Thank Goodness for Community Enterprise
In September 2020, I was delighted to be invited as a vendor at Maker’s Market, located at 3124 Dundas Street West, in west Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood, famous for it’s rich railway history and quickly becoming known as one of Toronto’s “happening hoods." Maker’s Market, not far from my home, is a little storefront artisan market-style shop owned by Kendra Sartorelli and her husband. The nice thing about this shop for painters like myself is that it’s okay to sell affordable reproductions of my work and merchandising such as cards, coasters and copies of my children’s book. Often, store owners selling original art don’t like to also promote reproductions in order to keep the price points higher and attract clientele with deeper pockets, but these days when artists of every discipline have to think beyond their usual creative paradigm to make a living, it’s nice to be able to sell affordable versions of one’s art. Kendra is a talented artist herself, having graduated from OCAD University in Toronto (check out her delightful, whimsical monster paintings on her Etsy shop) and so she understands well the artist mentality and the challenge of promoting and selling one’s art. Like most art markets, vendors pay Maker’s Market to rent display space, but they don’t pay an additional commission on top of rent, and they also get to keep 100% of their sales profit. So, it’s really up to the vendor to get the word out. However, Kendra and her team, including Emma, another OCAD alumni, have shown themselves to be fierce promoters of community arts. It takes true grit to start a new arts business given the present situation in the world and especially the reticent economy. Kendra and her team work tirelessly to promote their artisan vendors by hosting live and virtual events, daily posts and promotions on many social media platforms, newsletters and articles. In addition, they offer marketing support and promotional opportunities and also provide encouragement and guidance on how the artists can promote themselves, something that many artists grapple with. They have created a wonderful community arts hub with some delightful, whimsical and totally unique functional gifts. I hope you will come out and see what creativity west Toronto has to offer when you’re looking for a one of a kind gift for someone (or yourself). You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you are without a doubt helping local artisans in your city continue their craft and also supporting small business. As with all shops during this time, masks and social distancing applies. Maker’s Market is open Daily 11 am – 6 pm, 7 days a week with hours to be extended during the holiday season.