#WCW Rachel Berks – An Exclusive By Myla Dalbesio
You’ve seen the shirt by now, the slogan of the year, more relevant than ever these days. “THE FUTURE IS FEMALE.” It dots the crowds on sidewalks and subway cars, was a staple wardrobe item at the Women’s Marches in February, and was even knocked off on the SS17 runways. The shirt, originally created in the 1970’s for Labyris, New York City’s first women’s bookstore, was given a rebirth in recent years thanks to Rachel Berks, owner and operator of Otherwild. We love that Rachel is helping to propel awareness of the current women’s movement by creating products that are relevant within popular culture, but what makes it even better is that she donates a portion of her proceeds from the shirt to Planned Parenthood. That is an enterprising mind we can get behind.
What Rachel has created with Otherwild is more than a simple enterprise, though. She provides a retail home and sales support for multitudes of independent artists and craftsmen (and craftswomen!). She shares profits on many of her products with institutions like the Lesbian Herstory Archives (and of course, Planned Parenthood), and has created bi-coastal safe spaces for the LGBTQ community. And speaking of community, Rachel puts an emphasis on it at Otherwild, curating a social and events program that offers spaces and opportunities for people to come together. They host healing workshops and performances, participate in LGBTQ Health and Empowerment fairs, and hold postcard writing parties to encourage people to get in touch with their representatives. That kind of dedication to helping nurture and develop a community is something we really admire. And we know how hard it is to run a small business; to have opened in two cities within a just a handful of years is downright impressive. Congratulations Rachel! We can’t wait to see what other socially-conscious collaborations the future holds for you.
Image Source: Simon Devitt