Angela Dione and Angel Guerra were onto something when they created Market Collective, an independent market, giving local artists and budding entrepreneurs a place to call "home". After spending the last three days in the East Village, at their seven year anniversary event in RiverWalk Plaza, there is no question in my mind that we are now living in the "Age of the Entrepreneur"!
Growing up, our family was one of few that ran their own business. The majority of the adults I knew were medical professionals, school teachers, field workers or worked for the government. When you finished high school you were expected to attend University, which would prepare you for a career in your chosen field (i.e., engineering, lawyer, accountant or nurse). When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up ... "entrepreneur" was not an option on the list.
Although big corporations provide thousands of jobs for Calgarians, increasingly more people are choosing to walk away from their salaried positions and turning their creative passions and ideas into a living. Walking through RiverWalk Plaza, this couldn't be more true as over a hundred vendors, musicians and artists showcased their work at this year's Market Collective 7th Anniversary event!
Happy 7th Birthday, Market Collective!
With the grand opening of the Simmons Building in July (including the delectable eats and treats from charbar, Sidewalk Citizen Artisan Bakery and Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters), the completion of St. Patrick's Island Park, and the recent conclusion of "The Mikado", Market Collective was able to take advantage of the increased foot traffic in the East Village. In addition, the large tent covering installed for Opera in the Village provided shelter for the vendors as props from the show made for a great home for musicians and DJs. From open to close, the grounds were buzzing as Calgarians from all walks of life came to soak up the late summer sun and connect with this growing community!
In speaking with the vendors who regularly showcase at these events, it's obvious there's a great respect for the team of people (and volunteers) that make Market Collective a reality. Some of them even helped to celebrate the anniversary with birthday inspired treats and promotions (like the Market Collective Birthday Ice Pops from Family Freezed)!
Natures Elements on Display
Walking down the aisles, one theme stood out from the start ... respect of nature's elements. From beautiful pieces of nature-inspired art (i.e., Katie Green Visual Artist, Amanda Parker Design, Curtis Dez Photography, and Caitlin Bodewitz Print Works) to custom woodworking and handcrafted furniture (New West Design, Adrian Martinus Custom Woodworking, and Camp & City) the warm colours and rustic textures of wood made Market Collective feel like a bustling forest along the Bow River. One vendor that is "anything but average", who immediately stood out, is Alto Collective. This brotherly duo builds intricately designed wood smartphone cases, minimal wood wallets and high-end wood longboards.
Luxurious Fabrics and Attention to Detail
I am a sucker for "feel good" fabrics and quality manufactured garments. Although a handful of vendors were showcasing beautifully designed clothing, a select few went above and beyond to create a garment-wearing experience. For example:
- Whiteout Workshop took the simplest of garments - the cotton t-shirt - selected incredibly soft materials and meticulously designed the artwork to produce beautiful t-shirts silkscreened by hand.
- Muladhara Yoga Wear carefully sources out culturally-inspired prints and functional fabrics that "hug" the body through the rigours of everyday life (on or off the mat). The clothes feel thick to the touch but are incredibly breathable and (surprisingly) light to wear.
- Rebecca King showcased a collection with a smart aesthetic for the modern woman looking for luxury, function and comfort. Her beautifully tailored sweater coats and layered pieces could easily go from downtown to "down time".
More Than Beer for the Boys
Being that this was my very first Market Collective, I had assumed I would see mostly female artists, vendors and attendees (dragging their boyfriends along, promising them a Triplet and/or Blacksmith from the Village Brewery tent). Artisan events that I've gone to in the past traditionally appealed to women (i.e., apparel, jewelry, accessories, bath and body, or home decor). I was pleasantly surprised to see a handful of male vendors with incredibly COOL STUFF made just for guys!
These guys obviously know what other men want when it comes to apparel, leather goods, accessories and personal grooming supplies! Artfully crafted and made of the highest quality, these are the vendors to watch out for:
- Avalanche Artisans - armed with "shaving gear and other sharp stuff" the handcrafted pieces, made of materials like deer antler and badger hair, are show stoppers!
- Little Lion Man - this team of artisans make high quality leather goods with rustic metal accents ... painstakingly clean lines and quality materials make each item one of a kind.
- Populess - with details of a sophisticated menswear brand, this designer makes apparel, leather goods and accessories for every man, and every occasion.
Away from the Marketplace
Market Collective is more than just vendors and the goods they have for sale ... it's also about supporting local musicians. An eclectic mix of culturally diverse sounds that appealed to every generation fueled a cool vibe throughout the day. In addition, the BEATNIK Bus was pumping out vintage vinyl sounds just outside of the Simmons Building for patrons enjoying food and cocktails on the RiverWalk patio.
In the food court, the trucks and trailers were in fine form as people came in from all over the city for their favourite "mobile" eats. YYC foodies had every craving satisfied with tastes from around the world (Aglio e Olio, The Dumpling Hero, The Happy Fish Truck and Waffles and Chix), including cool eats and treats from The SnoBox, Family Squeezed Lemonade and Family Freezed Gourmet Ice Pops.
After three full days of events, including a very happy belly and a gently used credit card, I'm already looking forward to the next Market Collective! As an entrepreneur (myself) and supporter of local businesses and events I am excited to see Market Collective continue to grow and build Calgary's community of artisans and creative entrepreneurs. And ... if I ever get a chance to meet Angela Dione or Angel Guerre, I just might have to give them a signature Six Foot Canasian hug!
But ... don't take my word for it. Check out some of the fun images I captured at the Market Collective 7th Anniversary event on social media using the icons at the top of the page.
(This post was originally published on www.sixfootcanasian.com on August 31, 2015)