The Mujeres Makers Market saw more than a hundred attendees and featured 50 vendors, made up of local creators and artists, at its one-year anniversary market on May 1, 2022, at Casa de la Guerra. | Credit: Jun Starkey

The Mujeres Makers Market celebrated its one-year anniversary on Sunday, May 1, at Casa de la Guerra, bringing together more than a hundred attendees and 50 vendors to  the pop-up centered on local vendors and women of color selling a variety of artisanal goods.

The Mujeres Makers Market made its debut May 2021 with about 30 vendors selling handmade jewelry, ceramics, baked goods, vintage clothing, purses, shoes, and cosmetics. What began as an opportunity for artists and creators to venture into entrepreneurship has since blossomed into a bustling market. 

Barbara Martinez, owner of A Happy Mush, sells some of her handmade jewelry to a young market attendee on May 1, 2022, at Casa de la Guerra in Santa Barbara. | Credit: Jun Starkey

The anniversary celebration included passports that could be filled out by attendees visiting and receiving a stamp from every vendor, no purchase necessary. Leah Ortega, one of the market’s founders, said this feature was to encourage attendees to see what every vendor had to offer. Those who had their passports filled out and turned in were automatically entered into a raffle for one of 30 prizes donated by the vendors, many of whom have been with the Mujeres Market since its inception. 

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Barbara Martinez, jewelry designer and owner of A Happy Mush, has been with the market since the beginning, creating a customer base and connecting with other small business owners through the pop-ups. “It’s been helpful to have a support system of other people that are winging it too,” Martinez said. “That support system has allowed me to expand and continue growing.”

 Vendors and attendees mingled at the Mujeres Makers Market on May 1 at Casa de la Guerra. | Credit: Jun Starkey

Ortega, who is also the owner of Ortega Vintage Goods, said she has noticed an increase of patrons and vendors traveling from Los Angeles, the Bay Area, or San Diego to attend and participate in the pop-up, and she attributed the growth to a desire to purchase more hand-made or locally produced products. “A lot of people have been exposed to what we’re doing in our community,” Ortega said. “It’s incredible to know we’re making an impact and that people see what we’re doing here and want to be a part of it.”

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