Red Letter Campaign aimed at encouraging women entrepreneurs
Last year, Red’s Mercantile brought new life to the corner of Dewey and Galloway streets. The shop, owned by Eau Claire native Rebecca Cooke, is quaint and classy. Its shelves feature artful displays of artisan goods – many locally sourced – including natural cosmetics, homemade purses, and soy candles.
Between pop-up shops at the Eaux Claires festival, the growth of tourism in downtown Eau Claire, and social media notoriety, Red’s has seen tremendous growth in its first year of business. The strong women who frequent Cooke’s shop – and contribute to her success – have inspired her to invent and implement the Red Letter Campaign, which will help female entrepreneurs turn their ideas into successful businesses.
Since starting Red’s, Cooke has noticed a huge discrepancy between the sexes in the Chippewa Valley’s entrepreneurial environment. “I realized how few women entrepreneurs there were regionally,” she said.
Cooke intends to level the playing field.
Here’s how the campaign will work: A percentage of the proceeds from next year’s sales will be set aside to create a grant fund. At the end of the year, interested female entrepreneurs will complete an application process. The winner will receive the Red Letter Grant, which will be dedicated to making her business endeavor a reality.
The Red Letter Campaign is all about girl power. The success of the Red Letter Campaign – and the size of the grant – depends on the women of the Chippewa Valley.
Many of Red’s products are made by women, for women. “We’ve realized our target market and our audience is very female focused,” Cooke said.
When Cooke’s (primarily female) customers shop at Red’s, they aren’t just buying pretty things. Every product sold helps to provide support for Eau Claire businesswomen.
“That’s what I think could be really unique and cool about this,” she noted. “The power of the grant comes from women in the community.”
The campaign doesn’t stop at financial support. Cooke wants to widen the circle of female mentors for aspiring entrepreneurs. Red Letter T-shirts bearing the slogan “The Future is Female” send the message that women can have a powerful influence on the future of business in Eau Claire and the world at large. Along with Red Letter products, campaign promotion on social media facilitates discourse on female entrepreneurship in the Chippewa Valley.
“I hope that (the Red Letter Campaign) opens more dialogue and inspires more people to pursue what they want to do with their life,” Cooke said.
Boosting the number of female entrepreneurs can only add to Eau Claire’s flourishing business environment. With the help of the Red Letter Campaign and Grant, their creativity and innovation will continue to grow the local economy.
Red’s Mercantile • 224 N. Dewey St., Eau Claire • (715) 829-0165 • redsmercantile.com