In honor of International Women’s Day, I’m excited to put a spotlight on women-owned businesses in the area. It can feel extra empowering when you know you’re supporting female entrepreneurs through your purchases. Not sure where to start? Let’s go shopping!

She’s So Sweet 

Sarah’s Handmade Ice Cream & Treats is a must-visit. The shops are run by the powerful mother/daughter team of Sarah and Annie Park. Never settle for just one flavor when you can sample a six-pack. Grab an ice cream flight to go, filled to the brim with scoops of your choosing, and you’ll have a delectable dessert to enjoy all week long. Don’t skip the mini jar toppings to enjoy at home!

Grab a flakey croissant or the best jelly-filled donut you will ever have at Sunday Morning Bakehouse. The bakery is own by Montgomery County native and University of Maryland graduate Caroline Yi, who attended Wootton High School in Rockville. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu — sweet or savory. Be sure to have the barista craft you the perfect oat milk latte and grab some bread to-go.

Looks Good On You

Get all of the cute things your closet has been missing. Dress up or dress down with women-owned business Scout & Molly’s Boutique. The shop is owned by Wendy Brack Fritz who has created a comfortable environment for women to feel like they’re shopping in their best friend’s closet. She and her team stock everything from fashionable handbags to cozy winter gear. Who’s to say you can’t look extra cute for your next Zoom call? 

Don’t forget about self-care! Indigo Octopus is owned by Michelle Gemberling who was recently featured in Washington Business Journal. A Salisbury University alumna, she previously worked for South Moon Under before opening her own boutiques. The shop features a stylish selection of on-trend clothing and beauty products (their cuticle oil is a store fave). It’s also a great place to stock up on cute jewelry for yourself or to gift your girlfriends.

For Her Home

There’s no reason your home shouldn’t be full of trinkets that make you happy. The Cottage Monet truly delivers. The shop is owned and curated by Çaya Cagri. Whether you’re just looking for a fun pick-me-up or something a bit more substantial, you’ll find it here — including a few finds like a witty refrigerator magnet and a petite jar of lavender syrup, perfect for making at-home coffees and cocktails. Right next door is Shop Local Women’s Co-Op, featuring an ever-rotating selection of local female artisans. You’re sure to find a bit of everything and always something new.

Treat yourself to a soft Turkish bathrobe and other Mediterranean-inspired products that pay homage to this shop owner’s heritage. Instanbul-born Ferzan Jaeger owns Olive & Loom, offering everything from cheeky candy (hello, champagne-flavored gummies!) to candles and much more. Play catch-up to all of those missed baby showers and garden parties with the perfect gift.

Stay inspired beyond shopping. Visit and follow #ChooseToChallenge and #IWD2021.

Sarah Lyon is a freelance writer and interior design enthusiast who currently lives in Washington, DC. Her work has appeared on websites including Apartment Therapy, Architectural Digest Clever, Lonny, and MyDomaine. Additionally, Sarah’s own spaces have appeared on Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, Houzz, and Her Dupont Circle apartment was featured in both the spring 2019 print edition of Small Space Decorating and the January 2019 print edition of Washingtonian Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @sarahlyon9.