Makers Market, making opportunities to support local

At the first Makers Market of 2021, vendors of the market stressed the importance of markets for maintaining local business during uncertain times.

Vendors stress the importance of event during uncertain times. 

Bailey Howard
Kicker

The first Makers Market of 2021 took place on Feb. 7 at the Bowring Building in St. John’s. Vendors stressed the importance of in-person markets for selling their products and attracting new customers. Bailey Howard/ Kicker

The second Makers Market was held on Feb. 7. The event was held at Collingwood Spirits and Wines in the Bowring Building. 

Hannah Green and Jane Bonia, the organizers of the Makers Markets, had sold their own products online throughout 2020. The two came together with the idea of creating a new market for those looking to branch out from their online shops to the world of markets.

With a wide range of local vendors, the first Makers Market of 2021 showcased clothing, plants, pottery, baked goods, handmade bath products, leather products, vintage items and everything in between. 

Green says she was familiar with the long list of vendors waiting to get into already existing markets in St. John’s.

“It’s definitely hard to get into other markets, so we said let’s make our own,” said Green.

Green was also one of the vendors at the market with her business Bake my Day selling baked goods and desserts. 

“When I was doing my weekend (online) goodies during the pandemic, I was probably getting 15-20 orders a weekend but then at the market in November, we had 475 people come through in a five-hour period.”  

Green said having in-person markets reaches beyond social media and helps people stumble upon local business they might not have otherwise encountered.

“You’re hitting the people who are out going for walks that don’t have social media or don’t follow us. You’re hitting the people who don’t go on Instagram or Facebook, which is huge” 

Bonia, one of the organizers, combined her craft of creating jewelry with her other hobbies of making crafts and floristry to create her business Jane Down the Lane. 

“Especially in times right now with the pandemic going on, it’s hard for people to get products in stores due to capacity being an issue,” said Bonia. “It’s hard for people to have pop ups in stores. All of us have to band together [to] get our stuff out there to promote shopping local and supporting local.” 

One of the vendors at the Makers Market were mother and daughter duo Dana Tobin and Maryann Tobin who run a business called Grassroots. It’s a local business that features houseplants from basic to rare tropicals as well as apparel and accessories. 

“Most of our growers are local, too,” said Dana Tobin. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dana says houseplant sales soared.

“During the pandemic the houseplant industry quadrupled, even growers ran out and Newfoundland, they say, is a huge customer. Newfoundlanders love their plants” 

Grassroots launched just two weeks before the November Makers Market and the pair says it was a great way to get their name out there. 

 

Grassroots launched two weeks before the first Makers Market in November. The local company is run by mother and daughter duo Dana and Maryann Tobin. Bailey Howard/ Kicker

Another vendor showcasing their craft was Youngblood Leatherworks. Adam Young says they make handcrafted leather goods such as earrings, bracelets, keychains, belts, wallets and more. 

It’s important, Young says, for people to interact with the products, something he says that can get lost through just seeing a product online.

“I think it’s important (to have in-person markets),” said Young. “There’s certainly a tactile element that gets lost through online sales and having pictures and videos alone. It’s nice to be able to touch, smell and feel a product.” 

With the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of markets in Newfoundland and Labrador also remains uncertain. On Tuesday, government announced a limited shutdown in the metro St. John’s area after an outbreak at a Mount Pearl high school. 

The challenges of hosting a market, said Bonia, is staying in tune with the changes of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We’ve always been really careful,” said Bonia. “We’re listening everyday to the updates to keep on the up and up of what’s happening and tuning our measures accordingly.”

 

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