When it comes to finding unique gifts, I always try my best to shop at a local store, small business or my favorite Etsy shop. So when I find a new place, I always feel the need to share. I was recently introduced to Wit & Whim, a Port Washington, NY-based shop that features creative, vintage and handmade goods. The “twist” (as their slogan says) is that 100% of the shop’s profits are donated to a different charity or local organization each month. You can visit the retail location (just a short trip from NYC!) or shop in their online store. A few of my favorite items are shown below.
I recently had the chance to catch up with Wit & Whim’s creator, Laurie. Here are a few fun facts about her business.
Where did the name ‘wit & whim’ come from?
The whole origin of the shop was totally funny and unexpected. I had been a successful family therapist for 26 years and had no plan to open a lifestyle store! So when I played around with possible names, I wanted to embrace the humor, “wit” and the whimsy, or “whim” of the project.
All of Wit & Whim’s profits go directly to organizations and charities. Can you explain the inspiration behind this specific business model?
Many years ago I put together a charity event to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I turned my living room into a flea market and invited about fifty women to have tea and shop. I called it my ‘Tea & Flea’ and it was a huge success and a ton of fun! It was a feel good event for everyone. After my fifth, (and last!) child graduated from high school, I felt very blessed and thought it was my time to give back so I created wit & whim!
What was one of your favorite collaborations you have done with other organizations or groups within the community?
Last April we celebrated Earth Day in a big way with our, ‘love art, live green, give back’ collaboration. First, we spent two months collecting thirty pounds of broken toy parts and game pieces! Then, children ages 5-10 volunteered to help create two huge four foot ‘up-cycled’ W’s with the broken toys and we hung them as our April window display! It was a blast and a real community event! Our profit that month went to a local charity that organizes the annual clean up and planting for the beautification of our town.
What advice do you have for women who are looking to open their own small business or shop?
It is probably best I not offer any business advice since this is my first shop. However, while a novice in the retail world, I have spent 27 years as a family therapist understanding individuals and have two thoughts. First, stay true to who you are. Make decisions, and commit to them completely, if it turns out to be a mistake, take comfort in knowing you gave it your best. Second, accept support from anyone willing to help! It is a big job! Oh, and be sure to get SOME sleep!
One lucky winner will receive this fun, one-of-a-kind gift basket (valued over $150) AND a $10 gift certificate to their shop, valid both in-store and online. Below are descriptions for each item.
- vintage 1950s milk glass vase
- handmade beaded flower by local long island artist
- printed “bee happy” canvas clutch
- whimsical sweet marcel ankle socks
- handmade “you rock” skinny black leather & stainless bangle
- “mandarin orange ginger” buddha balm – 100% natural, plant-based lip balm
- black crystal with gold trim designer earrings (stainless posts)