Small Business Challenge: Day 19, 20, 21
Hessler Street Fair Edition
Simply Betsy Company – 216.688.7576
Fraiche – http://www.fraicheclothing.com
UFilME (on FB as Red Strype)
For one reason or another, I seem to miss out on The Hessler Street Fair each year. Somehow, all my ducks were in a row and I was able to make it down to the event. Even though this is usually one of my busiest seasons, I managed to take a break and head down on Sunday.
The Hessler Neighborhood Association was founded in 1969 as a non-profit corporation engaged in activities to enhance the social and architectural quality of the neighborhood. The HNA is involved with may projects, including the Hessler Street Fair that takes place every May in Cleveland’s University Circle area. Current projects of the HNA also include
The City Works Neighborhood Matching Grant, Administrating Neighborhood Improvement Program and Revolving Loans for Restoration and Repairs.
Events like The Hessler Street Fair serve several purposes to me as an artist: the sights, sounds and energies of being around other creatives rejuvenates me, there is usually some great food at these events and I get to catch up with a lot of people i hadn’t seen all at one time. Always multitasking and always working in one form or another, I was also hoping to find a few new accessory vendors for my store.
Before anything, I knew I had to catch up with Betsy Gates of Simply Betsy. I met her back in college and thankfully, we kept in touch through Facebook. I say thankfully, because kids and running a business pushes us along with hardly any time for the phone or otherwise. Betsy is another one of the KSU budding creative entrepreneurs that I came up with back in the day.
Yes!!!! The grind continues….
Simply Betsy was created, along with husband Renaldo to change skincare by providing natural and healthy skin care products. The company philosophy is built upon the following concepts: To provide a new and healthy way of bathing, to provide a new and healthy way of moisturizing and to create another path toward a healthier lifestyle.
When I found her stand, the products looked more like candies than soaps and before I knew it, my small white bag turned into a large brown bag with handles. My shopping experience and choices were made by what looked good and by actually smelling the products. I purchased a few things including The Wonder Bar, Sugar Scrub, Shea Butter, Mud Bath and of course, Betsy’s signature item, The Betsy Bar. She had many other items, but I think I grabbed a nice range to start.
Next, I headed to my friend, Red Strype, a handcrafted jewelry designer for his brand, UFilME Art. His work is truly unique using twisted metals with various stones, many with holistic effects. The ring I purchased a few weeks ago was copper with a Sodalite Gemstone which brings inner peace (need that) and is good for endurance (definitely need that). Looking for more peace and endurance, I knew I needed to check him out. He had several rings, pendants and bracelets at his stand, so it was hard to pick just one.
Then I saw it. All alone, waiting for me.
This bracelet is the perfect compliment to the peaceful ring (that I happened to be wearing that day). I have to remember to ask what effects the stone has in my bracket, but at that moment, I can say: fashionably satisfied – is there a stone for that?
There are few things to stop me from shopping, but, my stomach reminded me that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and in between the vending and catching a live performance by Carlos Jones and The P.L.U.S. Band, I was overdue.
What started as a break led me to a discover a few new vendors that I missed during my first tour through the fair. Perfect timing also. Nothing excites me more than arts and music, but having the opportunity to meet a new business owner and / or designer. I try to make it a point to pay attention to what’s going on in the city…who’s doing what, where, etc. Yes, I’m nosey, but, overall, it’s important to me to seek out others in the arts community. Just when I think I know just about everyone and everything, I’m pleased to learn something new….
I am SUPPOSED to wear glasses. I rarely do. (Maybe it’s vanity or the fact I think there is something ironic about a designer that can’t see too well). My glasses are often left in my car for driving at night. In an effort to coach myself into being motivated to wear them, I was on the hunt for different frames to try before I changed my current style.
Then, I actually SAW Fraiche, a local eyewear designer. Great. I headed right over. There were so many fun, chic colors and frames, I knew I was in trouble. In my usual shopping fashion, before even asking the price, I had about 3 pairs in my hand- for research.
Fraiche is a Cleveland based company selling unique eyewear, t shirts and sweatshirts.
He had a sample of his eyewear on display, and I was hooked. The line is definitely something I would consider for the store. But for now, I settled on these:
The Hessler Street Fair = SUCCESS! Shopping, music, good people, good food…what more can you ask for?
I’ll be back…..
In honor of May being National Small business month, as a small business owner, I decided to actively seek out and use at least one small business per day for the month. To read more about this challenge, and join in, click here.