The Rosie Network

Everyone recognizes the Rosie the Riveter character. The iconic image of the kerchief-wearing, bicep-bearing woman is indelibly linked with WWII and, specifically, the strength and resilience the women of that era displayed while their men marched off to war. Well, today I’m going to tell you about another woman who turned to Rosie’s image to support and promote military spouse and veteran-owned businesses.

The Rosie Network, a San Diego-based non-profit, was created by Stephanie Brown, wife to a now retired Navy SEAL, in October 2012. Needing to have work done on her home while her husband was deployed, Brown wished there was a way to locate businesses that were connected to the military/veteran community. In what could perhaps be described as typical SEAL fashion, her husband told her, if it didn’t exist, she should build it. So, she did.

Now, along with two other SEAL wives, Jill Ivie and Robin Elliot, Brown runs The Rosie Network entirely in a volunteer capacity. They verify the military-affiliation of each business using ID.me before adding it to the searchable online database. Businesses that join have access to peer support groups, mentoring, and even the ability to build a professional webpage on the site, all of which is provided for free.

Searching the database is also free – it doesn’t even require a log-in. Simply visit The Rosie Network website and enter the city, state, and distance you’d like to search. The search returns a list business and services in the area, their location and distance from your entered location, a one-line summary of that business, and the option to click on their Rosie’s webpage. I did a couple of random searches and here are just a few of the businesses I came across:

  • Yesterday’s Uniforms, which makes handbags and accessories from uniforms
  • The Hunter Mansion, which holds all kinds of special events, from Mad Hatter Tea Parties to baby showers and wine tasting and, my personal favorite, Murder Mystery Parties
  • Badunkachunk, which makes incredibly yummy looking cookies with names like “Vanilla Chai Latte” and “S’mores Some More”
  • Nomadés consultants based all across the US have Rosie’s pages where you can get your hands on those awesome, military-themed charms

These are just a few of the products and services represented on The Rosie Network. Others include pet sitters, photographers, financial planners, yoga instructors, mechanics, graphic designers, and many others.

Be sure to check out The Rosie Network’s Facebook page, where they spotlight other milspouse and veteran-owned businesses. And you can get a face-to-face when you check out Rosie’s Military Family Owned Small Business Showcases Aug 15-17 at the Port City Rib Fest in Wilmington, NC, or Sept 18-21 at the Queen City BBQ & Music Fest in Concord, NC.

© 2014, Sarah Maples. All rights reserved.

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