Marketing the artisans

Half Moon Market lets makers showcase their wares

Sheila Terra's handmade soaps.

Supplied Photo

Pop-up markets happen during different times of the year with some happening around holidays – like Valentine’s Day. On Feb. 11, artisans will hold the Half Moon Market Valentine’s Fling (HMMVF) at the Inn at the Forks in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

“Valentine’s (Day) is a new endeavour and will be at a … venue where I am able to welcome guests with limited mobility,” Sheila Terra, organizer of the HMMVF’s Fling, says.

Holidays can help both large and small businesses thrive, as shoppers search for their perfect present or place to go to while celebrating the occasion. According to Insider, single people could have movie marathons starring their celebrity crushes or play Tinder roulette, hoping to find a date for next year – but Winnipeg artisans are offering a different option for both singles and couples.

“As a customer, imagine browsing one-of-a-kind local artisans (their wares) with a glass of draft. Twenty-foot ceilings fill with sunlight and outside you hear the hum of Winnipeg’s historical exchange district,” Terra writes on her blog.

Artisans create things that people can utilize or put on display for others to see. Depending on their specialty, work can range from plumbing and installation to crafting jewellery.

Local artist Jeff Gross, owner of Sketchy Reputation and a vendor in the upcoming HMMVF, will give the public a chance to see his artwork and understand his craft.

“I get inspired by the world around me - my kids, pictures, movies, songs. But the majority of my ideas come while I’m working on another piece of art.” Gross says.

He says that during non-holiday seasons, he sells his work through commissions by customers, print-on-demand (POD) sites, such as Society6 and RedBubble, and from orders on his website,, where he posts his drawings for customers to buy or to order a sketch of themselves.

According to Gross, Winnipeg’s markets support artisanship and helps artists to continue producing their work.

“People love art, and the people of Winnipeg are no exception” he says.

The average salary in Canada for artisans is $47,776 per year, translating into approximately $25 per hour. Although some are able to make this, not all artisans can make a full-time income off of their craft, while others simply do not want to charge higher prices for their work.

“I have a day job and have never relied on my crafts to pay for the bills. I think my love affair with crafts would change dramatically if my financial security was dependent on them,” Terra says.

She goes on to say that it is necessary for many artists to maintain a day job where benefits, a salary and a pension are accessible to them, as it allows them to continue doing their crafts as hobbies. She also acknowledges that businesses and leasing agents would have to be supportive of a small business, or it would not be feasible for artists.

“(A day job) allows me to sell soap and run a craft show that is motivated by passion rather than my pocketbook,” she says.

Published in Volume 72, Number 16 of The Uniter (February 1, 2018)

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