Announcing: Our First Ever Pop-Up Competition Winners!

We’ll cut to the chase: AEDP and we were blown away by the turnout for our inaugural pop-up competition. We had fifty applicants enter the competition, each with their own unique and compelling concept, and the process reminded us of how proud we are to be in such a creative professional community here in Alexandria.

But of course, you’re not here for accolades: you’re here to see the WINNERS! So, without further ado…

Top Place: Elaina and Alysia Bright, Skin Scholars

We were blown away by sisters Elaina and Alysia Bright. We love their holistic approach to skin care, their website is crisp and professional, and their wide breadth of products (including a men’s line) will beautifully fill out our 500 square foot showroom. Elaina and Alysia submitted a compelling application that clearly explained their business concept and why they would do well in our space. Their online sales component is strong, which we find important for a successful pop-up concept. We are especially excited to participate in their Beauty Bar Series:

Our concept will be our DIY Beauty Bar Series. We have built three Beauty Bars that allow customers to come in and build custom skin care products that suit their personal needs… This allows the customer the opportunity to make something uniquely specific for their skin type. We will also provide the our customers with our Legacy handmade Skin Care products for men and woman to purchase and our extensive herbal knowledge that has been passed down for more than 7 generations of indigenous tribal medicine.

- Elaina and Alysia

Elaina and Alysia Bright. Image sourced from

Elaina and Alysia Bright. Image sourced from

Skin Scholars has pledged to donate 6% of their sales to Naral Pro Choice Virginia.

From Elaina and Alysia: “We are a woman owned business and feel woman need to have a say over there personal decisions.” Thumbs up.

You’ll be able to visit Skin Scholars the week of August 19-25. We’ll post more about their exact pop-up dates in the future.

Second Place: Jennifer Allevato, Jennifer Allevato Fine Art

When you visit Jennifer’s website you’ll be immediately struck by the bold yet soothing color tones in her post-impressionistic paintings. From a sales perspective, we appreciate that she offers not only original fine art paintings but has diversified her line to include prints, letter cards, notepads, and more. Most of all, we loved her pop-up concept of including a working studio and gallery component to her week:

As an independent artist, I would love to use the space as a working studio and gallery! I work in acrylics, which are fume-free and water-based (easy to clean-up), and would love to have a temporary space where customers and clients could pop in and see me working, as well as a beautifully merchandised space featuring my finished for-sale pieces. I would like to culminate my time in the space with an evening “Gallery Show” with snacks and sips.

-Jennifer Allevato

Jennifer Allevato: image sourced from

Jennifer Allevato: image sourced from

Jennifer has pledged to donate 6% of her sales to The Art League.

From Jennifer: “The Art League, based out of the Torpedo Factory in Old Town, supports several community outreach programs…. These community programs include IMPart, which connects recently Injured Military Personnel with visual arts experiences for personal enrichment, redevelopment of fine motor skills, and expressive catharsis; as well as SOHO/a Space of Her Own, which pairs professional adult female mentors with at-risk preteen girls and gives them an opportunity to experiment with art, learn life skills, and culminates in bedroom transformations for each girl.”

You’ll be able to visit Jennifer’s Pop-Up Studio July 29 - August 4 OR August 5 - 8. We’ll post more about her actual pop-up dates in the future.

Third Place: Ezgi Kaya, Mom&I by EK

When we first reviewed Ezgi’s application we were immediately struck by the amazing quality of her hand-beaded crochet necklaces and by the lovely fact that the business is owned and operated by Ezgi and her mom with studios in Alexandria and Turkey. Ezgi’s necklaces are colorful and intricate and we feel they will show beautifully in our little showroom. Finally, we think Ezgi’s idea of holding a number of social events - including a beading class - out of The Seedling Collective is such a fun way to interact with her clients and make the experience unforgettable.

I'd like to host a couple of events during the pop up. First of all, we'll have a social for women, inviting DC and Alexandria Bloggers, offering drinks, having some music. Secondly, I'd like to do a beading class during the pop up. It will be a day time activity for 2-2.5 hours, people will come and make their own bracelets.

-Ezgi Kaya

Ezki Kaya (far fight) and friends. Image sourced from @momandibyek

Ezki Kaya (far fight) and friends. Image sourced from @momandibyek

Ezki has pledged to donate 6% of her sales to ACT for Alexandria, a local Alexandria non-profit that “brings the community together to elevate local philanthropic giving and engagement to new heights, supports local nonprofits working to aid the most vulnerable and develops solutions for our most pressing community challenges.” (ACT for Alexandria)

You’ll be able to visit Ezki’s pop-up August 12-18. We’ll post more about her actual pop-up dates in the future.

Runners Up:

Because we had so many amazing applicants, we decided to expand our prize to the other top-scoring businesses. We’ll be working directly with these talented entrepreneurs to offer a discounted rental rate for our studio because we would love to see these concepts in action at The Seedling Collective. Stay tuned for details!

Nicole (Nikki) Marie Powers, Nourish & Refine

Rahama Wright, The Pop Up Collaborative

Kathryn Hupczey, rtsn Designs

Jessica Hinton-Moore, District Hemp Botanicals

Thank you to everyone who submitted your thoughtful, amazing applications. We can’t stress enough how exciting this competition was for us in seeing how many talented business ideas are thriving in our area. We hope to run this competition again, so please stay tuned for more opportunities to show your work at The Seedling Collective! (Or… better yet: apply for membership and sign up for your own pop-up soon!)

Meaghan Foran