Featured photo: Sista Girl Greeting Cards were featured at the 14th Annual Flint Handmade Holiday Craft Market. Photos by L.M. Land.
By Tanya Terry
Twenty one artisans showcased and sold their handmade items at Flint Farmer’s Market on Small Business Saturday, at the 14th Annual Flint Handmade Holiday Craft Market. About 800 attendees came to both support the event and enjoy it.
Crystal Pepperdine, executive director of Flint Handmade, said the nonprofit organization was glad they were able to have a mask requirement so they could have the event for the community, as well as the artisans.
“The artisans haven’t been unable to participate in events for some time because it just hasn’t been safe to host them,” Pepperdine said. “We think it’s important to support our local artisans. They’re small business owners. We encourage people to shop small, shop local and shop handmade for the holidays.”
Pepperdine stated the fact there is a requirement the items must be handmade brings a caliber of artisans to Flint Handmade shows that is very appealing to customers.
This is was the first year Flint Handmade offered VIP Early Bird tickets for $5 for the first hour of shopping, along with the regular $1 adult tickets.
“Definitely I think the people who purchased the early bird tickets were thankful to be able to see the items first,” Pepperdine said.
She noted it was also less crowded during the first hour, allowing for a very comfortable shopping experience.
The first 250 shoppers received jingle bell necklaces.
Live music was provided by Erik McIntyre and Shannon Wade.
“I think it really added a lot to the atmosphere. We take evaluations from vendors and shoppers and many people mentioned how much they loved having the live music-just to give it a more festive environment.”
According to Pepperdine, Flint Handmade hasn’t had live music for the event in almost a decade. The venue was switched from the Flint Masonic Temple to the Farmer’s Market. Pepperdine feels the lighting at the Farmer’s Market was a “nice amenity” for the slightly smaller event.
“We’re so excited that Communities First and the Masonic Temple recently received the grant to do some renovations to make the Masonic Temple a premier venue for local arts. It’s going to be so nice when they have everything fully operational!”
Flint Handmade purchased about $9,000 worth of items from the artisans wholesale during the pandemic, which allowed the artisans to make some money and provided the opportunity for local residents to shop local and handmade.
Their holiday catalog was released December 1 in 2021 on Flint Handmade’s website, http://www.flinthandmade.org/. It includes greeting cards, bath and body products, hot chocolate & café mocha and other “care package” items. There are items from artisans who were at the recent show at Farmer’s Market, as well as items from other artisans.
“It was very popular last year when we couldn’t have our in-person show. There are still folks who don’t feel comfortable going to events. So we have this option available-free porch delivery in Genesee County and $5 flat rate shipping in the continuous United States.”
There were about half as many vendors at the 2021 Holiday Craft Market compared to previous holiday shows. However, according to Pepperdine the vendors sold fairly comparable to how they sold in 2019.
“As a nonprofit organization our goal is not to make money off the artisans, but our goal is really to support those small businesses and give them a venue to sell handmade only, local, modern goods-and they appreciate having that opportunity.”