Black Friday is a frantic excuse to be greedy, a so-called reason to step over your fellow human beings for a chance to score a deal on a few tasteless items, in a last minute attempt to find holiday gifts and appliances.
If, after your hurried attempt to save, you're seeking redemption or reassurance that our commercial world is still a civil place, head on over to Makers Mart, an event to be held in celebration of Small Business Saturday, a national initiative made local in Long Beach's East Village. On November 29, from 11:00AM to 5:00PM, on 1st and Linden, join the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) and over thirty independent, local makers who have put their heart and soul into their work and want to share it with pride.
We’ve become such a ‘mass produced’ society,” explained Lizbeth Molina, owner and creator of RawFinery. “It’s so refreshing to leave behind the generic and support our local talent…our local small businesses and makers.”
Stephanie Saharopulos, owner of Peacock and Co, a well received "shop-in-shop" in the classy and affordable boutique known as ANNEISE on 1st St., has represented the East Village shops and Makers Mart as the event planner for the last few years. A maker herself, Saharopulos knows that collaboration is key when it comes to running a successful small business.
Photos from last year's event courtesy of Stephanie Saharopulos.
"It's such a good feeling to watch people come together and collaborate through creativity," she said. "How cool is it to know that there are people in our city making handcrafted goods in their living rooms? That should be celebrated!"
Saharopulos met Jose Cordon, co-owner of 1897LB and Kat Engel, owner of Make Collectives, when she was working as a DJ for Kimberly Latham, owner of ANNEISE and organizer of a monthly Food Truck event in the East Village Arts park. What started as a regular gathering between like-minded friends became a full blown Small Business Saturday event that last year, hosted 20-plus vendors and attracted over 250 attendees. This year, the DLBA became a partner of Makers Mart to increase the event's footprint with the power to close the street and add more entertainment, decor and promotional assistance.
"Money spent with local small business is more likely to stay within the community," explained Gina Dartt, Marketing and Special Events Manager of the DLBA. "Local small businesses build character and bring a unique neighborhood feel. The small businesses in our Downtown distinguish us from other communities with an eclectic mix of goods and services."
Makers Mart will finally be realized as the perfect blend of makers, food vendors, vintage sellers and live music. Local talents, Casi Son, a latin band and Alicia Murphy, a singer-songwriter, will be performing amongst several DJ sets.
In order to satisfy, as well as nurture an increasing consumer interest in shopping local for the experience, convenience and the authenticity of the product, the DLBA has made a Holiday Gift Guide to lead shoppers to over 50 locations throughout downtown. Shoppers who attend Makers Mart will receive the guide upon their arrival.
Noah Cowan, owner and creator of Aura Knifeworks said, “I’m excited to connect with my community and its creative people. A good craft show is like a good knife, hardly ever dull.” Cowan and his team will be showing off several of their most recent knives, made for both amateur and professional chefs.
The long list of makers who will be showing their wares are a fine example of the creativity fostered in Long Beach. Whether a jewelry designer, a painter or an independent coffee shop, small businesses give our city the character that distinguishes it from the rest. In order to keep this culture alive, we need to support the growth of our designers, metalsmiths, tastemakers and more.
Lacee Norris of Lacee Alexandra Jewelry, who will be sharing a booth with Rock Elegance, said, "I love being part of this small community of local artists in Long Beach. I'm most excited about connecting with the other vendors and meeting the shoppers who want to support us."
Saharopulos makes textured wall pieces and works with natural materials that bring wood, fiber and all things botany together. She said, "It brings me so much joy when customers ask, 'Is this locally made?' and I get to say, 'Yes, I made that!'"
"The best part of owning and running my own business is finding beautiful pieces," she explained. "I have never been so wonderfully consumed with anything in my work life. I love getting to know people in the community. I have lived in Long Beach for almost 18 years and have always loved this city. It's a dream come true to be in a place where I get to connect with such a diverse group of people on a daily basis."
"I’m counting down the days till Makers Mart,” said Molina. “It’s very exciting to have your work realized in person, it’s ‘showtime.’ We are Long Beach…this city and it’s people inspire us. I’m proud of the local business and talent this city has to offer and I am damn proud to live here.”
The complete list of Makers Mart vendors:
- Aura Chef
- UpCreek Paddle
- Legacy Brand Leather
- Harlow Jade
- Lieu Noir
- A Touch of Grace
- Lacee Alexandra
- Rock Elegance
- Paradigm Design
- Kind Beauty Collection
- Willow and Pine
- Fancy Disaster
- Lady Farmer
- Heartbreak Coffee
- LB Jerky Co
- Zombie Dog
- Brushstrokes & Beverages
- Private Arts
- Kelso Doesn’t Dance
- Beora Jewelry
- Dave Cineart
- Gift Wrapping booth – Inessa Nichols
- Paper Wilderness
- Fern and Feather
- Blossom Vintage
- Site Space
- The Living Room
- Small Room Collective
- See Kim
- Tania Lamm
- Bent By Victoria
- Sam Danam
- Marko' s Treats