The secret to success for any small business is staying rooted in the surrounding community. That’s exactly how Guy and Shay Wood, owners of the Harlem Haberdashery clothing boutique in New York City, have remained true to themselves while serving a neighborhood both philanthropically and fashionably.
Harlem Haberdashery, a family-run business founded by the husband and wife duo and uniquely positioned as a “retail-expression” of 5001 FLAVORS, is a nearly 2,000 square foot boutique in the former home of the late civil rights leader Malcolm X. The store uses their colorful array of products to positively impact Harlem’s residents.
But the Woods are making sure the entire community benefits from the threads, not just those who come to purchase the creative wonders.
“Harlem has always been a place of fashion, creativity and community,” Shay Wood said. “I feel like I owe Harlem, and so that’s why we give back.”
“A successful collaboration for us is when we identify a need in the community and we work together to achieve that goal.”
Some of those collaborations include bringing arts programs to the storied New York City neighborhood and feeding communities less fortunate in a bi-annual initiative called #Feed500.
Other philanthropic endeavors include Elegant for Prom, an annual donation event in which stylists and fashion editors donate graduation garments and accessories to 150 graduating high school students, and the Holiday Toy & Coat Drive, another annual drive to collect toys for Harlem Hospital’s Pediatric Outpatient Department and coats to donate to the Covenant Family Living Center.
But staying true to Harlem’s history – a colorful history of Black excellence in art, fashion, literature, and theater – is the original purpose of this small business and an onus not lost on its owners.
Says Wood: “Our mantra is live good, look good, feel good. And at Harlem Haberdashery, we work together to better our community.”