Coral coloured background. YWCA and WIGG logos large and white. Underneath, the text: IMPORTANT UPDATE

Announcing the 2023 Closure of YWCA Cambridge’s Social Enterprise, WIGG

For over 12 years, it has been our pleasure to bring you curated items that have promoted women designers, small business owners and entrepreneurs. Your enthusiasm and unwavering support for YWCA Cambridge’s social enterprise, WIGG, has allowed us to generate much-needed funds for the programs and services we offer for cis and trans women and girls and non-binary and two-spirit individuals and for that we are truly grateful.

After much thought and discussion, we have made the difficult decision to close WIGG as of March 31, 2023. This fall will be business as usual as we bring you new fall items from your favourite designers. From January to March 2023, we will discount our remaining inventory with our last day of operation being Friday March 31, 2023 (unless inventory is sold prior to that date). We encourage you to follow our social media channels to get information about the arrival of new fall/winter fashion, pop-up sales and inventory markdowns.

There are many reasons for this very difficult decision and we want to be as transparent as possible with you by outlining some of the key ones.

The pandemic forced us, like so many other small businesses, to shift our business online and being able to do so with the help of federal and provincial supports, as well as the adaptability of our dear customers, was a blessing when we had to close our shop doors for months at a time during lockdowns. However, operating a brick and mortar and an online store has come to demand a significant amount of time and effort on the part of YWCA Cambridge staff, staff who each have whole other job descriptions they are responsible for fulfilling.

This increasing burden has been a concern for us as an employer that values decent working conditions and healthy work-life balance for staff. It has also forced us as an organization to evaluate where our attention is being placed and where it needs to be placed. As a nonprofit organization whose mission is serving women, girls and gender diverse individuals in the community and pushing for systemic change that ensures everyone enjoys the right to safety and wellbeing, we fear we risk losing sight of that mission if we continue to put so many resources into operating the store that was only meant to support our work, not be our work.

This decision is also made against the backdrop of increasing and more complex needs for our programming that we must respond to. We simply cannot risk our programming to continue operating this store we’ve all come to know and love.

We considered only closing down the online portion of WIGG. However, the pandemic has shifted the world of retail and not having an online component to a store is no longer feasible with changing consumer behaviours which increasingly favour online shopping.

We cannot fully express how sad we all are to have had to make this decision, but we hope you understand the reasons behind it. It was a decision made by the YWCA Cambridge Leadership Team and our Board of Directors through much discussion and deliberation. It was not made lightly.

As YWCA Cambridge’s CEO and one of WIGG’s founders, I want to express our heartfelt thanks to you for choosing to support our local small business for so many years and, by doing so, supporting the hundreds of women and girls who access our services.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at k.decker@ywcacambridge.ca.

Kim Decker,

CEO, YWCA Cambridge

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