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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter.

There is no better way to support Women’s History Month than to visit local small businesses that are run by women.

Women’s History Month is here… which is the perfect excuse to go shopping. There are so many small women-owned businesses around Columbia that exude confidence and are so enjoyable as an experience. The growing demographic of women-led businesses has empowered so many young women to start their own businesses. You know… Darla Moore Business School is named after Darla herself for a reason. This top 5- list of women-owned businesses are the most enjoyable, friendly, and the ones that I personally find to be the best. The range of businesses from coffee shops and garden centers to pole dancing and tattoo parlors should give you all the motivation for exploring new businesses!

1. Azaleas coffee bar

Azaleas Coffee bar is arguably one of the best coffee shops in Columbia. The aesthetic of the shop is so eye-catching and empowering. I could go on a tangent about how many good things this coffee shop offers including their delicious coffee, but what makes the experience top tier is the staff and the coffee names. I visit Azaleas quite often and the staff always greet me in the nicest and most humble manner. You can tell by tasting the coffee and the little treats they offer that they put dedication into making their products the best. The “Legend” latte inspired by Betty White and “Justice” inspired by RGB are such creative ways to give credit to outstanding kick-a** women! They offer special limited edition coffees as well that are inspired by so many other inspiring women, such as their June summer drink called “Pride”, inspired by Edie Windsor, who was an activist and plaintiff in US v. Windsor, a landmark case for the marriage equality movement. Feel like a boss b*tch with some inspiring coffee as you finish out those college assignments!

Picture of the interior of azaleas coffee shop. On the rack there is a support small business sign with products from the small businesses and string lights across the top.
Original photo by Marissa DiMaria

2. Gourmet shop

If you have not been to Gourmet Shop then what are you doing? Located in Five Points, this is the perfect place for a Sunday brunch date! Even though they are busy on most days, the service is unreal. The best part is that they also sell products! Looking for a cocktail kit for only 20 dollars? This is the place to go.

3. Gardners Outpost

Although this shop is considered a mom-and-pop shop, the entire staff is women-led. Personally attempting to improve my green thumb, Gardner’s Outpost has employees that are willing to help with any question regarding care and type of plants. The plant obsession now is unreal! The plants that are offered at this shop are so varied that you might spend 5 hours just looking at different plants. The aesthetic of the shop is relaxing yet intriguing and they sell more than just plants such as plant care, artsy posters, tote bags, t-shirts, pots, etc. It’s the perfect place to take your friends for a relaxing day out.

Another benefit: it’s 300 feet away from Azaleas Coffee, so grab a coffee and go look at cute plants!

Interior of gardners outpost. They offer a variety of interior plants as well as pots and a very aesthetically pleasing placement.
Original photo by Marissa DiMaria

4. Elysium Fitness

We all have thought about trying pole dancing before and this is the perfect place for lessons. One of my friends dragged me with her to go to Elysium fitness and although at first, I was nervous, the staff there brought me absolute joy and gave me unfounded confidence like never before. Everyone at Elysium is accepting of each and every individual that steps into their studio. Even with the one class I took at this studio, I felt sexier and more confident in myself and my pole dancing abilities. Having fun while getting fit? It’s a win-win!

5. Ophidian Tattoo Shop

Tattoos? Women? It can not get any better than that! The talented artists located at Ophidian Tattoo are so good that they are consistently booked with appointments! They have a range of artists that can help you with any tattoo you are looking for. More of a fine line gal? Black and white flower tattoos? Color surrealism? They have it all! Their shop feels like home with gorgeous antiques and frames with friendly staff. You can’t tell me these women don’t look like they give bad-a** tattoos. I know that this business will be taking all my money for future tattoos.


Supporting women-owned businesses is not only beneficial for them, but as a woman, you are able to see in-person how much we are capable of! They prove that with hard work and dedication that any goal is possible!

“The blond Southern female thing, which was originally a handicap, ultimately became this incredible asset” – Darla Moore

Garden&Gun: Darla Moore: From Lake City to Wall Street-And Back.

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Marissa DiMaria

South Carolina '24

currently, a sophomore attending the University of South Carolina. Super excited about being a part of HerCampus!