“Fun, energetic, and a little chaotic (but in a good way!)” This is how Ellen Flynn, who owns the Art Establishment with her husband, Tom, describes the Indie Craft Fair taking place on Sunday, November 26. The event features handmade items from local artists just in time for holiday gift giving! I talked with Ellen about the atmosphere at the fair, its success, and the importance of supporting local vendors.
Has the Art Establishment hosted the Indie Craft Fair in the past? How has it grown or changed since it started?
This will be the third Indie Craft Fair that we are hosting. Last year we held one in the spring right before Mother’s Day and our first Black Sunday Indie Craft Fair. It’s definitely been growing with more vendors offering a vast variety of all handmade items and more customers coming out every time we do it. We have a waiting list this time of about 15 vendors – we just can’t fit them all!
How did the idea for the Indie Craft Fair first come about?
My friend Danielle, The Kraft Kurator, started it. She is currently in Germany so she handed the reins over to me for this one!
What is your favorite thing about the Indie Craft Fair?
The energy it brings to our space. I’ve often said I wish I could bottle that energy and release a little bit of it every day throughout the rest of the year! I also love the camaraderie between the vendors. We try to have everyone all set up at least an hour before the fair starts so vendors can walk around, meet each other, and see what everyone has. Many times the vendors will make sales to each other before the doors even open! A lot of the vendors do trades for each other’s items as well, which is fun! This is actually one of my favorite events here.
How do vendors get connected with the event? How would you describe a typical vendor?
We have a core vendor list of about 75 vendors. They receive an email announcing the date and the signup info. Then after about a week or two, we open it up to other vendors with a call out through social media and word of mouth via the “vendor network,” which is vast! I believe that all of the vendors are locally-based. All items must be hand-made by the vendors. There are no direct sales vendors or commercial items here.
Why do you think shopping local is important? How can it benefit both the vendors and the shoppers?
When you support local, you are supporting your own community. The money that you spend [often] goes back into the local economy. At the Indie Craft Fair, you’re buying things that are hand-made, and you’re making a personal connection with the maker whom you’re buying it from. The items are unique and creative – you’re not going to walk into Target or Walmart and find any items like these!
INDIE CRAFT FAIR
Want a great way to support young, independent local artists and artisans AND get all your holiday shopping done in one spot? Come to the Black Sunday Indie Craft Fair on Nov. 26, 11am-5pm! 45 vendors offering unique, 100% handmade items perfect for gifts for everyone on your list, or treat yourself to something cool! Pottery, jewelry, textiles, clothing, ornaments, nature crafts, wrapping paper and gift bags, art, and much more.
HOLIDAY ART MART
Can’t make the Indie Craft Fair? Stop by The Art Establishment between Nov. 25 and Dec. 23 during business hours for their Holiday Art Mart. Over 20 local artists and artisans offering handmade gift items. A peaceful shopping experience and a wide variety of unique gifts for everyone on your list.
Shop and support local this holiday! There is no entry fee for either event because you shouldn’t have to pay to shop.
The Art Establishment is located at 945 Broadway, Bethlehem, PA 18015.