There are few events that leave me feeling more proud to be an artist and inspired to get making than the Sourced Pop Up.
What is typically our co-working space is transformed into a beautiful, buzzing mini-market where local makers, artists, crafters and designers come to sell their latest and greatest.
On this particular Saturday, the tables are filled with everything from handmade jewelry and body positive swimwear, to crystals, beach bags, ceramics and holistic hair care-- all made with artistry and intention.
I arrive on scene right around the time the mimosas are circling and people are showing off their Spirit Sticks (today’s craft which is hosted in our front yard --the adults seem to love it as much as the kids). As someone who’s passionate about the intersection of art and business, I’m just as excited to get to know the women behind the tables as I am to shop.
My first stop is chatting with Kelsey of The Happy Little Potter. I was drawn in by her bright magenta ceramic tumblers, which I quickly learn is a difficult and unpredictable color to keep when firing the clay. She lights up as she talks about the process. When I asked her how she got started she said, “It’s my break from being a full time mom.”
This turns out to be a common theme here at the pop-up. I hear a similar story from Catherine, the creator behind Angel Del Mar, a stunning seaside-inspired jewelry company. She tells me about how she’s always learning how to balance being a mom and creating her pieces. I’m blown away by her level of output-- each piece is so unique and intentional, and today she’s brought a gorgeous variety.
These stories in particular hit home for me. While I’m not a mom, I also started making art out of a need to do something creative that was just for me. I’m reminded that my story is just one line in a bigger, collective story of passionate makers who do what they do for they joy of it.
In addition to creative expression, there’s another shared origin story circling the market today: creating the solution to a problem that didn’t exist yet.
Love of Love + Snow tells me that after a decade of hair and scalp issues, and trying countless toxic products, she invented a totally organic solution to her problem. I got the full run down on why her hair serum will solve almost all of your hair-related issues and let me tell you: Love knows. Her. Stuff. I was blown away by her knowledge and passion, and learned so much in our short conversation. She had me sold that the key to better hair starts with caring for your scalp.
Helen of Charming Little Lotus, is also bringing something into the world that she desired for herself, but had yet to find: a unique lotus talisman. Since the seed of that original design, her jewelry line has blossomed into an elegant selection that also includes coy fish, flower petals, succulents and more. She shares with me that many of her designs start from the sketches she does in gardens and nature. You can really feel the artistry behind her pieces-- I love that.
And then sometimes the solution one might need is a way to look cool while you’re living your best, active life. This is what Bama of Sixth & Co. brings with her blanket and a bag all in one. Her booth is lined with countless options of colors and patterns for these bags-- so many, in fact, that I was almost in disbelief when she told me her products were all handmade.
As I make my way through the colorful market, trying on rings, picking up crystals and running my hands through the rack of blanket bags, it starts to sink in that each of these vendors is making a positive impact in the world by doing what they’re doing. And that, by shopping with them, so am I.
Brianna of Lavluna healing is particularly enthusiastic about making positive change with her business. Everything she sells, from sage bundles and crystals, to body wash and natural cleaning products, is sold with the intention of supporting the Earth. In addition to being a Reiki healer, she makes many of the products herself (like the cleaners and smudge sticks). Anything not made by her own hands is brought in by other ethical, women-owned small businesses.
And while, what originally told me that Lexi Donanto and I were kindred spirits was her gorgeous pastel-colored branding (my colors!), I soon learn that her business is packing a more powerful punch than excellent business cards. Her swimwear line, LDLA designs, is eco-friendly, body positive and intentionally designed to allow you to feel confident while poolside. Even the typical sizing labels have been replaced with names like Athena and Venus. When I asked her how it came about, she said it was something she just didn’t see yet in existing the swimwear industry-- but that needed to! I couldn’t agree more.
As the vendors pack up and I reflect on my conversations, I have to admit my favorite thing about Pop-Up is not the delicate silver jewelry, the perfectly fitting yellow swimsuits, or the lavender bath salts (although, don’t get me wrong, it’s a CLOSE call). It’s that I always leave these Saturdays energized and hopeful knowing that there are so many small businesses contributing heart-filled and important things to our world.
It makes me think that all shopping experiences should be more like this: face-to-face, hearing the story of the person behind the brand, feeling that much more over-the-moon about your new tea set, seashell necklace and bitchin’ beach bag.
For more information on applying to be a pop up vendor, please visit www.sourcedpopup.com. Join us for our next shopping event on Saturday, September 21st!
All photos by Riley Starr as part of our “grow” package