Meta, the Facebook company, has launched a ‘pop-up,’ window display in the ByWard Market to promote online small businesses.
At an in-person event Tuesday morning, the company unveiled the display, which showcases six local e-commerce businesses.
Each online store has a QR code next to an example of their product; once scanned by a smart phone, the shopper is taken to their online shop.
“I don’t have a brick and mortar store, but this kind of feels like one,” says Brenda Lam of Brendamadethis. “Having a store that will direct people to my online shop, I think will be super helpful, especially because I don’t necessarily know who I reach in the Ottawa region because it is e-commerce. It would be cool to be more local – to my own city where I was born and raised.”
Her online store primarily sells DIY knitting patterns. She also makes physical goods that are made to order, based on what colours the customer would like.
“I thought it was just a really cool experience to see it next to five other small businesses from Ottawa. It made me very proud,” she said, after seeing the display unveiled.
Meta says that this is the only location in Canada and, according to their “Good Ideas Shop,” other cities are Fort Worth & Dallas, Texas, New York City, and Seattle, Washington.
“We believe good ideas deserve to be found, which is why we’re excited today to launch our good ideas pop-up,” says Garrick Tiplady, Canadian Country Director at Meta.
“In Ottawa alone, over 25 per cent of millennials started a business during the pandemic and it’s just so great to see all of these businesses starting to move online and find new audiences.”
According to Meta, 8-in-10 Ottawans say they plan to shop local this holiday season.
The display is located at 56 ByWard Market Square until Dec. 31.
The businesses showcased are:
Birch Bark Coffee – founded by Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, Birch Bark Coffee Company is a cause-driven organization focused on improving on-going social issues for Indigenous families. Birch Bark Coffee is proud to offer delicious, organic, SPP certified, Fair Trade coffee grown and produced by Indigenous farmers.
The Box of Life – Co-founded by Akil Mesiwala and Rashida Rajgara and bringing innovation to urban composting, The Box of Life is a home composting solution that uses earthworms to naturally compost organics to reduce waste, allowing everyone from homeowners to renters to dramatically reduce their waste and produce the world’s highest quality living soil without bugs, odor or mess.
Brenda Made This – During the pandemic, Brenda Lam turned her passion for knitting into profit, selling beautiful and comfortable made-to-order knit sweaters, home items, and knit patterns to inspire shoppers to try knitting themselves. Brenda saw an opportunity to provide a sustainable fashion option, through hand-made, quality knit items that are meant to last.
Gather Café & Kitchen – Born and raised in Ottawa, founder Emily Anderson has always had a passion for supporting and exploring local shops and restaurants. Emily started the business in 2021, serving up plant-powered bowls, espresso energized drinks, sweet & savoury baked goods, and handmade pantry staples.
Nurture with Botanics – Founded by Lashawna Phillips and inspired by her grandfather’s love for herbal medicine, Lashawna took a leap at the start of the pandemic to start her business. Lashawna founded Nurture with Botanics offering Canadians with herbs, oils and other natural medicines to relieve stress, and help us thrive through stress and seasonal changes. A portion of sales is given back to mental health organizations in Canada, including the Afghan Women’s Organization this past fall.
Saint Lyon – Co-founded by Elom Tsiagbey & Abby Boadi, Saint Lyon fights the concept of having to break the bank for comfortable, stylish, fitness apparel. The company also fosters an environment for women to feel confident and encourage each other too. With each purchase, Saint Lyon makes a donation to a charity of your choice, with the goal of making a positive impact on the world around them, one purchase at a time.