Shoppers on the Christmas hunt can peruse a broad collection of handcrafted goods and art pieces at the recently launched Blue Christmas Collective on lower State Street. Last month, proprietor Antoinette Marquez — whose algae-based skin-care line, Ama SeaBeauty, moved into the 1,800-square-foot storefront in May — opened up floor and wall space for nearly a dozen small Santa Barbara–based artists and crafters. The goods run a range, from Sara Wilcox’s beach art and Marco Mazza’s underwater photography to Barbara Booth’s prints from homemade paper and Dave Arney’s Circculent mini garden boxes. There are also beaded sandals from Her Best Foot Forward, a nonprofit benefiting women in East Africa. The collective offering brings together “like-minded makers who commit to sell [products] created from reusable, recyclable, or consumable materials and/or with zero or recyclable packaging,” Marquez said. “We’re entering a blue economy, where we have to restore thought about consuming less and to think more carefully about what we buy and bring into our lives on a daily basis. I wanted to create a collective that supported mission-driven brands and local eco-crafters.”
The space also represents an open, active storefront along a State Street stretch long plagued by shuttered retail shops. To encourage vendors to participate, Marquez takes a fair percentage of their earnings instead of imposing a rent rate. “It’s tough to find a State Street space that’s affordable,” she said. The retail pop-up also offers workshops, live music, and gift wrapping.
Blue Christmas Collective is open every day from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. through December 24 at 506 State Street. Call 722-2227.