“I’m a woman
(Extract of Maya Angelou’s poem Phenomenal Woman)
Asheville is full of phenomenally phenomenal women. They are mothers, friends, lovers, employers, employees, stay-at-home moms, wizards, lovers, fairies, good witches, mischievous witches, dancers, teachers, scientists, spiritual leaders, cat ladies, healers, bird whisperers, volunteers, and amazing!
They work with nonprofits and have imagined and manifested extraordinary women-owned Asheville businesses. They rock big time.
From mobile bookstore, beauty salon, cat café, and donut shop owners to Queen Bees offering free honey tastings and a photographer who doesn’t take photos but makes visual poems, I’ve compiled a list of some great Asheville women-owned businesses and some fun things you can do to support them.
Unfortunately, I had to leave so many incredible businesses out of this list that I’m considering a second article (although it still wouldn’t cover them all!). What are your favorite local women-owned businesses? Please consider mentioning them in the comments so they can be present.
Have fun discovering and supporting these and other Asheville women-owned businesses!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).
17 Incredible Women-Owned Businesses in Asheville
1. Relax and Rewind with a Mushroom Brew at The Pot Stirred
The Pot Stirred is America’s first mushroom café and one of my go-to places to relax after work. I don’t drink alcohol but enjoy entering the next part of my day with a festive, relaxing beverage. I also think mushrooms are one of the greatest medicines for the mind and body, and research continues to prove their wonders.
You’ll love how roomy the alcohol-free space is, the fun decor, and the menu that offers three categories of drinks: Euphoric, Elevated, and Grounded. If unsure, ask for suggestions from the super friendly and knowledgeable staff.
I love Lion’s Mane (it has excellent benefits), so I’ll suggest the Hold Your Gold (turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, ashwagandha, maca root, lemon and ginger simple, and coconut almond milk).
This 100% LGBTQ and woman-owned Asheville business is led by partners Taylon and Aislinn, who “want to normalize the use of mushrooms and adaptogens to relieve stress and enjoy our moments” without using substances that are hard on the body.
In addition to beverages, Delta 8 seltzers, and alcohol-free wine, they have donuts, botanical body products, mood-boosting capsules and supplements, and infused gummies. You can also shop online.
2. Play with Kitties at Cats at Play Café
Cats at Play Café is Asheville’s first cat café and one of the newest woman-owned Asheville businesses. Located downtown, it’s the perfect spot to spend a couple of hours hanging out with cats, playing cat games (Cat-opoly, anyone?), chilling on the super comfy lounge furniture, and drinking unique locally-made beverages. Plus, all the kitties are available for adoption!
The café partners with local animal shelters and organizations that support animals, focusing on adorable senior and special needs cats. You’ll love entering this cat world, starting with the boutique that sells cat-inspired gifts and the menu featuring local herbal elixirs, wine, beer, and hemp beverages. The cat lounge is super welcoming for cats and adults.
The cats have plenty of space to hang out, many structures to play with, tons of toys, and a cat TV showing hilarious squirrel and bird videos. The music is soft and relaxing, and you can give the cats various treats.
The café is super popular among locals and tourists, so please make reservations, especially if you want to visit on weekends. Children older than 10 are welcome.
Location: 12 Eagle Street, Asheville
3. Get Art, Books, and Gifts at Noir Collective Asheville, a Woman/Black-Owned Business
Alexandria owns Noir Collective AVL, a boutique, art gallery, and bookstore featuring Black entrepreneurs. You’ll love her wide smile and willingness to discuss the featured art and help you choose the right souvenir.
The Noir Collective is located in an area of Downtown Asheville called The Block, once part of a more extensive district that used to be the financial and commercial center of the Black community of Asheville and Western North Carolina. Adjacent to this shop is the YMI, one of the country’s first Black community and cultural centers.
The variety of things to explore and buy at Noir Collective will keep you busy for an hour! Posters, candles, visual art, Black-Asheville-related souvenirs (think the great Nina Simone and Roberta Flack).
In addition, they also host a fun First Friday at 5:00 pm, a community gathering, and Liberation Dance Party featuring live music, performances, food, and drinks.
Location: 39 S. Market Street Suite C, Asheville
4. Jump on a Repurposed Teal School Bus and Discover Local Authors at Chapters Bookstop Bookstore
Chapters Bookstop is the first mobile bookstore in town and one of the newest, coolest woman-owned Asheville businesses. Dawn is the founder of this marvel, which opened in May 2023, and she’s already getting and spreading so much love!
