For many budding entrepreneurs not quite ready for a retail space of their own, cooperatives and pop-up shops are integral vehicles for not only selling their goods but getting their name out there. When lockdown hit in 2020, friends Savannah Barkley and Heather Wolfenden instantly saw their schedules of upcoming market events cancelled. Rather than sit back, the plucky pair transformed a vacant storefront on South Main Street into a stunning pop-up shop and named their venture Bloom Collective. The success demonstrated the need, and today the blooming continues in a different non-permanent location, hence the pop-up.
“Bloom has become a new way to collaborate with makers and creatives across the board where we can all come together to take part in one-of-a-kind pop-up experiences for the community to enjoy,” Barkley explains. Bloom Collective is currently rooted in the former home of Loie Fuller’s on Westminster Street. This snug shop houses products from 50+ local businesses as well as a weekly outdoor marketplace with rotating food trucks and a garden cocktail bar by Little Bitte Cocktails.
“We are so excited to be able to bring Bloom to new spots across the city and create a unique platform for small businesses like our own” says Barkley, who under the label Sir Milky Quartz, is building a lifestyle brand where goods both hand-picked and handmade share a similar aesthetic. Wolfenden owns Fresh and Fossil, a collection of vintage apparel and quirky items with the tagline Garb for Good.
“Our goal is to make use of underutilized spaces in the city and bring new life to and creative energy wherever the collective finds its next home,” adds Barkley. And about the name, she answers with a dreamy smile, “Bloom Collective was inspired by the nature of blossoms popping up in various locations for a brief moment – they are incredibly beautiful and unique – just like the creative community in Providence.”