Hard Times Collective (1008 E. Washington), a new second-hand and handmade retail store, is opening Saturday, April 22 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Butchertown. Started by vintage vendors Megan Widmer and Chaella Higdon, the store is the pair’s first brick-and-mortar store. The two had previously been vendors at different pop-up events across the Louisville area.
Widmer and Hidgon became good friends during the pandemic after meeting at a Louisville Waterfront market, and eventually combined their two brands, Lily and Rose Designs and Vintage and Pout Vintage. From there their friendship grew and led them down the rabbit hole that created Hard Times Collective.
“We just became super best friends and all of our morals, principles [and] values aligned,” said Widmer. “One day we met up for coffee and were just like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this. Let’s open our own business.’”
Widmer and Higdon’s store will offer products like clothing from sizes 0 to 4X, furniture, art, and handmade items from other local businesses and vendors.
“It’s all pre-loved pieces, so they all have come from thrift stores, estate sales, etc. These are all curated collections by our individual vendors,” said Widmer. “We have upwards of 25 vendors now that are a part of the collective, and they bring to the table clothing, home goods, vintage accessories, other furnishings and such, and then the other piece of it is local artistry. So we have artists that do oil painting, make their own handmade jewelry, candles.”
The duo also hopes to be able to give back to their community through their work-in-progress financial aid program “Hard Times Collective,” made possible by vendors and future customers. Vendors or customers can donate whatever they feel comfortable with, round-up their purchases, or opt-out completely.
“It is available for members of our collective, so the vendors that work with us provide their goods, the artists that are part of the collective, as well as other members of our community,” said Widmer. “So whether it’s Butchertown, whether it’s Louisville, truly anyone that feels the need to reach out for help. With the fund that we are collecting, we want to be able to give back as much as we were able.”
Widmer said the brand specifically wants to help women, queer people, and people of color, but the fund is open to anyone who may need the help. All of the profit from these donations will go completely to the fund.
Hard Times Collective also aims to also run a website alongside the store. It will also offer similar products as those offered in-store.
The store will also be having a ticketed soft-launch party on Saturday, April 15 from 2-7 p.m. Tickets include a branded canvas tote bag, a sweet treat from a local Butchertown restaurant, a glass of champagne or non-alcoholic drink, and more. Tickets are available via Eventbrite.