Flourish, the ‘do-good boutique,’ will move downtown and add co-working space for women

The Flourish Market, a self-described “do-good boutique” that opened in Glenwood South in November 2016, is expanding its footprint — and mission — and relocating to the Warehouse District downtown.

Flourish, founded by Emily Sexton as a fashion truck in 2015, will triple in size to 3,500 square feet in its new 307 W. Martin St. space. According to its website, Flourish specializes in offering brands from all over the world that provide “dignified jobs and fair wages to inspiring artisans and makers in vulnerable communities.”

That increased square footage will accommodate a new coffee lounge, more dressing rooms, a larger selection of gift items, the addition of baby and children’s clothing, more home decor items and a space for the expansion of the store’s online business.

But Sexton has even bigger plans for the new space.

The back half of the Flourish site will house The Locality, a coworking space for Triangle-based female entrepreneurs.

Sexton said the hub is meant as a place where women can connect and collaborate, an alternative to what many face when they start businesses from home, where they work mostly in isolation.

“In less than 24 hours, we’ve had more than 50 applications come through,” Sexton told The News & Observer on Tuesday.

Since space at The Locality is capped at 50, Sexton said there will be an interview process for those interested.

“It really goes to show that we’re filling a need in the community,” Sexton said. “The 50 women who have already expressed interest stated that the reason they’re most excited excited to join is the community aspect. Being an entrepreneur is hard, and this space reflects how I’ve seen women be successful in the developing world, which is by relying on their village. Women in the U.S. feel like they have to do everything on their own, and that’s really lonely. We can really flourish in community.

“Women are strong, and together we’re unstoppable,” Sexton said.

Sexton can’t say for sure if The Locality is the area’s first co-working space specifically for women, but she does think it’s the first co-working space for female entrepreneurs “with building community at its core.”

Members will get access to business classes, networking socials and other perks. The monthly memberships start at $195 per month — that includes a parking space.

When Sexton first announced the move on social media, she included a sign-up sheet for those able to help with the store’s move from 713 Tucker St. to Martin Street.

On Tuesday, Sexton said nearly 90 people have already signed up to help.

The Flourish retail space is set to open on May 31, and The Locality will launch on June 3.

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Brooke Cain is a North Carolina native who has worked at The News & Observer for more than 20 years. She writes about TV and local media for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and answers CuriousNC questions for readers.