This holiday season head to one of the newest boutiques in DC: Bitter Grace. Situated on Barracks Row (526 Eighth St SE), the boutique boasts a sizable collection of high-end women’s clothing, shoes and accessories –and a mission to empower women.
Store owner and founder Anne-Marie Johnson said the store was created with a community focus.
“It’s all about community for us and community building,” Johnson said. “This is really what our space represents, is having a safe space for people to come together to connect to build meaningful relationships to elevate with one another, to create meaningful partnerships.”
Bitter Grace has its own cashmere line that is manufactured in Nepal and all other items are hand selected by the Bitter Grace team for a variety of designers. The boutique plans to come out with its own athleisure line that will be designed and manufactured in Los Angeles. Bitter Grace also partners with Women’s HQ which creates a community where domestic violence and sexual assault survivors of color through career advancement efforts, financial guidance and wellness programs. 10% of all proceeds from the store are donated to the nonprofit.
Johnson said she takes pride in the businesses efforts to collaborate with local designers and artists in the DC area and across the country. She also emphasized the businesses commitment to sustainability.
“We are committed to sustainability,” Johnson said. “Supporting brands and designers and people who share similar values; values where they honor, integrity and accountability,” Johnson said.
The shop is also at the center of the Inner Elegance Circle, a community designed to surround members with supportive, like-minded individuals that create the space for each person to invest in themselves both internally and externally. It provides access to space, two weekly empowerment events, personal styling and a wider network.
Johnson said that while opening a boutique during a pandemic presented challenges, but said that ultimately following her passion to open the store was the right choice.
She also discussed the many COVID-19 precautions that the store is taking. In addition to the pedestrian rules in the District of mask mandates and 6-foot distancing, Bitter Grace has implemented a PURO light to disinfect the store. The light is used on surfaces and in the fitting rooms after use. Additionally, the store has implemented a new air filtration system for the added safety and peace of mind for its customers.
Johnson said that Bitter Grace is about more than clothes, it’s about helping women feel confident in their own skin.
“It’s about helping people and encouraging them to invest in themselves internally and externally so they feel empowered to show up to the world authentically and to be able to influence and lead as themselves,” Johnson said.
Shop Bitter Grace and learn more about partnerships and programs ar bittergraceboutique.com
Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with Hill Rag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.