As author Julia Cameron advises in her book The Artist’s Way, I try to find time to take myself on artist dates. I don’t normally get to this once a week as she suggests, but I’d say at least once a month. Last Friday was one of those days. This time, I invited fellow crafter Monica of The Creative Beast to come along. Our destination: CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles.
For those of you not familiar with CRAFTED, here’s how they describe themselves:
“CRAFTED AT THE PORT OF LOS ANGELES is a new concept for Southern California; a large-scale permanent craft marketplace. Our classic World War II-era waterside warehouses will grow to be home to hundreds of individual craft-artists, designers, and artisanal food makers. Each artist presents their unique handcrafted goods in a vibrant patchwork of market stalls. Visitors will be treated to a huge variety of one-of-a kind treasures and have the chance to meet the makers every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – that’s 52 weekends a year of handmade happiness!”
I mean, what crafter wouldn’t want to go see what this is all about?!
The reason for my visit was two-fold. Obviously, I wanted to check out fellow crafters and their wares. I love a good craft fair as much as the next person! The second reason was informational from a crafting business standpoint. Just what is this permanent craft mart all about, and is it feasible for me to become a part of it? Armed with my camera, notepad and pen, I aimed to find out.
After an hour drive, which isn’t too crazy in southern CA, we arrived ready for action. But… I was starving! Let me just say CRAFTED does a great job of taking care of their patrons. Look what greeted us in the parking lot as we pulled up!
CRAFTED has food trucks scheduled every day they’re open for business. Great idea ~ feed the shoppers on the grounds and they won’t feel the need to leave to find food, and possibly not come back. Good thinking, CRAFTED!
After we gorged ourselves on what was quite possibly the best pastrami sandwich I’ve had in southern CA, we were ready to do some damage.
As we entered the main door of CRAFTED, we were greeted by hanging birds and a few red picnic tables scattered about.
CRAFTED’s standard stalls are 10’x10’ and 10’×20′, with wall heights of 5’9”. Up to 3 artists can share a stall space, or one artist can represent up to 5 artists total in one space. The stalls must be manned by someone associated with the space during business hours, but CRAFTED takes care of most of the marketing, event planning, and security [find out more on their website here].
There’s quite a bit of variety, although I will say there are a lot of jewelry vendors. I think that’s pretty common at craft marts and fairs though.
We also found food vendors:
I bought one of Michelle’s handmade burp cloths for my friend who recently had a baby. Great quality and such cute patterns! I had a hard time deciding, but the elephant pattern won in the end. What is it about elephants that are just so darn cute?!
We saw clothing, skin care, baking items, furniture, purses, just to name a few.
These ladies really impressed us:
Peggy Forrester of Nagare and Tish Pollack of Diva Beads really have their act together. They rent two stalls’ worth of space and the setup is so inviting, we were not only drawn in but stayed and chatted with them for quite a while. As we talked, both women worked on projects and happily showed us some of their favorite creations.
I have to say, every vendor we met was so nice. The place just oozes welcoming craftiness. It’s a very inviting and happy environment. And all the vendors said the same thing ~ they are so glad they have a space at CRAFTED.
We also heard that CRAFTED is working on expanding into the other warehouse, complete with a restaurant! And not only do they offer permanent craftiness, they offer Zumba classes! No joke. They had a sign and everything:
If that isn’t a one-stop shop, I don’t know what is.
All in all, it was a very informative trip. I am very interested to see how CRAFTED grows over the next year. And I am definitely putting it down on my business “plan” for the future. If you haven’t been to CRAFTED yet, I highly recommend checking it out.
If you’re a fellow artist/writer, what are some recent artist’s dates you’ve been on?
What are future ones you have planned?