International Artisan Market: Four Years Strong
by Samuel Brooks (B.S. ’18)
Established by two traditional undergraduate students, Cornerstone University's International Artisan Market (IAM) began four years ago. After meeting local artisans in Ecuador who were trying to sell unique products but experienced difficulties due to the saturation of their market, the students knew that they needed to find a way to help these individuals. As a result, two Cornerstone students created the International Artisan Market with the goal of connecting with both local and international artisan vendors, as well as students from NorthPointe Christian Schools.
Mikayla Walker (B.S. ’20) and Cayte Baker (B.A. ’19) serve as the project coordinators for the fourth annual International Artisan Market. This year's market is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Over the previous three years, attendance has increased from only a couple hundred during the first two years to over 500 participants last year. Even more shoppers are expected at this year's event.
"The increase in yearly attendance has helped us to bring in more vendors," Walker said.
According to Walker and Baker, "the overall vendors' revenue was approximately $5,000 for the first year with a $1,000 to $3,000 increase per year after."
To be qualified as a vendor for IAM, the coordinators review vendor applications, looking for those who sell handmade products and/or products with an intentional purpose and learning about each organization's background. There is a $10 application fee for all applicants, along with a $30 booth fee that is only charged to those that don't classify as a nonprofit or fair trade organization. The $30 fee goes to support the missions of nonprofits and fair trade organizations.
The fourth annual event will include live music presented by student volunteers to create a more relaxing feel, the sale of IAM T-shirts and a selection of food products.
Besides the chance to start shopping for Christmas gifts, as stated by Walker, "the market provides an opportunity for community members to meet vendors and nonprofit representatives face-to-face and give resources that will support those who are providing fair trade products or have a service-oriented mission."