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Behind CraftHer Market: Why Shopping Local is a Community Mindset

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Sponsored Content, By Natalia Rocafuerte, Photos by Tess Cagle

CraftHer

Every year, through my role at the Austin-based nonprofit #BossBabesATX, I produce a market called CraftHer. As a biannual exhibition, the market showcases more than 115 makers and 3,500 attendees every time it pops up, which is surprising, considering its humble beginnings. 

The market got its start in 2016. It was a risky, intuitive idea set out to answer one question: What might happen if we created space for the hundreds of women business owners in our community to share and sell their goods?

We’ve been answering that question since. And we know a bit more now than when we started. 

Markets and community spaces that prioritize gender-equal, small and diverse businesses are vital to our economy. A side hustle has become a sustainable income for many women (especially marginalized women) to make ends meet. While long-term unemployment rates and gender/racial pay gaps have increased in the past 10 years, four out of every 10 businesses are now owned by women driven to create their own businesses out of necessity. 

In this vein, creative entrepreneurship has become a thriving community and economy for women and LGBTQIA-plus entrepreneurs—not just a hot topic. Yet although online shops are being opened and W-9s are being filed, women business owners and freelancers (like creatives, artists and makers) still represent the most underserved community and face a lack of visibility, support and opportunities. These barriers become amplified depending on the intersections of one’s racial, sexual and socioeconomic identities as well.

So, CraftHer Market serves to bridge these gaps. As a pop-up market, the biannual event is an exercise in community and the benefits of supporting local, creative businesses.

Does this sound interesting? Get involved. CraftHer Market is estimated to generate an additional $300,000 per year for the Austin economy, thanks to the community that attends, supports and shows up. 

Join us for this spring’s CraftHer Market April 14 at Fair Market on East Fifth Street. And be sure to support gender-diverse, racially diverse businesses year-round!

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