The Makeshift Makers Market gives small vendors and businesses a chance to meet and connect with shoppers, clients, friends and community members while emphasizing locally-sourced origins. The market location varies, but it is usually held at a winery or brewery on the Central Coast — in this case, at Bodega Winery in Los Alamos on Feb. 23.
Since the traveling market changes vendors, each market is different than those before it. Wagner said upwards of 400 vendors have rotated through the Makeshift Makers Market since January 2018.
Bodega Winery is a wine garden and event space in Los Alamos, a small town located 50 miles south of San Luis Obispo. Dogs laid in the shade while their owners sifted through handmade leather earrings, horseshoe wall hangings and hammered necklaces, all while the Beachwalk BBQ food truck grilled sandwiches.
In addition to vendor booths, many of the markets have activities. Some feature live music from local bands. Others have yoga workshops with local yoga studios and instructors. The activity at this Sunday market had shoppers leaving with pink braids and feathers in their hair from The Mermaid Lounge, a hair salon located in Grover Beach.
When word of mouth and social media spread the news of an upcoming Makeshift Makers Market, vendors prepare their products and tell customers on social media where their next booth will be.
The Digital Marketing Strategist for Makeshift Makers Market said they reach out to makers that sell products that catch the team’s eye, products they personally would want to purchase. They also look for items that could benefit the community.
The 350 Project, an organization that works to promote saving brick-and-mortar shops, reports that “for every $100 spent at locally-owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here.”
“The coolest thing is the number of local vendors and the reasonable prices,” anthropology senior Emma Hammerson said. “Nothing was too bad, especially considering it was local. It made me want to shop local more.”
Events and Outreach Coordinator Madison Hill said she is always wearing products from the markets. She was wearing a necklace by Savannah Nicolson’s brand, Anahata Rae, as well as ceramic earrings by Adriana Lemus.
“It’s super liberating because you have your own hours and can be creative and kind of work wherever,” Hill said. “But at the same time, it can be isolating because it’s really just that person who has the brand. So, coming to the markets and having other people, other vendors know the kind of struggles, as well as the exciting parts of having a small business.”
Hill stays in touch with the vendors she buys from and often follows their Instagram accounts.
Agribusiness junior Kaitlyn De La Torre has a brand called Not-So-Subtle Designs. She makes hypoallergenic polymer clay earrings that have statements in the shape of arches, stars and half circles. She also makes waterproof vinyl stickers with affirmations like “Be Bold” to sell at the Makers Market.
“The best thing about selling at markets is the social aspect,” De La Torre said. “It’s also so rewarding hearing people give me positive feedback on my creations and seeing people wear my earrings as soon as they purchase them. I love going around and seeing all the other creator’s booths and swapping items with them.”
It cost between $100 and $200 to have a vendor spot depending on the venue. All the profits go toward operational costs or are invested into growing the community, according to Jennifer.
The next Makeshift Makers Market will be back at Bodega Winery from noon to 5 p.m. on March 29.