It started out as a small idea. Whitney Howell was on a popular buy/sell page on Facebook when she noticed that local businesses and independent artists were being banned from selling their handmade goods. She posted a question to the group asking members if they would be interested in a Facebook page specifically for local artisans and entrepreneurs. Within two hours her proposal had more than 700 comments in support of the group.
“I created the Shop Small Fort Worth Facebook group that day, and by the evening, I had 900 requests for approval,” said Howell.
Now, less than two months later, the page boasts more than 2,500 members. The female-focused group gives local craftsmen, artisans and small businesses an open forum to sell their goods while encouraging people to “shop small.”
“So many ladies who have their own business now have a way to share their passion,” said Howell.
The result is a modern-day marketplace where members can buy everything from pineapple hatch jam to hand-carved bowls and children’s books.
The page has already yielded a partnership with University Car Wash, where Shop Small Fort Worth hosts a pop-up shop every Saturday. The first two pop-ups featured Laura Meyn selling her cookbook Meatless in Cowtown on April 1, followed by hand-crafted soaps, lotions and balms from Olive Tree Body Care on April 9.
“So far it has been an amazing forum for some of these ladies, and I have been so humbled and touched by some of their messages,” said Howell.
The virtual vendors will get a real-life outlet on Sunday, May 15, with the inaugural Shop Small Fort Worth Market. Held at the new female-owned BRIK event venue on South Calhoun, the day will feature more than 30 local vendors. The vendor list will be a who’s who of locally owned businesses including Deirdre Goodman and Tabitha Mahaffey, designers and purveyors of “cowboy modern” home decor shop, Honeysuckle and Bulldog. Goodman said she was thrilled when she realized the Shop Small Fort Worth group existed.
“I just think this whole group is such a great idea. I love the whole idea of shopping locally and being able to have a resource,” said Goodman. It helps us as designers too. It’s like our own little Etsy shop.”
Attendees will find The Soulful Gypsy fashion truck, pastries from Batter Up Pastry Boutique, live on-site sketching from Designs by Kristi and popular food vendors like Austin’s Underdawgs, Steel City Pops and Doughboy Donuts. A portion of the day’s proceeds will be donated to local nonprofit The Net Fort Worth.
Here’s a sneak peek at a few other local artisans you’ll find on-site.
Funky Wright Designs
Handmade jewelry from Mad Jewels
Hair bows and bow ties from The Bow Next Door
Stationery and art prints from Scriptionery
Calligraphy from Lemon Seed Press
Abstract art from Heather Essian
Clothing from Swoon Boutique
Handmade cards and invitations from Four Loves Red
Jewelry made with Freshwater Pearls and Leather Cording from ehn & co
Shop Small Fort Worth Market
Sunday, May 15, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
501 South Calhoun
$5 entry fee