She has a full-time job Monday to Thursday, but she managed to transform a 1989 school bus into a magical bookstore in her free time. You’ll find fiction and non-fiction books, books for kids (including some free ones!), and an emphasis on local and regional authors.
In addition, Dawn wants to support local nonprofits. She’ll be donating quarterly to a chosen organization, and she’s already helping promote Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and local volunteering opportunities.
5. Make Your Life Sweeter with a Honey Tasting at Asheville Bee Charmer
Asheville Bee Charmer‘s Queen Bees are Jillian and Kim. They own two honey shops in Downtown Asheville, selling between 25 and 35 varieties of honey and offering a unique honey-tasting bar. The best news? The tastings are free!
This woman-owned Asheville shop sells liquid gold from around the world. The vast offering includes varieties from their beekeepers and small-batch honey from beekeepers worldwide.
You’ll love the Sourwood Honey from the NC Appalachian Mountains – Sourwood Honey is “the quintessential mountain honey” – and the Smokin’ Hot Honey, infused with NC applewood smoked chipotle chilies and a dab of vinegar.
In addition to pure and infused honey, they sell honey straws, honey gift sets, and other goodies. They also have unique body care products, including soaps, scents, and beard care stuff!
“I shouldn’t think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.” – Dodie Smith
6. Visit Fermenti and Get Amazing Living Food Full of Probiotics
Fermenti is Asheville’s only store dedicated to preserving the tradition of fermented foods. Meg Chamberlain founded this company that produces award-winning kimchi, among other goodies. It also sells fermentation kits and hosts a monthly Fermentation Club.
This is the go-to place if you are looking to start making your fermented foods or if you want to incorporate more probiotics into your diet. Their products are raw, vegan, organic, and handcrafted.
You’ll love the kimchi you can use as a condiment, the Ginger Turmeric Pink Kraut, the Apple Carrot Kraut, the Fermented Beets with Ginger, and the Hot Sauce. In addition, they also sell fermented and non-fermented foods from other fantastic local businesses. Follow Fermenti’s Youtube channel for tutorials or check out some easy recipes.
In addition to this goodness, Meg is also the founder of the WNC Fermenting Festival, dedicated to food preservation and fermentation, with many vendors and activities for the entire family. All the profits are donated to the Beacon of Hope Food Bank of Marshall, NC.
7. Revitalize Your Cocktails or Mocktails with Elixirs from The MerTails
The MerTails‘ mixology infused with herbalism offers elixirs meant to foster vitality. Jillian is the woman behind these magical potions made of herbs, fruits, flowers, and roots.
The elixirs are free from natural flavors, pure extracts, chemicals, and preservatives. They source their ingredients super carefully and wildcraft some in the Appalachia, Sonora, and the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.
You can pair their elixirs with spirits of your choice or use them to make mocktails. I’m sure you understand the “tail” part of the name well, but what about the “mer?” It means “Minerals, Electrolytes, and Real Plants.”
They make their brews in small batches and follow the lunar calendar, inspired by traditional folk traditions. They also “whisper sweet nothings into every bottle before capping it!”
8. Meet the New Female Owner of the Iconic Stay Glazed Donuts and Cafe
Samantha is the new owner of Stay Glazed Donuts and Cafe, one of the best places to eat donuts in Asheville and a downtown landmark in the basement of the Jackson Building right in Pack Square.
She’s been bringing new flavors, new decor, and new hours to Stay Glazed – the shop sells late-night donuts between 7:00 pm and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays!
With a motto of “Get Glazed…Stay Glazed…Be Dope…,” this place serves small batch, hand-cut donuts made daily, specializing in “weird flavors.” There are two types of donuts: 24-hour raised brioche yeast (what a unique texture!) and the only gluten-free mochi dough in Asheville.
You’ll love the newly done lounging space with an oversized sectional and chalkboard walls where you can draw, the funky decor, and the originality of flavors, including Matcha Pineapple, Peach Watermelon, Almond Biscotti, Icee, Maple Bacon, Cosmic Brownie, and their famous Simpsons donut.
After seeing their Instagram post last week, I went downtown specifically to eat a brioche donut stuffed with whipped goat cheese, pineapple soaked in coconut water, and roasted jalapeños, topped with a pineapple glaze and sugared jalapeño! They often sell out before closing time, so go there early!
