Southern California craftspeople gather every second Sunday
By Eric Heinz
Eclectic items from artisans and craftspeople pop up every second Sunday of the month in a nook of San Clemente’s North Beach.
Jess Lea, owner of The Marketplace, started the monthly event last July, when her shop was known as The Yurt.
“We started The Marketplace when we had The Yurt, but we focused a little bit more on the storefront,” Lea said. “I decided to revamp it and make it more open to the public and support California brands and the people who make them.”
Lea said she plans to make items available online within the next month.
“Instead of going with the niche of yoga and spiritual community, we’re helping people who make things get more exposure,” Lea said.
Artists and craftspeople from San Diego to Los Angeles County have joined in the weekend affair, Lea said, and the increasing number of people who attend The Marketplace has shown the demand for handmade items.
“There’s just something unique about it,” Lea said. “There’s a nice community, and everyone is kind of family here. I think people are ready to start spending money on the state and people who are making things by hand.”
To rent a 4-by-6-foot table is $50 for the day. The only requirements are products must be made by hand, the craftsperson must have a business license and they must take their business seriously. Lea said if people need help building their business, she offers her marketing services.
[box style=”rounded”]The Marketplace
If people can’t make it to one of The Marketplace events, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every second Sunday of the month, they can visit the shop from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 201 Calle De Los Molinos. Call 949.547.1026 or visit www.themarketplacesc.com for more information.[/box]
“It’s kind of an incubator to help people who are wanting to get into stores,” Lea said. “It’s like this network where there’s no competition but a lot of support.”
So far Lea said at least two or three businesses have been asked to sell their goods in brick-and-mortar shops.
“People like to find these unique products and know when they buy clothes, for example, they know they won’t see someone walking down the street wearing the same thing,” Lea said.
Cody Splane, the creator of EcoScentric Candle Co., said he was sharing a drink with a friend out of a mason jar and was inspired to make the candles using all-natural soy wax and package them in reusable materials. One year later, he was working at Jack’s Surfboards and started making the candles for the business. Eventually he was able to venture out on his own.
Social media helped Splane get involved with The Marketplace.
“I just like the vibes and the beach community, where everyone is really nice and seems to like the candles,” Splane said.
Splane said he prefers selling his candles at The Marketplace because he’s able to speak with the customers in person rather than selling in bulk to a larger retailer. He said he tries to sell to smaller shops run by a few people—“mom-and-pop shops,” he said.
“It’s more personal; people walk up to you, and you can explain the product. They get to smell them, and it’s just more fun to be able to interact with the customers.”
Owner Arielle Salsa of The Pretty Cult and her associate Helen Schmidt sell their Sisters of the Moon clothing line with large tarot cards sewn to the backs of flannel shirts.
“Through an interesting mix of events, we started working together,” Schmidt said. “We’ve always just had a really good response with the shirts. The card itself holds a lot of power and a lot of energy. What’s kind of interesting is seeing what a person is drawn to and it usually relates to what’s going on in their life.”
Salsa said she wanted to work with clothing products that cater to men and women. When searching for a place to display her clothing she said she wanted to find a place that’s accommodating to her style.
“We’re doing another market at the end of the month, and I saw other sellers who came here,” Salsa said. “I really liked the aesthetic and thought that it would work for us. We want to do more in Orange County and we wanted to try it.”