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Youth vendors try out local markets

Jul 3rd, 2014 | Category: Crafts

Young local artists are using opportunities at community farmers markets to sell their handmade items and learn about vending. Several local markets offer kids areas or specific vending days for youths to bring their crafts, creations, plants and other items, at a free or discounted price.

The Bellingham Farmers Market holds a Kids Vending Day the last Saturday of each month, attracting a number of participants selling jewelry and card makers, to plants and fundraisers for educational trips. Kids are allowed to only sell items that they make or grow. Youth vendors fill the space during the market’s regular hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They line up outside the market between 9:30 and 9:45, check-in at the front of the pavilion, and are each given their own booth space (they bring their own tables and chairs) on a first-come, first-serve basis for $5. Also, kids are welcome to busk or entertain for free on Kids Vending Days.

Mataya Siemion sells paintings at Kids Vending Day at the Bellingham Farmers Market. She is raising  money for a month-long trip to Germany under a foreign exchange program. PHOTO BY SARAH DAY

Mataya Siemion sells paintings at Kids Vending Day at the Bellingham Farmers Market. She is raising money for a month-long trip to Germany under a foreign exchange program. PHOTO BY SARAH DAY

Caprice Teske, director of the Bellingham Farmers Market, said Kids Vending Days are important because “they provide the kids with a genuine vendor’s experience and give them an idea of what it really takes to run a business.”

She added it gives the community a chance to see what kids are up to. “It’s a positive experience for the customers as well as for the kids,” Teske said.

Sophia Carpenter, 15, sells earrings and pendants at the Kids Vending Days. She uses tumbled glass from a local artist, and began making jewelry at a much younger age with her mom for Christmas gifts. “This is the only way I sell my stuff, it’s all face to face,” she said. “I love the atmosphere of the market and there’s all sorts of people that want to buy the stuff.”

She said that she loves the independent feeling making her own money, and although many kids have their parents help them with their booths, she enjoys selling her products herself.

“Everyone is doing what they want to do, selling what they want to sell, and they’re having fun,” she added.

Another young vendor, Mataya Siemion, sells paintings as she raises money for a month-long trip to Germany under a foreign exchange program. “It’s good, you can interact with the customer,” she said about vending. “You also find out which age group and gender of people that want to buy your product.”

Mouse Bird, who runs the Mount Vernon Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.,  said they would enjoy having more young vendors. “We have a few kid vendors selling on a regular basis. Ruby (Ruby’s Recycled Creations) paints nails and makes crafty things out of recycled materials. Sabina (Sabina La Vive) makes 100 percent organic and food-grade lotion bars that are good enough to eat,” she said.

There is no application fee (the regular fee is $30), Bird added, and pay a $5 daily stall fee (the regular rate for adults is $15 plus commission). Interested youth vendors can contact Bird at mvfarmer1@gmail.com.

In addition, kids activities are offered at the Mount Vernon Farmers Market every other Saturday, sponsored by the City of Mount Vernon Library. “They’ve developed a scavenger hunt for the kids. They get recipe cards and have to search the market to find vendors who sell the ingredients,” she said. “Then, if they complete the hunt they get a coupon for a prize from one of the vendors.”

The kids vending area at the Bow Little Market. COURTESY OF PATTY SWEANEY

The kids vending area at the Bow Little Market, held Thursdays at the Belfast Feed Store. COURTESY OF PATTY SWEANEY

At the nearby Bow Little Market on Thursday afternoons, a kids vending area is set up at no cost to them, manager Patty Sweaney said. Also, local resident Jenny Aaron offers kids’ activities from 2 to 3 p.m. each Thursday in July and August.

At the Anacortes Farmers market, kids under 14 are allowed to vend for free any time. Manager Keri Knapp said youth vendors should contact her directly and bring their own tables and chairs. Knapp can be reached at info@anacortesfarmersmarket.org.

In addition, some libraries are offering childrens craft fairs during the summer months, allowing kids to sell their creations. The Ferndale Library (305-3600) is offering a craft fair on Tuesday, July 29 and the Lynden Library (305-3600) on Thursday, July 31. For more information about kids activities at your local library branch this summer, inquire directly.

Local kids interested in vending at farmers markets should contact the market directly. For a full list of markets and contact information, see this month’s calendar of events.


Published in the July 2014 issue of Grow Northwest

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