What: Creekside Fashion and Lifestyle Market
When: Saturday, August 16, 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Where: Creekside, World Cup Plaza
Creekside’s retail area has gotten a bit quieter in recent months — Morgan’s and Una Mas have closed their doors, and the farmer’s market, which was held each Saturday last summer, has been noticeably absent from the area this year.
But one woman is looking to get Creekside bustling again, with savvy shoppers looking to score fashionable finds.
Ingrid Doerr is coordinating the new Creekside Fashion and Lifestyle Market, which will offer up the creative and stylish wares of almost 40 vendors from throughout the province this Saturday afternoon.
Doerr, a resident of North Vancouver and owner of her own silk screening business, participates in Vancouver’s Portobello West fashion and art market on the last Sunday of each month. But recently, she found that it had become somewhat “stale,” with a lot of the same clientele returning week after week.
“I find the vendors change quite a bit, which is good, but you’re still getting the same customers coming,” Doerr said.
She believes Whistler could use a regular venue for selling handmade goods, rather than simply brand ware, and when she realized that Whistler’s tourism-driven economy would provide a steady rotation of customers from all over the world, she decided to kill two birds with one stone.
Doerr pitched her idea to Intrawest and the Whistler Creekside Merchant’s Association. They gave her the go-ahead to hold the market this once, on a trial basis.
“I don’t think Whistler has ever had anything like this, because it’s not just a market — it’s where small businesses can display their products and hopefully get into retailers up in Whistler,” Doerr said.
She explained that a lot of buyers use markets like Portobello West to find up and coming companies. She hopes the new Creekside Fashion and Lifestyle Market will offer similar opportunities for small businesses to grow out of the market, and move into established local retailers.
“As a small business, it’s really hard to make money doing it, and your margins are a little bit better, at a retail level, in a market, so it does help you with your wholesale, as well,” she explained.
If all goes well, Doerr hopes her market will become a regular event, held once a month, and that she will have a chance to hold a three-day pre-Christmas market in mid-November.
“They just want to see how it will go, and I think it will go better than they expect,” she said.
The space Doerr has been allocated is the entirety of World Cup Plaza, from the bridge to the Creekside Gondola, a space that can accommodate up to 70 vendors.
“I got approval a little late,” Doerr explained. “So there’s actually a lot of vendors that are already booked that really want to do the fall shows, but are booked for this month, so they won’t be here.”
But the new market isn’t meant to compete with the existing farmer’s market held in the upper village, or the Whistler Art Council’s annual Bizarre Bazaar.
“The farmer’s market at Blackcomb is at capacity — they can’t add anymore,” Doerr pointed out. “So I think it just enhances it.”
Products at the new market will range from items for babies, kids, adults, and even four-legged friends — leather bibs, dog leashes and collars, long boards, skateboards, and much more. While the focus is heavily on apparel, the market will also include some crafty wares, with merchants selling jewelry, glassware, and the like.
“Anything that involves part of your lifestyle,” Doerr explained.
At the first market, shoppers can expect to see lots of goods geared towards children.
“I probably have six or seven different vendors of kids’ stuff, and that includes cool little T-shirts,” Doerr said, adding that the market will also feature products of at least one local kids clothing company, Milkshaxs.
All of the products are made in Canada, and at the first market, there will be a lot of vendors carrying sports apparel and gear for kids.
“I want it to suit the demographic of Whistler,” Doerr said. “It has to appeal to the people that are going up there.”
Over half of the vendors come from Vancouver, but Doerr expects that to change over time.
“I’ll be looking for small businesses that are starting up funky golf lines, you know, things like that,” she said. “There are a lot of small businesses out there that are doing cool things.”
Eventually, Doerr may even try to start up Creekside’s defunct farmer’s market again, incorporating it into the new event, though she would still hold a fashion-focused market once a month.
Small business owners interested in getting involved in future markets can contact Doerr at email@example.com .