Business

Holiday craft fairs: Vendors make the rounds to earn extra cash

Ernesa Hart sells Traci Lynn fashion jewelry at Highline
Ernesa Hart sells Traci Lynn fashion jewelry at Highline's craft fair Nov. 30.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard, The Mirror

The holiday shopping season has arrived, bringing a sprinkling of crafting and holiday bazaars with it.

For booth holders, which often are small business owners, the events are opportunities to attract more clientele and showcase items that often can’t be found in department stores. While some vendors attend craft fairs to make extra cash, others make a living by frequenting bazaars and selling their items wherever possible.

This could be seen at Highline Community College’s first business festival on Nov. 30. A handful of mostly local women sold products and services to a crowd of students, staff and community members.

Sisters-in-law Mary Williams of Graham and Becky Longworth of Federal Way are making their rounds at holiday bazaars — hoping to make a little extra cash and offer customers a great deal.

“It’s fun to get a good bargain,” Williams said.

Williams is owner of Wood You Imagine? She works for a wholesaler that sells knickknacks such as glass ornaments and wooden bowls. The company’s management allows Williams to take home and repair items, then sell at craft bazaars second-rate items that cannot be sold in-house. Items that usually sold for $60 were sold for less than $5 at Highline’s event.

Longworth, owner of Heartstrings Headwear, sells handcrafted knit caps adorned with flowers. During the summer season she crafts large, floppy homemade straw hats at Emerald Downs.

Ernesa Hart, a Federal Way resident and Highline Community College student, sells Traci Lynn fashion jewelry. Hart has been in the business for a little more than two months. Like Williams and Longworth, she plans to attend multiple bazaars and attend several private parties where she is invited to sell Traci Lynn jewelry this holiday season. Hart said she usually looks on Craigslist to find places to sell her items.

Hart got into the business because she likes making women feel beautiful. She wanted to invest in better quality jewelry for herself.

“I was tired of buying pretty jewelry that would break on me,” she said.

Issaquah resident Heidi Kuipers also attended the craft fair. She has made a full-time career out of selling items at craft bazaars and private parties. Kuipers, 32, is an independent stylist with Stella and Dot, a fashion jeweler.

Kuipers quit her job as an operations manager with a software company not long ago. Now, she sells trendy jewelry part-time. She consults a team of other stylists and gets a cut of their commissions. She also sells jewelry at five or six private parties per month, she said.

Kuipers attended Highline’s event to sell, but also to recruit South Sound stylists to join her team.

She started with Stella and Dot, not for the jewelry perks, but because she liked its business model.

“This kind of just fell in my lap,” she said.

Check it out

Want to hit up some local holiday and craft bazaars this weekend? Here's where to go.

• Dec. 4 in Federal Way: Garden Terrace Alzheimer's Center of Excellence, 491 S. 338th St., will host a holiday bazaar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will feature handmade items from residents' family members, staff and people in the community. Items such as paintings and quilts have traditionally been available. Call (253) 661-2226.

• Dec. 4 in Tacoma: Grace Community Church's annual holiday gift and craft sale takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The church is located at 8243 Park Ave. S. in Tacoma.

• Dec. 4 in Tacoma: Central Lutheran Church will hold its holiday bazaar and craft fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 409 N. Tacoma Ave. in Tacoma. The event is free. For more information call (253) 272-3037.

• Dec. 4 and 5 in Seattle: The Phinney neighborhood 30th Annual Winter Festival and Crafts Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The event features two buildings filled with 120 high quality, juried crafts booths, live entertainment on two stages, a quilt raffle, a huge bake sale and lunch items. Cost is $4, plus a can of food for the Greenwood Food Bank. Children 12 and under are free. Visit www.phinneycenter.org.

• Dec. 5 in Tacoma: Bethany Presbyterian Church will host a Fair Trade Christmas Market from noon to 3 p.m. at 4420 N. 41st St. in Tacoma. For more information and to view local and international vendors, visit bethanytacoma.org.

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