Gift It Gray owner, Alison Tubby, offered an innovative approach to marketing on Bay Day by combining brick and mortar retail premises with a temporary crafts market. She was inspired by the concept of pop-up markets that she saw on social media and decided to apply the concept for local makers using some space in the basement of her Barry’s Bay shop. At first she approached vendors whose products she already carried in the shop but soon others began contacting her. Tubby aims to run a Maker Market every long weekend this season, but her eventual goal is to also have special markets through the year for events like Mothers Day and Fathers Day.
Pictured above: 3 generations at the first Maker Market, Alison Tubby (R) with her mother Margaret Gray and her children Caleb and Skyla.
Each vendor pays Tubby a small table fee to participate, then collects their own fees from customers. A vendor who joins a Maker Market at Gift It Gray must be on social media and co-promote the event with Tubby. Currently she can offer space to just three or four vendors at a time but she hopes to expand.
Tubby likes to think of it as a win/win. Not only does each vendor get sales and greater customer contact being physically present in the shop for the event, but it brings new people into the store. She says having a pop-up Maker Market in her shop is similar to a town holding events like an Artisan Festival or Farmers’ Market. People will stop when they see something unusual as they pass by. If they come specifically to attend a particular event, they often also shop or eat elsewhere in the village while they are here. Tubby feels that an innovative approach like this one has the potential to create a positive impact on the local economy.
The Current interviewed two Ottawa Valley artisans at the first Maker Market.
Sew Perfect By The Lake
Vendor Connie Olmstead (left) loves to sew baby items. Although she has a job at the Candlewick Gift Shop in Cobden, she gets up early and sews for a few hours before going to work. What started as a hobby has turned into a thriving part-time business. Olmstead sells her goods online via her Facebook page and in other Ottawa Valley shops as well as Gift It Gray. Every one of her unique designs is made from soft flannel. Click HERE to visit her Facebook page.
Tammy Stuart (right) took over the business last year from Laurie and Jack Stephenson when she found herself working three part-time jobs including one for a friend of the Stephensons. Upon discovering that they were not going to make soap any more, Stuart said she asked her friend for an introduction so she could learn how to do it. She quickly mastered the process and found herself with one very full-time job as the new owner of Opeongo Soaps. Stuart still uses the recipes (and goats milk) from the Stephensons. However, she experiments with new recipes and ingredients so she can adapt to customer needs and new regulations. An example is what she calls her Everything Soap containing honey and oatmeal. The name refers to its purpose, not the ingredients, as it can be used for washing hair and body. Click HERE to visit Opeongo Soaps on Facebook.
For information about upcoming Maker Markets, please Click HERE to visit the Gift It Gray Facebook page.