Sister House Collective stresses community over industry

Sister House Collective founder Ashley Ayala, second from left.
Photo: Wade Vandervort

From handmade blankets and recycled paper products to art made by local artists, there’s a gift for everyone on your Holiday shopping list at Sister House Collective. But the consciously curated shop in Downtown Las Vegas is more than just a place to purchase crafts and home goods. It’s a space 28-year-old founder Ashley Ayala hopes will foster positive relationships—within the Las Vegas community and beyond.

“I have seen this concept work in California and Oregon and Washington, and I didn’t know if we had anything like that in Las Vegas,” Ayala says. “I really liked the [idea] of small-business owners supporting things that were made locally, or if they were made globally, made in an ethical way.”

Ayala, who grew up in Las Vegas, moved back to the city from Northern California in 2015 and soon began brainstorming ideas for Sister House Collective. She knew she wanted to help women who were victims of sex trafficking, along with people in developing countries, but she quickly discovered the “hoops you have to jump through to import things.” Ayala ended up turning to U.S.-based companies who were already working within the global marketplace—fair-trade businesses she trusted and felt good supporting. One of those companies, Good Paper, provides jobs to trafficking survivors in the Philippines and those orphaned by disease in Rwanda. Another company, Asha, supports women in Calcutta, India, one of the poorest areas in that country.

As Black Friday approaches, Ayala hopes more people think locally and turn to Small Business Saturday as an ethical, less-corporate option. Sister House Collective will open its doors with three family yoga sessions starting at 9 a.m, followed by an event during which the public can meet some of the artists in the community. Ayala says the event aligns with one of Sister House’s core values: “supporting our local economy and the locals here that are working hard to impact our city in a positive way.”

Small Business Saturday Market at Sister House Collective: November 25, 1 p.m., free entry, 1110 Fremont St.

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