Artisans and craftspeople experienced and new alike set up vendor shops along the Speed River in Royal City Park on Saturday for the Handmade Market, drawing hundreds from the community to walk among the tents and displays.
The free-to-enter market, located across the road from the Boathouse downtown, ran for most of the day and featured over 30 different vendors selling products that ranged from scented candles to custom signs to bowties for dogs.
One such vendor set up on the grass by the Royal Recreation Trail was The Community Company — a local start-up that was launched late last year that supports entrepreneurship throughout the city, partnering with individuals to sell their products.
Founder Justin Chan told The Post that his company aims to work with “people in the community that are experiencing some sort of adversity and just empowering them through entrepreneurship”, explaining that they work to bring the product from scratch to a reality, splitting the profits in half.
Though Chan works with businesses from across the region, his e-commerce company is based in Guelph and he working now to “build a presence” in the community. He added that “every product has a story”, many of them made by people who have overcome barriers in life.
Hanging on a rack were bags with featuring an image of a frog burning inside a jar, which Chan said was designed by a man that was struggling with homelessness. The artist had given off the impression that life was fine to others when really it was going downhill.
One of Chan’s clients was at the booth. Giving only her first name, Martha said Chan took her paintings and printed them onto a set of self-care journal cards. The Community Company also partnered with Grosche Coffee and Tea to create three new flavours of tea.
Also set up at the market was Malasby Majorie, Sweetie Box Jewellery, Earth Star Healing, Cedars [and] Sage, Rubble, Aspen Paper Designs, Bow Ties by Larry, We Learn Multi-Sensory Play, Izzy’s Imperfect Items, Jigsaw Visual Creations and several more.
A mixed bag
Matt Field told The Post that one day late last year he came home from work and his girlfriend Lisa Emiljanowicz had started something new. The couple started crafting wood decorations and stone jewellery because they were on a low budget and wanted to decorate their house.
Emilijanowicz said that it largely started with the woodwork as Field had the skills and background to create decorations, and were soon selling to friends. But when winter came, Emilijanowicz explained they had issues with staining the products so she branched off into jewellery.
Now, the pair run Honey House Thrift and take their mixed bag of craftsmanship to markets and sell products through an Etsy store. Emilijanowicz, who is a student at the University of Guelph, said she believes the name “suits it because we don’t just do one thing”.
A couple of products
Elaine Scott and Mark Langlois are recently retired and started, as a hobby, M&E Crafts, but they sell different products from each other. The pair, who are new to Guelph, spend a lot of their time now preparing for artisan shows.
Scott puts together blankets, stuffed bunnies and more through her handcrafted crochet work while her partner Langlois sells stained glass products, including custom work. The pair told The Post that, because they are both retired, they had to do “something with our time”.
Langlois said that in the past he had picked up the highly technical glass-making as a hobby but it soon turned into a way to “make a living” for him. But now, the work is back to being an enjoyable hobby for Langlois.