Old-school cool meets new age technology on Etsy, according to Jennifer Cloutier.
Cloutier is one this year’s organizers for Etsy: Made in Canada, a vendor market taking place Sept. 23 at Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre (1808 Wellington Ave.) from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cloutier said this market is unique in that it’s allowing buyers a chance to meet the sellers behind the screen that they might be buying from online at etsy.com
“What makes it different for me is it’s the fusion of old school and new school — it’s like people go online to buy things but they’re getting to buy handmade,” Cloutier said. “It’s a really good renaissance in terms of craft and artisanship.”
She said the handmade trend is meeting the demand for people who like to buy their things locally, and might want to know the story or person behind the item they’re buying for their home.
“If you can’t make it, you can buy it from someone who made it, and it wasn’t overseas. This person lives five streets away and made me this pottery. This person, I know her story and she lives in the Whiteshell, and she sells children’s clothing. It has value to it above and beyond its physical nature.”
All of 52 sellers taking part this year are local from Manitoba and northern Ontario, and while many of them are from Winnipeg, plenty of others are from rural communities. Cloutier said the $3 will get visitors in to see a huge variety of items, including hand painted pillows, concrete lamps, metalsmith jewelry, handmade clothing for kids, bath and beauty products, beard oils, moisturizers, make-up, candles of all kinds and men’s accessories, to name a few.
Half of the proceeds will go towards the Manitoba Craft Council for their centre in the Exchange District.
“We’re starting off the fall season,” Cloutier said. “We’re the first market you can start buying things for gift-giving.”
Cloutier said the first year was about figuring things out, but now that they’ve been hosting annually, they are seeing plenty of customers and more sellers than they can allow into the space.
“My favourite thing is when customers leave and they’re telling me what they got, this great find,” Cloutier said.
Crafting is something she’s always done herself, and she says there’s a lot of value in it.
“I have always crafted since I was very little,” she said. “People of all generations want to learn things and connect with people… we have people who are millennials all the way up into their 70s and we share in the community tips and tricks on how to do things… they get together and realize the importance of using your hands to make something.”