The most wonderful time of the year is almost in full swing as holiday markets, ice skating rinks, and more pop up around New York City.
Small businesses are stocking the shelves early this holiday season and waiting to see how many gifts inflation-weary shoppers feel like giving. Holiday shopping was relatively strong during the past two years as shoppers flocked online to spend, aided by pandemic stimulus dollars. According to the National Retail Federation, sales in November and December have averaged roughly 20% of annual retail sales, making the holiday season the most important for many retailers.
The store, Askan, founded by an artist collective, is looking for a 50% increase in sales this holiday season. According to one of the artists, Suny Figueroa, this will be the second holiday season they open a booth at the famous Chelsea Market in Manhattan, intending to reach a wider clientele. “Our plans after Christmas are to maintain sales and develop new designs for the Spring/Summer season,” said Suny Figueroa.
The black-owned brand was founded in New York City in 2015 to push black culture forward by promoting socially conscious designs. “By combining New York City Street art, edgy trends, and our cultural heritage, we have been able to keep creating creative pieces that leave our supporters wanting more.” The store is located at 151 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, and is also home to about 20 brands and independent designers.
Another artist and entrepreneur in Chelsea Market is Gulsum Keskinoglu, born in 1989 in Afyonkarahisar, Turkey. She started her business online in 2020 and finally opened an actual store/booth at Chelsea Market in May 2022.
“I want to believe that it will be busier than summertime, and I increased my sales in December by around 100% more compared to the last month and grew my connection with people. Chelsea Market is my first Market experience. Having your own business is amazing, but it is also scary that you never know what to expect. After Christmas, I am taking a break for a couple of months and focus on my new art and projects for the next season”, says Gulsum.
The artist studied at Isparta Anatolian Fine Art High School Department of Painting and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mugla Faculty, in Bodrum, of Fine Arts, Department of Sculpture.While participating in various national group exhibitions, Gulsum expanded her studio expertise with ceramic artist Tevfik Turen Karagozoglu in Bodrum. She launched her first solo exhibition in 2015.
Some of the city’s and country’s most beloved and robust holiday markets, the Union Square, Bryant Park, and Columbus Circle Holiday Market by Urbanspace, will make their grand returns this year from November through Saturday, December 24. Four decades in, Manhattan’s longest-running holiday markets has a lot to live up to.
In 2022, these iconic holiday markets will each host more than 175 vendors with unique gifts, original art, handcrafted accessories, and more created by local artisans, artists, and entrepreneurs.
The brand French-York, created in December 2018, is inspired by a marriage of two cultures: New York and Paris. The founder and french designer, Vanessa Duman, will be a vendor the first time in the Union Square market and says participating is easy. Fill out a form and send a registration. The difficulty is that you must build, paint, and decorate your booth yourself. “I paid $17,000, a big investment for a small business like mine, but I know it will be worth it. I hope to earn money, increase my customers, and help with my brand marketing.”
Vanessa Duman moved to New York 7 years ago. She explains that her brand is more than just a fashion. It is the cultural experience of French style with a New York twist. “The creation was the more accessible part, and the most challenging part was the development of the brand, but I am happy with the result after all these years.”
For the future, Vanessa plans to open a store next year and run a booth at the Bryant Park holiday market as well.
“I have been an artist ever since I can remember, and I always have art shows at the art galleries. However, it was not enough. I needed to be consistent, and I made original art and art prints. Also merchandise like hoodies, sweatshirts, and others.”
Veterans of the New York Holiday Market, artisan jewelry brand Studio DuArte is participating for the 14th time in the Columbia Circle market, located in the Central Park west area.
The owner is a New York-based Brazilian designer, Maria Cristina Duarte Veronese (photo), who creates handmade jewelry with unique geometrical designs in sterling silver and gold to produce original and timeless jewelry. Metalsmith and wax carving are Cristina’s primary sculpting methods, allowing her to create pieces that combine all aspects of today’s changing lifestyle.
“This market always rewards me with many tourists from all over the world. I love listening to people talking about my work and having them return after the holidays to buy more jewelry in my store in the East village.”
Maria Cristina Duarte Veronese says holiday markets are an excellent low-cost way to find new customers. Especially if your business is in the early stages or operates online or from home, holiday markets offer brands a retail experience, exposure, and foot traffic with far less risk and no compromise.