Location: 22 S Pack Square, Asheville
9. Pamper Yourself with a New Hairstyle, a Pedicure, and Some Gifts at Willow’s Dream
Willow’s Dream has been voted a “Top Salon in Western NC” since opening in 2004 (Best of WNC, Mountain Xpress). The owner is Marcy, one of downtown’s friendliest faces and an excellent hairstylist.
The salon offers various services, and the many stylists who operate independently bring unique offerings to their booth. Whatever your beauty desire is, you can get it done here. From special occasion styling, makeup application, and eyebrow and eyelash tinting to fairy hair, hair extensions, haircuts, and more, they have you covered!
Since each stylist works independently and owns their own business, I’d like to mention the amazing Genevieve Hull, who specializes in wavy/curly hair and natural hair coloring.
If you want a top-notch pedicure service, Leah is the person to see! She’s been voted the “Best Nail Technician in WNC” and is among the most exciting people I’ve ever known. I look forward to our monthly appointment so she can give me her insights and ideas about everything.
In addition to these beautiful services, Willow Dream sells the cutest gifts, and you get a 20% discount on the day of your appointment!
10. Let Jesse Kitt Photography’s Talent Capture Your Unique Essence
“Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history” (Plato). Jesse will see and photograph the essence of you, your family, your relationship, or your special event and create gorgeous visual poems that you’ll treasure forever.
This amazing woman loves people, family, nature, poetry, and activism to empower girls and women. She blends all her passions to create her images. She also loves working with and photographing other artists.
“Collaborating with my clients, gently directing, witnessing what unfolds, these are some of my favorite things.” Follow Jesse on Instagram to see her offerings and special packages, or if you’re feeling a little low and need a dose of hope, beauty, and connection.
11. Buy Bags of Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn, Asheville’s Most Famous Snack
The Poppy Manifesto doesn’t leave room for doubts – it starts with, “We believe Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn is the best popcorn you will ever eat.” Self-confidence like that is hard to beat! (Also, how cool is it for a company to have a manifesto?).
In 2014, Ginger opened a shop with one popcorn machine. From the beginning, she had a clear vision of what she wanted Poppy to be: “simple, fun, well-designed, and of course, tasty, without the artificial ingredients found in other popcorn brands.”
Most of the flavors are gluten-free. You’ll especially love the Southern ones: Cinnamon Bourbon Pecan (made with Troy & Sons Cinnamon Honey Whiskey and fresh, caramelized southern pecans) and Pimento Cheese.
This fantastic popcorn is made in Asheville. You can find it all over town and in stores and restaurants around the country. You can also shop online and get the Mystery Bag of the Month for $5.
12. Embellish Your House with Plants from Rosarina Plant Shop
Rosarina Plant Shop is owned by Erika, who started her business as a mobile plant shop on a 1998 GMC Savana School Bus in March 2019. Since then, she has worked on over 60 installations for local businesses and homes. You can now buy her plants at these three local businesses or get her products online.
Are you wondering what “Rosarina” means? As Erika puts it, “This term is used to describe women from Rosario, Argentina, and is a nod to my cultural history and the strong women in my story who taught me about creating nurturing spaces and traditions.” So, this is an Asheville woman-owned business and a Latina-owned business!
You can contact Erika if you want to purchase plants or if you want to add plants to your home or business. She does free local deliveries. In addition, her online shop offers fun merchandise and plant accessories, including lovely leather plant hangers.
Finally, you can also attend workshops and classes with Erika. Follow her on Instagram to see her installations and to get updates.
13. Get Your CBD Goodies at Franny’s Farmacy
Franny, founder and owner of Franny’s Farmacy, grew up in Nashville, TN, on a cattle farm, and, after a successful career in pharmaceutical sales and frustrated with what she called the “unhealthcare system,” she went back to her roots and bought land in Leicester. That’s how Franny’s Farm started.
She soon discovered the power of the hemp plant “as a vital element of plant medicine, regenerative agriculture practices, and sustainable industry.” In 2017, she became the first female hemp farmer in North Carolina in over 75 years, and a year later, she opened her first Franny’s Farmacy Dispensary in Downtown Asheville, NC.
Franny’s Farmacy is now in several cities in the Southeast and offers an online shop where you can get CBD, CBG, and Delta-8 products, including hemp oil tincture gummies, hemp-infused honey sticks, healing salves, chocolates, and calming dog treats.
Location: 231 Biltmore Ave, Asheville
14. Nurture Your Body and Soul with a Drink from Buchi
Buchi began in 2008 with two moms making kombucha for their kids in a kitchen. It rapidly became one of Asheville’s most beloved brands with the mission “to craft delicious, high-quality, nutrient-dense living drinks, invest in the regeneration of our planet, and use business as a conduit for positive social impact.”
