Just in time for fall: Shoperatic!Op-ed
Dear Schmopera readers,
It’s Suzanne Vinnik and Sara Duchovnay of Shoperatic.com! We’re excited to announce that after talking about our new online peer-to-peer marketplace for what seems like eons, we are LAUNCHED and open for business! When we ran into a little technical snafu in beta testing, we reached out to our friends at Schmopera who were able to help us figure out the problem and got us back on track!
In a series of Schmopera posts that we wrote last year, we urged singers to be themselves in auditions, and to wear clothes that represented their unique individuality and fashion sense. We introduced the concept of #freetheknee, which encouraged singers to trust their own style and judgement, resist body shaming from others in the industry, and break free from the ubiquitous jewel-tone-jersey-faux-wrap-dress. Not to pat ourselves on the back too much, but over the past year we’ve noticed a significant change in the way female singers dress, and even more importantly, the way they relate to one another!
Auditions have become a place of camaraderie, where singers who have only known one another online through dress sales and a shared love of fashion, (and opera of course), meet for the first time and celebrate their friendship instead of viewing each other as competition. We’ve empowered countless “#divaswhohustle” to come out of the shadows and sell the amazing things they create and source! Shoperatic users have been able to put their hard-earned money back into their own community just by buying the things we already need. When we go to a homestay or give our family and friends gifts, we are now gifting them diva-made products. We can use diva-made skincare, light our favorite scents from Golden Pineapple Candle Co., buy gowns for performances, ensembles for auditions, clothes for our everyday life and most important - gifts for ourselves when we deserve something special! We support our art from by supporting the artists behind all of our items.
While we were building the website this summer, we put together several Sing For Hope Pop-Up Concerts where we touched the lives of New Yorkers and had the chance to connect with one another. Whenever we sing together, we grow closer as a community and as a business. Shoperatic.com isn’t just a place to buy and sell things, it is a movement. It is the joining of 10K+ opera singing women, sharing the desire to support our art form by supporting one another. We want financial security. We want to help the environment by purchasing higher quality, gently used garments, instead of purchasing cheap, newly made “fast fashion” that pollutes our planet. We want to foster the next generation of great business women in opera who can lead our industry in the right direction. We are a group of innovators. We are going against the grain, doing something that is totally new within our industry, and making our own path that we can walk along together as artists.
There will always be those who embrace the status quo, and there will always be those who think that because something has been done one way for so long, it is the only way to accomplish anything. Shoperatic.com isn’t about that! We are about taking big risks, (even when they are terrifying), and seeing them pay off. During Shoperatic’s early stages, every dollar that we earn in commission from sales will go directly back into building our reserves and making our site better so it can continue to evolve with the evolving needs of the community. Just since out BETA+ stage, we’ve improved upon many of the features on the site, and will continue to do so as our business grows and we have the means to make it happen.
After Hurricane Harvey, we found out that one of the earliest members of our Facebook group, Jan LeClair (Cornelius) and her husband Ben LeClair lost their home. Jan just gave birth four months ago and together they have another small child, which put a huge strain on their lives. Shoperatic member Alissa Anderson started a GoFundMe to help them raise money. We decided that we would pool all of the commissions from every transaction over Labor Day Weekend, and make a donation from all the Shoperatic users. We had about $4,000 in transactions between our members and were able to donate $400 over the weekend before we were even launched. Another one of our vendors Jasmina Halimic donated all of the money from her sales of MatchaMe Cosmetics (her own amazing handmade line), which she was able to split between three families affected by Harvey. Without this website, none of this would have been possible! There is still so much more that we can all do together!
While we operate as a for-profit business, our model is based upon cause capitalism and supporting one another in good times and bad. We are are so grateful for the support of our community, and we can’t wait to see what the next year holds.
With Vibrato, Legato, & Love
Suzanne + Sara