The 2018 United State of Women wasn’t just a conference- it was a powerful gathering of 5,000 women and allies from across the country who know their energy and power will break down barriers that stand between women and full equality. Made to Matter was asked to conceptualize and build a 30,000 square foot Economic Empowerment Market at this conference to support women-owned businesses in this mission. Matter sat down with 20 of these women and conceptualized how to make a market place that built community instead of competition and united women with mentors across our diverse industries and perspectives.
This concept took shape in a plan of overlapping circles, which organized women into communities defined beyond industry. Instead, these communities were “Makers,” “Storytellers,” and other purpose-led identities. They were situated in the round, facing each other: this built community internally and created more delightful, intimate spaces for attendees to engage.
The areas that overlap became installations and activations that cross-pollinate two or three nearby communities. They brought the idea of collaboration to life, and became hubs of diverse engagement. Some of these included a mentorship area with 15 stations programmed with speaker sit-downs and organic exchanges, wheat pastings and murals from empowering artists, a skill exchange area, and storytelling walls for partners like LA Kitchen to debute their #noexpirationdate series that showed how no human and no food goes to waste.
Inspired by LA Kitchen, we didn’t want any of our building materials to go to waste so we created the panels with the intention of repurposing these into greenhouses to help a local non-profit, who grows food for LA Kitchen, with their production. We are now in the process of building 5 greenhouses in the Compton area with Alma Backyard Farms. For access to our open source greenhouse plan please reach out.