Philadelphia is home to a wide cast of people from all over the world. What Christmas means to them is a reflection of how colorful and spirited the season is in itself. Monika Schermer, owner of Bohemian Pink in Chestnut Hill, is bringing her own vibrant experience as a vendor to Christmas Village. She’s been seeing pink for some time and looks to spread the color to brighten and strengthen the community.
Schermer started her business 20 years ago, importing wooden toys and puppets from the Czech Republic. A first generation Czech, she spent some time living in Prague and felt inspired to be an entrepreneur. “My time in Prague was right after the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and there was a tremendous entrepreneurial spirit in Prague that rubbed off on me,” she says. Upon coming to the United States, she had no desire for a static office job and decided to start her own business.
Since then, she’sestablished herself as a staple craftshop owner in Chestnut Hill and a regular vendor at Christmas Village. This year, she’s making her Christmas Village collection personal — featuring personalized items with monograms in an effort to “make [everyone] feel special.” This idea serves as a motif behind her Bohemian Pink brand, as Schermer recognizes the importance of interaction, conversation and human touch. Despite the dawn of digital shopping, Schermer does most of her business in person — at shows, events and conventions.
The journey hasn’t always been easy. Schermer noted that she didn’t turn a profit for her first three years in business. “The biggest challenge to being an entrepreneur anywhere is that is takes time to grow your business,” she says. But she sustained a thorough, positive attitude: “If you can dream it, you can achieve it!”
Schermer serves as an inspiration to women of all ages. She’s a Girl Scout volunteer, leading both a troop and a service of almost 200 girls. “I am always encouraging girls to do their best and telling them they can do anything they set their minds to,” she said. She inspires people to “live colorfully.” The products she sells are colorful and bright and can be worn all year round.
Christmas is a special time for Schermer. Living in Prague and also in West Berlin as a high school exchange student [with the Berlin Wall still intact], Schermer recalls Christmas Markets as vital part of European culture. She notes: “It is also a great way to do your holiday shopping without having to step foot in a mall. By shopping at Christmas Village, customers support small business like my own and have a direct impact on local families.”
Be sure to find Schermer and Bohemian Pink at this year’s Christmas Village at City Hall, or stop by and say hello at her store in Chestnut Hill, located at 8617 Germantown Ave.