My eyes must've gone wide when I walked by the BITCHSTIX booth, because the two women there just laughed. No doubt, they get it all the time. I had to stop and ask.
BITCHSTIX is a lip balm company, but not just any lip balm company. Founded in 2016 by Emily Kennerk, of Indianapolis, BITCHSTIX gives back to domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programs. Retailers who sell the brand can nominate an organization to give back to, and at the end of the year, the brand's board chooses one or two finalists to award a sum of money. Last year, the first full year, Kennerk gave away $10,000 to two.
So why use the word "bitch," other than to catch people's attention?
Kennerk explains it like this: The reappropriation of the word "bitch" subverts the use of the word as a tool of oppression to dominate or shame a person, into the opportunity of empowerment.
"We all have a moment in our life when we have to stand up for ourselves or someone else and this was mine," she said. "I'm not going to own the shame of the word."
When Kennerk started, she wanted to be in the outdoor industry. But the yoga and fashion world were drawn to her product first. This show is Kennerk's first and she's psyched to finally be where she had first hoped.
With an SPF 30 lip balm in lots of different flavors, "Big Face" SPF 30 sunscreen, "Quit Your Bitchin'" muscle rub, and "Son Of A Bitch" anti-chafe balm, hikers, cyclists, and travelers will appreciate the easy-to-carry sticks that are palm-oil free and vegan-friendly.
Find BITCHSTIX at #VO423-SL.