Transactional Love: The Why Behind the Buy

Photos by Michael Van Auken

This Benicia duo pulls the curtain back on the connections we have with commerce while providing a platform for passionate entrepreneurs on their Transactional Love podcast. 

Transactional Love is a podcast that’s fabulously meaningful, which I almost find hard to define—in a great way.

It’s based on examining the role that community plays in entrepreneurship. It examines current real trends and explores the “why behind the buy,” and what kind of connection we crave to make when making a purchase. When Benicia resident Norma Perez walked into Wendi Shavon’s flower shop on First Street, she had no idea the bond that would form or that they’d be hosting a podcast together.

“I opened a flower shop in town so I met a lot of the community that way,” says Shavon. “Norma came in and fell in love with me! … she came in a few times, and then we started hanging out outside of this.”

“Yeah, we met through her shop which is what inspired the podcast,” Perez says. “It’s about how small business informs how communities are embodied. I loved not only her but what she was creating in our town … I found that we loved a lot of the same things around small business. We aligned on how important entrepreneurship is; it’s rooted in what this podcast is all about … I feel like we had a lot of philosophical conversations around economy.”

Benicia residents Perez and Shavon have different backgrounds, though it came as no surprise to me that they each wear many impressive hats. Perez sits on Benicia’s Economic Development Board and works in architecture, real estate development, and brand development; Shavon still owns her flower shop which is now run out of her home, teaches yoga, and is a wine rep. Though these experiences lend well to their podcast’s theme, they’re both all about connecting on a deeper level, which influenced the podcast’s name.

“The name Transactional Love comes from a party that I hosted in the courtyard of my flower shop,” Shavon says. “I invited all of my favorite people. There was chatting, sharing of ideas, and exchanging what makes us all tick … I made sure to have name tags without peoples’ professions … It encouraged people to dive in quickly. At the end of the conversation, the themes were unconditional love, instant rejection, and that all love is actually transactional. Transactional love is how energy really does move from one to the next.”

“Every business is human; there’s a human behind it,” adds Perez. 

After becoming fast friends, Transactional Love was born as a sort of passion project for them both—but the two busy moms needed a little nudge to get going.

“It was neither of our ideas to start a podcast,” Shavon shares. “Norma’s husband, our third party program manager in a lot of ways, a little angel on the shoulder that says ‘keep going,’ created a space for Norma in the garage and he’s like, ‘here’s your podcast.’” 

 “‘I’m like, ‘I’m doing a podcast?!’” Perez laughs.

Now fully stocked with a comfy couch, a wine fridge, and a disco ball, it’s safe to say the two, who live mere blocks away from one another, have settled into their space and roles as podcasters. Transactional Love launched its first episode in November 2023 and already has over 7,000 followers on Instagram. They’ve showcased such local entrepreneurs as Katherine Berg of Will & Atlas, which makes fair-trade items, and Nicole Yarborough of Pink Arrows Boutique—though the podcast transcends our town.

“We asked ourselves, ‘is this a Benicia podcast?’ We very quickly said no, but it’s rooted in Benicia,” Perez says.

“We wanted it to be bigger than this town … yes, we’re rooted in community in Benicia, but through this podcast, we can reach a wider audience.”

“The root of community, for me, is commerce; that local business that you go into and physically interact with,” adds Shavon. “It doesn’t just happen in Benicia, it happens all over. The experience is both unique and universal.”

What’s up next for the duo?

In August, it’ll be a casual trip to Europe, including Paris and Vienna, that is coming together thanks to a guest on a podcast episode.

“This was the first time we had a guest that wasn’t a personal friend. The first ‘oh, this might not be just a little hobby that nobody needs to know about’ moment,” Nora shares. “Because of this conversation, the CEO of Camp Chateau in France is opening up this fork in the road in life in a way.”

Episodes recapping the trip will be out in October and November. In the meantime, check out Transacional Love’s existing episodes for yourself at transactionallove.org, where you can hear a featured product from each guest at the end of every episode and easily click to be directed to each podcast guest’s business page.

Transactional Love podcast hosts Norma Perez and Wendi Shavon blurred in the background with microphone in focus in foreground