Cleveland is a city famous for its flea markets and craft shows.
But local makers like Nikki Lundberg, the creator of Odyssey and Oddities jewelry shop, are losing financial security as they're being forced to shift their business models due to regulations surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.
“It’s extremely important — it’s the vast majority of my income," Lundberg says. "I mean, I make online sales but it pales in comparison to how much I make at markets."
To help alleviate the hardships makers are facing, Creative Babes, a local collective of designers, artists, photographers and more, is launching a series of virtual markets to help support independent creatives.
"Makers don’t know what to do with the markets cancelled," says Gia Fantozzi Paulovich, organizer for Creative Babes Cleveland. "Everything is up in the air right now."
These digital shopping centers will allow shoppers to browse goods from more than 40 local vendors, including Lundberg, all in the same place. The organization is also using Facebook Events to raise awareness for the initiative.
The Creative Babes virtual market goes live March 20 on its website. Other vendors include Oceanne, Free Period Press and many others.
Creative Babes isn't the only group hosting virtual markets. Wildroots Market, which typically operates a flea market at the Van Aken District, hosted a virtual market March 15 on Instagram. Crafty Mart also plans promote artists and vendors on its Instagram.
Meanwhile, other independent shops are also finding ways to get creative online. Some remain open in a limited capacity, such as Oh Pink Party! shop which is holding "office hours" in its store. Legend Headwear, like many other vendors, is offering 20% off certain orders. And many stores, including Emily Roggenburk and vintage shop Highland Throwbacks, are offering free shipping on online orders.
That means, in addition to restaurant workers and musicians in need, there are plenty of opportunities to support local makers without leaving your house.
"We need to check in with people and see what we can do for one another," says Fantozzi Paulovich. “Even if it makes people an extra 20 bucks, it’s still an extra 20 bucks they didn’t have before."
More information: facebook.com/events