Occasionette celebrates a decade on the Avenue

Occasionette, an independent woman-owned and operated gifts and goods retailer known for creative and inspired gifting celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a host of fun-filled activities slated for Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16.  The shop is located at 1825 E. Passyunk Avenue.  

Owner and Creative Director Sara Villari has become an institution in Philadelphia and the surrounding area for being the quintessential one-stop-shop for unique and thoughtful gifts.  Villari entered the retail industry through Etsy, where she handled community management and marketing as one of the website’s original employees.

Occasionette founder Sara Villari // Credit: PUNCH Media.

“Working for Etsy is where I fell in love with retail. But I wanted to create a brick-and-mortar experience and take great gifting offline for a more personalized experience. What we do at Occasionette is connect people through thoughtful gifting,” said Villari. “That’s our main purpose and goal.”

After leaving Etsy, Villari found success by designing and illustrating her own line of tea towels which were wildly popular, stocked by hundreds of boutique shops and major retailers including Crate & Barrel, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom. Subsequently, Villari’s dream of opening her own brick-and-mortar came to fruition in April 2013 when the first Occasionette store opened on East Passyunk Avenue, marking the launch of Philadelphia’s go-to retailer for creative gifts and goods.

Four years later in May 2017, Villari opened a second location in Collingswood, NJ that is now the retailer’s flagship store. As the brand continued to grow and flourish, Villari found less time for her tea towel business, which she sold in 2018. In 2019, Occasionette was awarded a spot on the Philadelphia100® list of fastest growing businesses, making the list again in 2020, and most recently in 2022. Of note, Occasionette was one of the only retail businesses listed each year when featured. In September 2022, a third store opened to great success in Chestnut Hill, and several months later Occasionette opened a holiday pop-up in WorkS Kennett Square.

“We’ve been very mindful about being active members of our communities,” says Villari, “We’re looking ahead to the next decade of Occasionette and will only get there with the continued support of our guests and neighbors.”

In the past decade, the community-driven small business has frequently paid it forward in terms of giving back to their surrounding neighborhoods and local organizations. Amongst a plethora of local and national charitable organizations, Occasionette has donated to Philabundance, The Trevor Project, Black Lives Matter Philly, William Way Community Center, National Immigration Law Center, and Planned Parenthood. In terms of employment relations, Villari has been a driving force in creating a collaborative, hyper-positive workplace for all with various benefits spanning competitive living wages, health benefits for full-time employees, and much more.

Occasionette has provided each neighboring community with a highly curated selection of greeting cards, barware essentials, home décor, jewelry, candles, stationery, wares, children’s essentials, and more, available year-round.  Occasionette’s Vintage Style Ceramic Tree Nightlight received viral success after features in The TODAY Show and Better Homes and Gardens.

As a way of celebrating with the community ahead of its 10th anniversary, Occasionette will hold a fun card count guessing contest from Monday, April 3 through Friday, April 7 where shoppers will have the opportunity to guess the total number of greeting cards sold at all Occasionette locations since opening in 2013. The contest will be held online via Occasionette’s social media accounts, with the winning guess announced on Saturday, April 8. The contest winner will receive two $100 Occasionette gift cards – one for them, and one for a friend.

As a “thank you” to all who have contributed to the success of the continually growing retail shop, the first 100 customers to enter the original East Passyunk location on Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16 will receive a complimentary greeting card of their choice. Additionally, all three Occasionette locations will host a commemorative Sip & Shop on Saturday, April 15 from 4 – 7pm, with prosecco pours.