The Woman’s Exchange of St. Louis is a volunteer-led not-for-profit organization founded in 1883 by women for women. In the late 19th century, there were few employment opportunities for women in the male-dominated workforce. The Woman’s Exchange was founded to provide a marketplace for women to earn a livelihood through the sale of their handmade goods and heirloom quality garments. In September of 1883, The Woman’s Exchange of St. Louis officially opened its doors at 214 North 6th Street. In addition to the gift shop, The Woman’s Exchange opened a tearoom serving inexpensive meals, a resource library housing 950 volumes, and offered instruction in cooking, sewing, needlework, and other popular domestic arts.
Wednesday morning, Board of Directors President, Allie Cohn and Executive Director, Julie Peters joined Mary in studio to share more about their mission. They shared in 1953, they became the home of the trademarked Cherry Dress. Since its creation, their Cherry Dress™ has become an iconic childhood garment passed down from generation to generation.
Today, The Woman’s Exchange has partnered with over 1,000 Artisans and strives to create a supportive, anonymous, and inclusive work environment for all employees and program participants. The Woman’s Exchange serves as a brick-and-mortar storefront for women to sell merchandise and earn an income from the sale of products.