Do you want to hear the most incredible detail? Soon after they started, the original Buchi team decided to buy a 180-acre farm in Marshall, NC, and change an urban life for another of “brewing together, working together, living together, and taking on every hardship together.” Besides being a women-owned Asheville business, Buchi is also a community!
Buchi now offers four products: Kombucha (it’s the absolute best!), Living Energy (a potent energy drink packed with probiotics, medicinal mushrooms, and nootropics), Kefir Soda (also great for the guts!), and Wild Pop (a probiotic soda).
The Buchi Bar is located on the downstairs level of Rosetta’s Kitchen in Downtown Asheville and has six flavors of kombucha on tap and excellent food. You can also find Buchi all over the country and in many local grocery stores, restaurants, and cafés (here is the store locator). They deliver locally for free with a minimum of two cases!
Buchi’s beverages are great on their own or mixed in mocktails. The kombuchas can be used in recipes to increase flavor and add probiotics to your diet. Check out some recipes here!
15. Make your own Wedding Rings with Emma Macchiarini, Owner of Mountain Metalworks
Emma Macchiarini is the owner of Mountain Metalworks; a gallery, workspace, and classroom all rolled into one. Emma’s passion for creating beautiful pieces of jewelry, as well as helping others to create their own unique masterpieces, was passed down from her father and grandfather. And she became the first woman of her family to carry on the tradition of bespoke jewelry craftspersonship.
Not only is Mountain Metalworks a great place to shop for beautiful jewelry, handmade by Emma, it’s also one of the only places in south where you can be involved in creating your own custom wedding bands. You can hand-select the metal and any stones, and add a special inscription. And Emma will guide you through all of the steps involved in creating your rings from scratch – cutting the metal, soldering, polishing, and everything in-between.
Emma is a great teacher – she offers a helpful, hands-on approach to help you create a beautiful ring that you’ll love, but also hands-off enough so you can learn actual skills in the art of jewelry making!
Even if you’re not the crafty-type, it’s worth a stop by the Mountain Metalworks to check out the gorgeous jewelry pieces that Emma has for sale. She also does jewelry repair if you need.
Location: 22 London Rd. Asheville, NC
16. Indulge in the Most Fabulous Sweet Treats Made by Melissa, Owner of RosaBees and Cakes by Gray
Melissa owns two of the sweetest spots in Asheville: RosaBees and Cakes by Gray, a Hawaiian/Polynesian restaurant and cake shop. RosaBees serves fantastic food, craft cocktails, and some of the best desserts in Asheville. Melissa and RosaBees have been featured on Netflix’s Sugar Rush (Season Two: “Nutcracker” episode).
Cakes by Gray offers some of the best wedding cakes in Asheville, and it’s been featured in The New York Times. You’ll get to choose between chocolate, vanilla, almond, lemon, and strawberry cakes, a rotating variety of fruit and citrus fillings, and vanilla, basil, coconut, cinnamon, and lavender icings. The bakery is only open by appointment.
You’ll love RosaBees Ube Haupia Pie (layered Hawaiian purple sweet potato, creamy coconut, macadamia nut shortbread crust, lilikoi buttah, pineapple flower, and ube chiffonade) and the Right Side Up Pineapple Butter Mochi (hexagon butter mochi, pineapple curd, bruleed pineapple, cherries, macadamia nut crunch, and whip).
Location: 27 Foundy Street, Asheville
17. Relax at Saint Brighid’s Bar After Exploring the Marquee Design Center in the River Arts District
Saint Brighid’s Bar is a woman-owned Asheville business serving wine, beer, mead, and cider in the heart of the River Arts District. It’s located inside the Marquee design center, a converted 50,000-square-foot warehouse housing 291 vendors selling art, antiques, plants, and everything you can imagine.
Named after the patron saint of brewers, the bar is owned by Cheers and Sláinte and offers a vast menu, including some of the best mocktails in Asheville. You can grab a drink before you start your Marquee journey or finish it with a toast for all the local treasures you got!
You’ll love visiting during Marquee Live, a sip and shop experience, which takes place on the first Sunday of the month. There will be art exhibitions, food trucks, pastry pop-ups, live music, and $1 off all large mimosas, wine, and mead. Finally, you won’t want to miss their free wine tastings and classes!
Location: 36 Foundy Street A1, Asheville