I was recently at San Francisco’s Urban Air Market in Hayes Valley (UrbanAirMarket.com for their upcoming December event in Portland) and found myself in artisan heaven. I met people with a passion for what they do, was able to make more conscientious purchases, and even remembered to bring my own tote bag to put all of my new finds in! There’s a reason that these types of events are gaining popularity and momentum and are being found throughout the United States. Here are my top 4 reasons for making these a must-see now:
- You get amazing products that aren’t mass-produced in a factory. There is something to be said for having something that someone else created with a great deal of passion, heart, and soul. Many of the items will be one-of-a-kind or made in limited quantity and you often get to meet the artisan because they are at the event. I purchased a hand-knitted cap out of the back of a van at Urban Air in San Francisco that I fell in love with and I know 300 other people won’t be wearing this fall! Check out their site at 555-Studios.com.
- You will meet incredible people that are doing great things in the world. A couple people and products really stood out for me, such as Iasmine Bon of Caiques Handmade shoes. A relative newcomer to the retail world, she’s an incredible spirit who not only sells beautiful shoes handmade by her father, but the leather they use is recycled from mass production companies and the soles are made out of recycled airplane tires! You’d never know that these stylish and comfortable shoes actually served a higher purpose. Check out her incredible story and her line at caiquesshoes.com.
I met Kyle Parsons, founder of Indosole (Indosole.com) and after only a few seconds knew that we were kindred spirits. He was in Bali recently (check out TedXUbud.com to find out more), this guys is changing the world and is someone you should follow. He makes amazing shoes, primarily casual ones in the flip-flop and sandal range that are not only something you must have in your repertoire of flip flops, but are comfortable. Like, Caiques, Indosole focuses on getting tires out of landfills. Kyle is another inspiring human with great products and an amazing cause.
- You should check out these amazing events because of pricing. Most, if not all, of the vendors were offering special pricing for their items. Unless you are independently wealthy with no need to regard a budget (congratulations if you are!), you’ll appreciate high-end, amazing items for a steal.
- Lastly, the organizers of these events are fairly strategic in where they are held. You’re going to be in a pretty amazing part of each city with great access to food and beverages, and I can almost guarantee that you’ll wish every day were that good.
Regrets? Yes, sadly I have a couple: not buying the bracelet from the Thesis of Alexandria booth (thesisofalexandria.com) that matched the necklace I purchased. I also regret not buying the work-out pants at the Stretchery (facebook.com/stretchery) because the hash mark design down the back of the leg, which is inspired by counting laps or reps or whatever you are keeping track of in your workout, is brilliant and I forgot that I had just had just tossed out a couple pairs at home. Thankfully, I have website information for each of these and can right these wrongs!