITE ITEM: The High Street Swing Cape in Burgundy.

“It’s easy to make an outfit and elevate any look [with the cape],” she added.

MAIDEN MINNESOTA: She will be featuring a wide variety of her coats and capes in all sizes, as well as debuting a new scarf collection. This will be Geisler’s third year as a Maiden.

“Minnesotans are in general very supportive of local businesses,” she said. “It’s a great community.”

Want to go?

The event will be held on Friday, Nov. 6 from 2-9 p.m. at Loews Minneapolis Hotel at 601 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55403. Tickets are available online for $20 and $30 at the door. For more information, please visit www.MaidenMinnesota.com. To learn more about Dress for Success, or to donate, please visitwww.TwinCities.DressForSuccess.org.

Reporter Madison Bloomquist is studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.