Local artisans sell wares at downtown pop-up market [Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va. :: ]
(Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 09--Henrico County resident Benjamin Asher Arredondo works as a pizza chef, but he has recently started to develop a side business making handcrafted necklaces, which he sells on the popular e-commerce website Etsy.
Bon Air resident Sheree Semonich works part time as a bartender, but she, too, is carving out a niche business for herself selling her hand-made bangles -- a type of bracelet -- on Etsy, which focuses on handmade and vintage items.
Arredondo and Semonich were among the more than 25 Richmond-area and Virginia artisans who set up "mini-shops" on Saturday to sell their creations in the showroom of home furnishings retailer LaDifférence in downtown Richmond.
The pop-up market was organized by Viva-la-Local, a Richmond event-marketing firm, and Laura Trevey, a lifestyle blogger and watercolor painter.
By early afternoon, hundreds of shoppers had turned out to browse the products, including Matt and Lisa Eddington of Midlothian, who heard about the pop-up shop from an email blurb about things to do in Richmond this weekend. They bought a necklace from Arredondo's booth.
"We thought we would try it out and see what everybody is selling," Matt said. "I'm thrilled that there is something like this going on."
"It's unique; you don't see this everywhere," Lisa said.
The handcrafted goods ranged from apparel to jewelry to greeting cards to the "upcycled" glassware products made by the Richmond business Bottle Creations by Aisha.
"We sell a product that is unique, sustainable and Earth-friendly," said Aisha Hodge, the owner of the business that reclaims used soft drink, wine, liquor and beer bottles from bars and restaurants and crafts them into glasses, ashtrays, dishes and vases.
Arredondo, the necklace maker, said he decided to participate in the pop-up market at the urging of his grandmother. He makes his colorful pendants by wire-wrapping various types of stones. He cultivated his skill after going through "a bad period in my life," he said.
"I needed something to turn my mind around, and this became a hobby," he said. "I am an artisan of sorts -- always have been. Since I was a kid, I have been a collector of stones."
Semonich, the bangle maker, said she has sold her jewelry worldwide on Etsy. Her Etsy storefront is called Designs by Jewelree.
She makes her bangles from guitar strings.
"I collect guitar strings, people send them to me, and I go around to different stores," she said. She wire-wraps such gems as opals and amethysts onto the bangles.
The showroom of contemporary furnishings retailer LaDifference was the perfect setting for the pop-up market, said Trevey, the blogger and painter who helped organize the event. "Their focus is on shopping local and supporting local artisans," she said.
Trevey said the organizers already have received requests from more artisans to have the pop-up market again.
"It is already growing," she said. "It is a cool concept, and Etsy has that coolness factor."
(c)2014 the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.)
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