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A Black Mompreneur Transforming the Philly Luxury Design Market

Philadelphia’s newest retail experience is Tina Dixon Spence’s new boutique, Buddha Babe, opening on Small Business Saturday, November 28 (7101 Emlen Street, West Mount Airy). Dixon Spence started the e-commerce business in 2014 at the dining room of her home in Manayunk. Dixon Spence found the choices for clothes and bibs on the market at the time too babyish and sweet for her youngest son Baron (now 7), who she wanted to look like a cool kid.

Today, Buddha Babe is a Philadelphia-based luxury design studio focusing on accessories for babies, toddlers and the home. Envisioned as a true maker’s workshop, the new Buddha Babe location will offer a retail boutique, group-sewing classes, private kids parties, community events and fashion and lifestyle collaborations in the 1,600 square foot space. In addition to her own products, Buddha Babe will also share a small collection of complementary products from local makers.

“My company is all about love. Love for children, love for Philadelphia, love for ourselves. Babies are the most simple symbol of hope in the world, and this business and this store celebrate our hope for the future, and how love makes everything work. I have built a store, a workforce, a fashion line and a community, and I hope that everyone will come for a visit on Small Business Saturday.”

--Tina Dixon Spence, Founder+ Designer, Buddha Babe

The store was poised for opening and looked perfect, but exactly one month prior to the grand opening on October 28, Buddha Babe was the target of looting and civil unrest after the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. Strangers and friends organized a GoFundMe to raise money for the repairs. The community rallied to not let Dixon Spence’s dream end with the destruction caused by the looters. Wallsforjustice stepped in to beautify the temporary plywood boards covering the damage.

Tina has an absolute commitment to bettering the community through Buddha Babe, “My choices are inspired by my desire to make the world a better place for my sons and for all kids. This expansion allows me to create a community around Buddha Babe. It’s the right business, right now,” said Dixon Spence. "Small businesses need so much help right now. The disparity in resources and support given to minority business owners is astounding- and even the funding opportunities require so much paperwork and time to complete that it is prohibitive. On top of that, it takes months and months to get any response. I honestly don't know how many will make it through the winter," added Dixon Spence.

5 Questions for Tina

Favorite place to clear your head-: Sapphire Beach, St. Thomas USVI

Local brand you admire: Harx4 by Renee Hill (Project Runway contestant 2019). Renee and I met as designers-in-residence at MADE Studio back in 2014 when both of our brands were still a concept. We have followed and encouraged each other over the years, often taking up space at MADE Institute when we needed to be in a creative environment outside of our own studios. I'm so proud to have her as a friend, and am looking forward to collaborating with her in the near future.

Favorite guilty pleasure TV/netflix binge: I watch Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) nearly every weekend. It helps me feel fierce!

Favorite place to grab a drink or coffee: McNenamins Tavern in Mt Airy is my after work go-to.

Favorite business book: Thrive by Arianna Huffington- the business of living a balanced life.

OPENING DETAILS: The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 9:15 AM this Saturday. Due to covid restrictions it will be scaled down but between 10 AM- 7 PM you can enjoy socially distanced first day activities. The celebration will feature refreshments, gifts with purchase and surprises for shoppers. Curbside pick up and online ordering are also available. Products are handcrafted in the workshop by Tina and her team.

All photos by Heather McBride Photography

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