Over the last weekend Circle Craft held their 45th annual craft market at the Vancouver Convention Center. This place has become very popular as a kind of Christmas market even though it takes place over Remembrance day long-weekend. Over 300 vendors exhibit their various wares and engage with a growing community of artists, designers and chefs.
Many of these artists exhibit their wares every year and have a long standing relation with customers who come every year for specialized goodies. Some exhibitors only have their goods available at these events so people have incentive to come back every year. Exhibitors are largely Canadian with a great number of them coming from B.C. Salt spring Island had a surprising number of artists showing home goods, clothing, pottery and even chocolate.
For those with more eclectic fashion tastes there was not one but two vendors who sold wooden bow ties, Kerf and BO. BO by Mansouri has gone one step further and offers concrete bow ties as well. These companies strike at the desire that many people have to have the craft market appeal to a younger crowd. I recent years the market has been criticized by their appeal to more of the 45 and older crowd and having an abysmal social-media presence.
Companies that showcase interesting gifts of fancy treats like toffee and wine have become immensely popular with local foodies and corporate people searching to fill Christmas gift baskets. In one such instance while I was roaming around the market and happened upon one of the hottest treats at the event. Sweet Truth Toffee was jumping and by the last day almost all of the toffee was sold out.
There was, a whale of a customer that bought of forty tins of the stuff. She was, no surprise, in charge of Christmas gifts for a large corporation. That’s the interesting thing with art and goods. Not everyone will be interested in everything, but everyone will be interested in something. In this case, interested meant buying them out of house and home, which, they were happy to oblige.
Sweet truth is a big player, but there are also many first-time exhibitors who are making their debut to more modest attention. But for one exhibitor, Lana Betty, who makes geometric, 3-D printed jewelry, she was seeing amazing success. Many younger people who don’t have the same interest in traditional jewelry found this modern spin refreshing and rather cool.