It’s your business | New Business Goal: Support Women-Owned Businesses | Contractors

Cynthia Bruno and Kelly O’Neill know there are plenty of women-owned and women-led businesses that female customers would love to support, if only it were easier to find them.

This is where their new business, Miss Market, can help, they said.

Miss Market, based in Champaign, is a directory of businesses and services owned, founded and/or operated by women.

There are currently nearly 200 of these companies in the Miss Market directory.

Bruno, a Champaign mother of three, said the brainchild of Miss Market was born out of her own failed hunt to find clothes to fit a postpartum mother’s body after having a baby in 2019. Then the COVID-19 pandemic has arrived, making it even more difficult, with obstacles such as the closing of store fitting rooms.

She started ordering things and sending them back, and when she went to find the owners behind the clothes she was buying, she found they were mostly men, she said .

She pledged to shift her purchases to women-owned and women-run businesses, though it took hours of research to find the businesses that had the products she needed, she said. declared. Once she found them, “I found so many things that worked for me,” Bruno said.

She and O’Neill met at a United Way of Champaign County Emerging Community Leaders program and became friends. They first started a non-profit organization, Girls Go For It, to help foster leadership development in girls and encourage them to pursue their dreams.

Now they hope to give women-led businesses a boost – and also help women shoppers leverage their buying power by saving them time and giving them the information they need to buy. with these companies.

Women control 70-80% of purchasing decisions, and even shifting just one percent of those purchases to women-led businesses could make a big difference, Bruno said.

She and O’Neill built their directory and launched it with the help of a grant from the City of Champaign, and said they worked with Visit Champaign County to highlight local businesses run by women.

Their goal is to make Miss Market a national directory, although there are also Illinois businesses listed, O’Neill said.

“There are so many amazing women-owned and women-founded businesses in the Champaign-Urbana community,” she said.

Bruno and O’Neill, both in their 30s, say now is the perfect time to launch their directory of women-run businesses, as they see a big shift underway in what millennials and Gen Z appreciate in their buying decisions.

Find Miss Market: themissmarket.com.

Local support

Here’s your chance to vote for a local business to win the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association’s Makers Madness contest for the coolest thing made in Illinois.

On the list of 311 products for the current ballot, which will narrow the list for the next ballot to 16 semi-finalists, are 33 products made in Champaign County.

These Champaign County products include automotive bumpers, pipe organs, flight simulators, graduation caps and gowns, ketchup, mac and cheese, Miracle Whip, museum exhibits, hair products , face masks, COVID-19 saliva tests and much more.

The current online ballot ends today at midnight.

Go here for the list of Champaign County vendors and a link to vote.

new business

Frank Ambros opened VIDA Bottega at 1912 Moreland Blvd., C.

It offers services for residential and commercial vehicles and buildings such as detailing, complete color changes, paint protection film, window tinting, ceramic coating and residential and commercial vinyl wall coverings. . Customers can bring their own designs or work with an in-house graphic designer.

Ambros said he is a disabled veteran and a former owner of It’s a Wrap Automotive.

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