Over 50 local vendors gathered at the MU Healthcare Pavilion Sunday to sell goods to individuals on the hunt for some early holiday shopping in the first annual Columbia Holiday Makers Market.
Vinyl curtains surrounding the pavilion kept shoppers and business owners warm from the frigid November air as market-goers wandered among booths selling products ranging from jewelry and hand-sewn blankets to children’s books and artisan bath products.
“Bringing all of these local business together allows them to spotlight what they do, bringing that visibility is a huge passion of ours,” said Andrea Lyn Seppo, whose firm, Andrea Lyn Events, hosted the market.
At one end of the market, handcrafted cutting boards, kitchen utensils, ornaments and more wooden creations were all on display at Cruz Chavez’s booth. Chavez, woodworker and owner of Sawdust Studios, said the wood used in his products comes from his own property.
“(They’re) quality products that were produced and sourced here in Columbia, Missouri,” Chavez said. “I think it’s important to know where things came from and this all came from here.”
Near his products sat his laser engraver, a special tool that offered customers the option of having Chavez add custom designs to their new purchases.
“It allows me to customize all my products and put images on them by burning them on a piece of wood,” Chavez said, explaining he inputs an image into the engraver’s computerized system which then creates a replica design.
In addition to his wooden creations, Chavez said he also offers workshop classes at his studio so individuals of all skill levels can learn more about the craft and try their hand in creating projects.
At another booth across the pavilion, Crystal Martin and her husband, Al, showcased organic and vegan bath and body products including body butters, oils, handmade candles and bar soaps.
Martin said she began K&K Co. Bath & Home Collection in 2019 after experiencing child loss due to an ectopic pregnancy. After three years in business, Martin said her business has blossomed and she now has products sold in six different shops across Columbia.
With the business run by just her and Al, Martin said she has dedicated over 80 hours a week toward producing new products and researching ethically sourced ingredients.
“We’re super proud of how we’re growing and where we’re trying to get to as a business,” Martin said.
Kelsey Banner, owner of KNKDESIGNZ, offered self-care goods of a different kind at her booth, selling window breakers, stun guns, pepper sprays and other products focused on ensuring safety.
Banner said she began her business after experiencing a sexual assault, and she wanted to ensure that other woman had better access to self-defense tools.
“I wanted to find a way that I could carry multiple self-defense items with me so I decided to put it on a keychain,” Banner said. “I wanted to keep the women in my community safer.”
Columbia Holiday Makers Market is part of a biannual series, with a Spring Market scheduled for May 7, 2023.
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