Fifth Annual International Artisan Market to Support Local and International Artisans
by Simone Dekryger (B.A. ’22)
Celebrating diversity and supporting both local and international artisans, Cornerstone University's International Artisan Market (IAM) on Nov. 2 will spotlight over 60 vendors selling handcrafted goods. Held in the Bernice Hansen Athletic Center, the market is organized by 10 students on the CU Enactus team.
The idea was originally conceived and led by Sarah Marsman and Sandra Blasey, two Cornerstone alumni, and the market is in its fifth year. Now that they graduated, the market is headed by Madison Marks, a sophomore who is part of the CIHI program and studies marketing, and Mikayla Walker, a senior studying business management. They are also assisted by co-advisors Jordan Grooters, communications coordinator, and Dr. Rachel Hammond, chair of the Business Division.
CU Enactus saw a need to open up a larger market for local businesses while visiting another country. "During a trip to Quito, Ecuador, for another Enactus project, students saw a need to combine international businesses and bring them here to the states," Marks said. Creating a foundation in the United States opened up new opportunities for them.
Opening at 9 a.m., the market will feature goods for sale, homemade food items and some kids activities as well. This year, various companies will even have interactive booths, such as NOVO Chiropractic offering free massages.
The market presents huge benefits for everyone included, whether it be vendors, students or customers. Participating businesses are able to expand to new customers and receive all the profits they make. CU Enactus charges a small fee for registrations and a booth, but the money goes back into the funding for the market the following year. A portion of the money also goes to one business that Enactus chooses to sponsor. This year, CU Enactus decided to donate the money to Casa de Esperanza.
Local and international vendors are not the only ones who benefit either. The IAM is also a blessing to customers.
"I always get a lot of my Christmas shopping done at the market," Grooters said. The items sold are unique and cannot be bought in a regular store. "You know that this is a gift that was thoroughly thought through from start to finish. There is meaning behind it," Walker said.
For students currently involved in CU Enactus, the market gives students experience coordinating and implementing a large event.
"I think it's also important for the students to get this experience planning, marketing and executing an event like this," Grooters said. "The communication and organizational skills gained are a huge bonus!"
Overall, the event promotes community growth. Clients can connect with new local businesses while also opening up international commerce. CU Enactus provides a pamphlet with a list of all the vendors so customers can stay connected and continue to shop through these mission-based vendors. This way, even though businesses may be located abroad, clients can still buy their products. The foundational vision is "to bridge the gap between international businesses and people here in the States," Marks said.
"The International Artisan Market is important for our community because it allows local and international artisans to sell their goods in a profitable market," Grooters concluded. "Shopping ethically helps create a better world for all of us, and purchasing locally sourced goods is an easy way to contribute!"