Washington—The votes are in and Tanna Dang, co-owner of Eden in Love, an apparel and accessories boutique in Honolulu, is $25,000 richer, thanks to the National Retail Federation (NRF)’s “This is Retail” video contest.
Nor that the civic-minded Dang will use the prize money for anything other than philanthropic efforts.
“This content has reinforced that retail is bigger than all we really know,” Dang told 200 retail executives and lobbyists at NRF’s Leadership Conference last week. “We will use this grand prize to take our staff on an international mission trip to spread the opportunity that retail brings.”
In fact, Dang had said one of her chief reasons for entering the contest was to be able to grant opportunities to those who are less fortunate. With her prize money, Dang now has plans to help a village in Thailand or China by supplying tools and training to sustain a healthy living.
In her video, Dang illustrates how her boutique has created opportunity and transformed lives in her community—and she received nearly 30,000 views since the NRF posted it live on April 3.
Challenged to tell how retail is important in a community as well as society, Dang and the other retailers submitted their videos which were eventually narrowed down to the top 20.
From there the NRF solicited votes from fellow retailers and the public, asking them to vote for their favorite videos. Retailers from the top three videos were invited to the conference to receive their ranking and prizes.
Dang, who said her retail career began 12 year ago, said her philanthropic efforts began at home. In January, Eden in Love and The Wedding Cafe hosted a special styling session with nine patients from the Kapiolani Medical Center’s Pediatric Oncology Department. Each girl had their hair and makeup done, picked out and kept special outfits from the store, and had pictures taken by a professional photographer.
Winning second place with $15,000 was Kim Williams of Polka Dot Press in Tallahassee, Florida. was honored with $15,000 for second place. “In my 20 years of retail, I’ve never worked as hard as I have in this contest–but I’ve never felt so rewarded, either,” Williams said, noting that “raising awareness for retail and my community” superseded any financial reward.
Susan Kaufman of Market Alley Wines in Monmouth, Illinois, received the third prize of $10,000. “Leaving my career in journalism to open a retail store was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Kaufman said.
A special Judge’s Choice Award went to Jim Adams of Falls Road Running Store in Baltimore. NRF judges honored Adams for his story about how retail powers the economy with a sponsorship for the Baltimore Marathon in his store’s name.