Local artisans take part in weekly event
Local artisans presented their products Thursday afternoon in the 1000 block of State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, bringing a larger local presence to the city’s shopping hub.
It was the second week of the State Street Promenade Market, the newest maker marketplace in Santa Barbara.
“I love that Santa Barbara is trying something new,” said Leah Holman, owner of handmade jewelry business Fringe. “This is giving an opportunity for businesses to stand up, breathe again, get outside, show their wares.
“I think that’s what Santa Barbara needs and not so many high rents. We need more attainable goals for the little mom and pop shops.”
She misses Piccadilly Square, now Paseo Nuevo, which housed local vendors in small storefronts.
Ms. Holman represented her product as well as Salty Brothers Soap Co., whose storefront at 429 State St. sells a variety of local vendors including Fringe. She sells her jewelry wholesale to 100 stores across the United States.
She began making jewelry when she was just over 15 years of age and sold it outside of UCSB’s University Center. It helped her save enough money to study in Paris.
After traveling, she came back to Santa Barbara and settled down. Now, she calls her jewelry business a retirement gig.
The pandemic shut down her business, as it did to others, and she created more jewelry.
Henry Sanregret, founder of SBCBD, started selling in markets in December after the pandemic closed trade shows. He sells 12 products in 50 retail locations.
“Ideally, we would be at a big trade show in Las Vegas or L.A. for a health food convention to try to get into new stores, but we’re pretty restricted currently,” he said.
Now that he has started selling at marketplaces, he plans to continue even after trade shows reopen.
“It’s been great to kind of put a face to the brand. I’ve met a lot of people that will stop by the booth and be like, ‘Hey, I tried this product that you make,’” he said. “What I’m really happy with is I get to be here explaining the products to people and helping them pick.”
Kat Sifvuentes, who sells SBCBD at the markets with him, enjoys interacting with customers as well.
“We’re gonna be here every Thursday. This is definitely a great opportunity to get involved more with the community,” she said.
The brand donates 5% of its online sales (SBCBD.com) to Unity Shoppe, a nonprofit that gives low-income families groceries and other supplies. SBCBD also held a food drive at its local wholesalers.
ReGina Christine SB, a handmade arts and crafts business by ReGina Sabens, is yet to have a retail presence. She makes wood-burning artwork and plush cacti.
She makes 10% of her sales online at etsy.com/shop/reginachristinesb and 90% in marketplaces. She’s crafted since she was a child, but she has been a vendor for three years.
“There’s a big difference from when the restaurants are open. When they close the restaurant, that really made a big difference. There was a big drop,” she said.
She noticed more foot traffic this week than last but is hopeful for months ahead.
“Bringing this back is really great for our city, especially now,” she said.
She grew up in Santa Barbara and has seen the city change.
“If you look around on State Street, there’s hardly any local small businesses anymore,” she said. “We’ve got Amazon right across the street, and that’s like a perfect example of what’s taken over.
“This whole street, which used to be a whole bunch of boutiques and things when I was growing up, and a lot of people that I knew from L.A. would come to Santa Barbara to shop because it had that kind of Santa Barbara small-town charm.”
Nine vendors set up Thursday, some with large banners and others with handcrafted posters, representing just a portion of Santa Barbara’s small businesses. Although much of Santa Barbara is closed, the open-air market generated customers during a chilly Thursday evening.