We joined our friends at GOOD Magazine to check out MADE by DWC for International Cash Mob Day in Los Angeles. Retail therapy for a good cause? Count us in!
For the uninitiated, a cash mob is a recent phenomenon, similar to a flash mob, where a group of people pick a locally-owned business to visit on a pre-determined day and time, to spend money and in turn offer a bit of economic stimulus to the local economy. Another outcome is to introduce local consumers to a business they may not have been familiar with before hand. And to sweeten the deal even more, a Cash Mob is usually followed by a visit to a local bar or restaurant for a beverage and snack with your fellow cash mobbers.
To celebrate International Cash Mob Day on Saturday, March 24th, the Los Angeles Cash Mobbers decided to target MADE by DWC, a social enterprise store benefitting the Downtown Women’s Center which services homeless and very low income women in Los Angeles’ Skid Row community. On its own, MADE by DWC is a fantastic gift store and cafe offering a wide array of handcrafted and vintage items, along with sandwiches, teas, and coffee from local businesses. The fact that many of the items are made by the women of the DWC and that 100% of the proceeds go back to the DWC made it the perfect choice for a Cash Mob.
The group gathered around the corner a few minutes prior to the official start of the cash mob, so that we would arrive en masse as a mob. Our group of around 15 individuals even included what must have been the world’s youngest cash mobber, a 21-month-old boy. Reporters from LA Times and the USC student paper came along to document the event.
We arrived at the store front and filed in to start our shopping. MADE by DWC is housed in the first floor of the Downtown Women’s Center which is comprised of 71 apartment-style units for the permanent residents, and a large Day Center including a kitchen, cafeteria seating, sitting area, and a free clinic. The store itself was bright, airy, and looked just like any boutique gift store you might find in other parts of LA…it just happens to be located feet from Skid Row.
Some of the items up for grabs included handmade soy candles in repurposed teacups, bars of orange blossom scented soaps, decoupaged frames, wooden and glass drink coasters, and hand sewn fabric dolls. After filling our baskets with goodies, we filed to the cash register, which also served as the counter for the Cafe housed in MADE by DWC, to purchase our wares. DWC staff and volunteers offered to take the Cash Mob participants on a tour of the DWC facilities, which was a perfect and meaningful way to end the event.
Final estimates are that the Cash Mobbers spent $1,200 in an hour at MADE by DWC making it a very successful Cash Mob.