We’re all gearing up for the holidays and of course buying gifts has become part and parcel of the season. Although looking for various types of gifts for all the different people in our lives has become less stressful and made easier with department stores and shopping malls offering a wide range of products, artisanal holiday markets have become the new hub to do this same type of cross shopping.
In New York, holiday markets are sprouting up all across the city – indoors and outdoors – and offering customers carefully-curated and unique shopping experiences filled with independent vendors selling an eclectic array of goods. A few weeks back, I stumbled upon Ridgewood Market Holiday Night Bazaar inside a German beer hall in the burgeoning neighborhood. Although the indoor market was discreetly located and inconspicuous, within 45 minutes I was armed with gifts for everyone on my list and not only did I spend much less than I would have at Bloomingdale’s, I also got gifts that were handmade and one-of-a-kind.
This community-based artisan market, for example, features over 40 local artists who live or work within the neighborhood and that night all of them were out selling their products in person. There were ceramic pieces carved by hand in a nearby studio, metal jewelry mixed locally, and even honey harvested in local backyards. The truly engaging shopping experience that artists/vendors at such markets are able to offer is also special as many are able to speak eloquently to the process and inspiration of each product being sold.
As more research begins to point to the importance of maintaining physical retail presence and creating compelling shopping experiences to attract millennial shoppers, these holiday markets are certainly doing a great job offering millennials the stories they seek and the opportunities to touch, feel and test products.
Most importantly, this type of local and artisanal market is also fast becoming an outlet for artists, or aspiring small business owners, to test their products on the market and start building a customer base at a particularly crucial time of the year for retail. So for those of you who are still struggling to find the perfect gifts for all the special people in your lives, visit your neighborhood artisanal holiday market in your beer hall, church, or park, and support the local artists and aspiring business owners living amongst you!