Made. A Local Market recently held its inaugural handmade/indie market at the Mesa Convention Center in August. Friends- Shesten and Tawnya launched Made on the premise of wanting to bring more of a handmade and local businesses to the Easy Valley, a.k.a.- Mesa area. “We love our other brand, Swoon Boutique, but we just wanted to do something bigger. We launched Made. with the vision of taking our favorites with us to Made. events around Arizona. We have a true passion for local, and bringing people and makers together,” the girls told me.”We give back to our community through our wish wall. We pair items from local makers that can help support wishes from the people who are shopping local. It’s free to come. We do workshops, which really aren’t done in the size event we do. And, we do it with a really small staff so that we can keep costs for our makers as low as possible.”
Upon entering the area of the convention center where Made. was located, I saw that a wish wall, a step-and-repeat and area where we could write our wishes down, had been set up in the reception area. Local artist, Sassy Krayola, created the dandelion design for the wall, because after all, dandelions are known for making a wish. After jotting down my wish and inserting it into an available slot on the wall, I went in and browsed the market.
It helped that the girls had posted about the makers and who to follow on their Instagram before the market, so it made it easier for me to scope out my favorite artists. I visited with familiar faces and chatted up lovely new-to-me brands. This market had a central checkout system, which also enabled the vendors to not necessarily be there the whole time of the market. While yes, it was convenient, I would have rather have done business strictly with the vendor. Plus, I also like talking to them about their wares and how they got started, etc.
Here are my take-aways/favorite vendors from the market:
* The Zen Bird offers funky reversible headbands for the yogi or casual wearer. Marian Mellon is the gal behind the brand. She believes in positive thinking and offers workshops that help to empower women. (I went to a workshop in August and it was amazing! Met a great group of women.)
* Prickley Peach Designs owners Elice and Kerry do custom glitter signs. My favorites include the cactus (obvs), Arizona and California love signs.
* Modern Roots Kids Co. had the cutest cactus print set…Now if only it were available in adult sizes…
* Chalk Art Love owner Kathy Blokdijk creates custom-made chalk signs and wood signs. I not only loved her cactus and Arizona themed signs, but also thought that the others were cute and would make great gifts.
* Cindy’s Custom Creations offers custom gifts for everyone. My favorites were the embroidered “cat lady” pillows and state keychains.
* Prickly Pear Lane owners Andrea and Heather provide mainly for the pint-size crowd. They make clothing, stuffed cactus and dinosaurs, rattlers, and bibs in a variety of print and color ways. I now own a cactus with pom-pom trim, and could seriously collect them all.
* Don’t Touch My Stache serves up some tasty homemade jellies, along with Cowboy Candy, pickles, and more!
* Moss. Points. North‘s Amy Guerrero creates handmade macrame plant holders, the cutest wall hangings, macrame keychains, and fabric covered thumbtacks.
* FREE chair massages, courtesy of Floating Lotus! I can’t wait to go to their brick n’ mortar in downtown Mesa for a hot stone massage.
* Heritage Flowers furnished adorable hanging terrariums, and succulents in minimal pots.
* Lettie Lovendale owner Heather DeSimone fashions jewelry from vintage lucite pieces. I’m actually somewhat envious of how she got her start. She was contacted by a man in New England who had managed a manufacturing company that made lucite parts for famous jewelry designers back in the 60s-80s. This man still had pounds upon pounds of leftovers from when this manufacturer moved. Guess who was the uber-lucky recipient of the treasure trove… I’m so glad that she got the treasure, because who knows where it would’ve ended up. She’s sharing her finds with whoever buyers her wearable art.
* Sunshine & Cacti‘s Traci Ducusin created this monthly subscription box service that focuses on local Arizona culture and designed to build engagement within the community.
* Spoonsen Forksen artist Andrea Bapst creates one-of-a-kind jewelry from vintage silverware. If you have or know of someone who has Grandma’s old silverware sitting around, collecting dust and such, I highly recommend contacting Andrea, who will create something memorable for you!
* Architect-turned-jewelry designer- Sonia Gracia of Sonia Gracia Handmade, offers a variety of clay-based minimal jewelry, Arizona state ornaments, and cute clay cactus mini gardens. I’m loving the clay tube pendant necklaces and necklaces with clay, wood, and beaded necklaces at the moment.
* Be You Jewelry‘s Lisa Pauling makes hand stamped jewelry that is simple, yet classic. She also creates customized pieces as well. Her brand’s mission statement is: “BElieve in YOUrself.”
* Bubby Goobers… Just seeing the name, made me stop by the booth. But after meeting wife team- “Bubby” and “Goober,” I was really glad I stopped. Their warm personalities emulate their cheeky pastry company’s name. They specialize in yummy pastries, pies, and vegan galettes; while also using organic, non-GMO and local ingredients.
* Ceramics by Judith creator- Judith Amiel-Bendheim creates both ceramics and jewelry. Her ceramic pieces range from sculptural to practical. She develops her jewelry by using beads that she has found though-out her extensive travels.
* Darlin Darlin is a recent start-up by Meg Luther. She curates fun little gifting boxes for weddings, parties, workshops, and other festive occasions. One themed box at the market (which I also bought…naturally…) was the Arizona Gift Box. It contained a Paige Poppe cactus print, a The Zen Bird cactus print headband, a vintage cactus print frosted tea glass, and a Arizona-shaped soap by Lenna’s Luxurious Soaps. Definitely worth the $25, in my opinion! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
* Desert Flower Designs‘ Cynthia Doede creates charming faux flower headwear.
* Big Bubble Bliss is a family-oriented business, created by Amy, her husband, and children. They create bubble kits, which include: the bubble-making solution, wand(s), and bubble net attachment. The kit is meant for the user(s) to create humongous bubbles and just have FUN!
It was a fantastic first Made. market, I’m looking forward to seeing it grow!