Women earn 82 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to the US Department of Labor’s website. That’s why a grassroots group of local women, all of whom own a business in Summit County, banded together to celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday, March 8, with an 18% discount, paying homage to the 18-cent difference in the gender pay gap.
The idea started with Erin Young, owner of Red Buffalo Coffee & Tea in Silverthorne. Each year, Young said she would post on social media to call out International Women’s Day, but she wanted to kick it up a notch this year. She brought the idea to a grassroots group of business owners, all of whom were women, and was met with enthusiasm and excitement about how they could all contribute.
“Yes, it’s to bring awareness to the fact that women are still, on average, paid less than men for similar jobs but also just to bring highlight to the great work women do in our communities, in our homes, in our lives.” Young said.
For the past couple of months, these female owners gathered at a participating business once a month to network and discuss similar challenges and successes. About 10 owners typically meet each month, but 15 businesses decide to offer the 18% discount or otherwise celebrate the holiday with special promotions and events. In addition to Red Buffalo, that included:
- Locals Liquors in Silverthorne
- The Pad in Silverthorne
- Minimal Impact Lifestyle in Silverthorne
- Lady Sunshine in Frisco
- Lauren Jefferson Health and Wellness Consulting
- Studio B Dance Center in Frisco
- Mountain Dweller Coffee Roasters in Frisco
- All Flooring Design in Frisco
- Amazing Brains in Frisco
- Saved by the Wine in Dillon
- Peak Yoga Studio in Dillon
- Gillespie Photography in Silverthorne
- Timberline Craft Kitchen & Cocktails in Silverthorne
- Shoe Inn Boutique in Frisco
Stacy Gillespie, co-owner of Gillespie Photography, said the room came alive when the group started collaborating and sharing about how they could — together — make the holiday a success.
“From that one meeting came all of this, which I just think speaks volumes to collaborating and coming together as women and business owners and mothers and wives,” Gillespie said. “From that one meeting … it just led to this amazing day of celebration.”
On Tuesday, Gillespie offered 18% off family sessions and headshots booked by women. She also spent the day supporting the other businesses involved by grabbing a coffee from Red Buffalo, eating lunch at Timberline Craft Kitchen & Cocktails and spending happy hour at The Pad, which hosted live music and discounts of its own.
“It is just amazing to see a room full of semi-strangers just get down to it and talk about how we can grow and help and be better and encourage support and (celebrate) the complexity and sometimes the difficulty of being a female and a business owner. … I just left feeling really empowered,” Gillespie said.
Jenny Hammock, founder and CEO of Minimal Impact in Silverthorne, learned about the discount through the Summit Chamber of Commerce’s Co.Starters’ program, where Young made a presentation a couple of weeks ago. On Tuesday, Hammock also offered an 18% discount for all women customers. Later that day, she hosted a Girl Scouts troop and presented to them about business ownership and sustainability.
Hammock, whose business is not typically open on Tuesdays, said she wanted to participate because she wanted to stand in solidarity with other female owners. She was raised in the south and said she has witnessed the gender pay gap play out firsthand.
“It was very prevalent when a lot of my fellow classmates in college were starting to get jobs (where) a lot of women were not getting the same salaries as our male counterparts, so that was one of the first times I was really aware of the wage gap,” Hammock said. “Also being a mother, I’m very aware of the gap that comes with taking time away from work and being a mother. That issue is very important to me.”
All three business owners said they had received positive responses from customers, and Hammock said it was a good sales day for her despite not usually being open. All three owners have used their businesses to spread awareness about various issues — such as wildfire mitigation, mental health awareness and sustainability — and all three said they plan to continue offering this discount in years to come.