Modern Makers Mart, a handmade craft show that travels to cities across Orange County, offers artisans and small businesses opportunities to launch their brands. The makers market is making its way to the Dana Point Harbor this Saturday, June 3, bringing more than 60 vendor booths along the boardwalk near Harpoon Henry’s from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Christy Pardini launched the makers market in December 2021 to support small businesses, artists and handcrafters who struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are a handmade market that celebrates small businesses,” Pardini said. “We highlight anything handmade, but we do allow small businesses that create their own items, and it’s been really popular in South OC.”
Modern Makers Mart supports small businesses and artisans who may not have had the experience of selling their crafts at other markets, helping them learn how to create an aesthetic display.
“When you have a small business, a lot of times you start it because you are good at something, you’re good at making jewelry, but then you realize you have to wear many hats and you’re not always good at everything, of course,” Pardini said.
For first-time vendors, Pardini offers to show makers how to set up a booth and how to make the booth look “inviting versus just laying things down flat on the table and putting the price on the back.”
Pardini’s father, who was an exhibit designer and graphic designer, helped Pardini set up her first booth when she was a vendor selling kids’ dress-up clothing.
“You never forget your first (market),” Pardini said. “So, I try to take that to heart when someone’s new and not say, ‘No, you can’t do that until you have experience,’ because everybody has to start somewhere.”
Modern Makers Mart also tries to keep its vendor prices on the lower side to support new makers.
“Especially for beginners, you’re putting so much money into your product, your brand,” Pardini said. “It’s hard, and it’s disheartening sometimes when you can’t afford something. We try to be really affordable when it comes to that.”
Pardini launched her first market, Uptown Village Market in Long Beach, 14 years ago.
When COVID hit and most of the markets, including Uptown Village, temporarily shuttered, Pardini took the opportunity to start this new handcrafted market.
“When we first started, we would kind of take anybody,” Pardini said. “Now, what we do is we try to mold them and help them learn how to visually create a space that’s welcoming and inviting.”
“So, when we curate the events, we take all these visual components that everybody’s sent to us and we print them … and we create our market that way,” Pardini continued. “So, Dana Point, we’ll add a few more beachy-themed vendors and pet vendors.”
While looking to curate vendors that fit the location’s theme, Pardini added that Modern Makers Mart also likes to feature unique, standout vendors including ones that sell 3D printed toys and movie prop rentals.
“Something totally different so that it’s not all sea glass jewelry and sea art landscape,” Pardini said.
“When we do applications, we always ask for a photo of your booth because we do have a certain aesthetic that we are looking for, and this is one reason why we have different brands is because people fall into different categories,” Pardini said.
In addition to Modern Makers Mart, Pardini also runs farmers markets, night markets and continues to run Uptown Village Market in Long Beach.
“So, Modern Makers is like our daytime crafts, more geared towards just handmade events, and we also have a nonprofit called Farm and Craft Market,” Pardini said. “So, we run a series of farmers markets through that.”
The farmers markets typically occur weekly in Mission Viejo, Tustin and Bellflower.
“So, we’re pretty busy with the farmers market, and that’s kind of a newer passion project for me just because we need to get more healthy food out there for people to eat and have access to, and farmers markets are such a great way to do that,” Pardini said.
Pardini explained that the night markets are typically a “festival type” of weekend night events in Mission Viejo, Tustin, Huntington Beach and Long Beach.
“These are more of your traditional outdoor festivals, so we have a beer garden, we have all the fun food booths, we have larger bands playing,” Pardini said. “We do have craft vendors there as well, but it’s not just geared towards that. We put all the big games out, Jenga, cornhole and all that stuff. Those have become really popular.”
Modern Makers Mart accepts makers of all kinds, Pardini explained, and especially loves highlighting young makers.
“We do a little kid craft area,” Pardini said. “We always have an art project for them of some sort where they can make something, because they are our future makers.”
“Then, we always have some live music, because those are our music makers, so we try to incorporate all the different ways that you can make art even though it’s not necessarily making jewelry or bracelets or fine art,” Pardini continued.
Classic rock duo American Standard is scheduled to perform this Saturday.
This upcoming event will be the market’s second time in Dana Point after the Modern Makers Mart popped up in the harbor in May 2022.
“We love Dana Point,” Pardini said. “Last May, it was so successful, people were shopping for two hours after we had closed last year; it was just insane. People were so happy to be there, they were just hanging out with us, having a great time.”
“And the view,” Pardini continued. “I mean, we’re literally right there on the boardwalk with all the boats, you can hear the seals. It’s just very serene.”