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Go support local Bratz

Sixth annual Bratz Biz to be held this Saturday at Whistler High School



You better get there early because the beloved sock monkeys will sell out fast. You know exactly what I'm talking about.

If you don't, I'll tell you: the sixth annual Bratz Biz artisan market is happening this Saturday, flooding Whistler with more homemade jewelery, fashionable hats and baked sweets than you'd even want to shake a stick at.

"Our event is a real family event so people should plan to stay early, take in the entertainment and there's plenty of great food," says organizer and founder Susan Shrimpton.

Thirty-six kids, up to the age of 19, will sell their homemade wares. Prices range between $3 and $50, and all the proceeds go right into the artisans' pockets. So, not only will they be relatively loaded (or in the hole, depending on the product), but they're also learning the basics of entrepreneurship.

"It's a whole self-confidence thing, and (it's) exposure to the business experience, which they don't really get anywhere else," Shrimpton says.

But beyond that, she says she's heard from families that in preparing the products for the market, families have found some quality time together that might otherwise be eaten up by other extracurricular activities (dance, hockey, um, TV).

Shrimpton and Carmen Laslett started Bratz Biz as a way to help develop their own children's crafty skills. There were around 25 participants that first year.

"We weren't really quite sure what the response would be, but it was fantastic that first year," she says.

The reputation, and demand, for these homegrown products became so strong that participation swelled to around 50 kids. Despite the aesthetically pleasing set up of all these wares, Shrimpton says the organizers decided to scale back the event so they wouldn't be flooding the market. With around 35 participants, she says they've found their sweet spot.

The market is held either a week or two after Bizarre Bazaar — the Sea to Sky's premier (and increasingly over-priced) artisan market. This year, several Bratz sold their products at the Bazaar, which not only awarded them a little extra cash but also served as an advertisement for the full-on Bratz Biz this week.

But all you really need to know is there will be wildly popular sock monkeys for sale and you should line up early to buy them. And this has nothing to do with the fact that the daughter of Pique's editor partnered with a girlfriend to make them. No, nothing to do with that at all.

Um...go, now! Support them Bratz.

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