A new market dedicated to the city’s youngest makers debuted Sunday at the Community Arts Workshop in Santa Barbara.
The entrepreneurs varied in age and craft, some as young as early elementary age up to high school seniors. A myriad of talents were on display, from jewelry makers to artists and even a chef.
Bella Rubio sells honey she gathers from three hives. A nearly nonstop line flowed out from her booth Sunday.
“Mom, I’m selling out,” she squealed, legs kicking under the tablecloth.
Her mom Cecilia Rubio helped set up the market, but Youth Makers Market is a family effort.
It began when Aaliyah Rubio, Bella’s older sister, designed and sold her own bracelets through Instagram.
Her entrepreneurial spirit rubbed off, and Bella, who already harvested honey, wanted to turn her hobby into a business.
Mrs. Rubio didn’t know the best way for her 11-year-old to sell honey. Eventually, she thought about markets.
The girls have enjoyed shopping at outdoor markets a lot during the pandemic and have enjoyed local events and driven to Los Angeles markets. So, they decided to create their own market.
They plan to hold the market once per month and ensure the makers have enough time to create their product between dates.
Braydon Farias heard about the opportunity from Aaliyah.
He has been cooking for four years and has spent the past couple months mastering a pozole recipe. Sunday was his first time selling, and he was busy ladling hearty scoops all afternoon.
It’s the first time he’d tried anything like this but he has always wanted to explore the possibility of being a chef and owning a business.
He can see himself creating tasty dishes in a restaurant — or managing the restaurant — as a future career.
And he enjoys interacting with customers. It entertains him to meet new people, he said.
He said his parents were “very supportive” of the business. Selling pozole was his mom’s idea, and he has been thrilled with the process.
His booth is well-equipped with a propane-fueled warmer to keep the soup hot throughout the afternoon. And on his table is a chef’s hat embroidered with his name.
Padma Ventura, one of the youngest vendors, served up popsicles from her booth “Padma’s Pops.”
She wore a shirt that said “minding my Latina-owned business” with popsicles on it. She sells at the Mujeres Makers Market, a new market featuring women of color.
Padma is the youngest vendor at Mujeres Makers Market, which accepted her because of her mission: to raise money for a fisherman in Mexico who lost his arm.
She heard about the man’s painful story from her grandmother and wanted to help out. She loves popsicles, particularly strawberry pops, so she knew that was the business for her.
She displays a picture of the fisherman in her booth with a donation jar, hoping to raise money on top of her popsicle sales.
Padma likes selling popsicles because they can “make people happy,” she said. And selling at the market is “really fun and helps (her) get outside a little more.”
She doesn’t have close friends participating, but some of her neighbors have booths. She enjoys watching them sell their products.
Emma Baltadano, a senior at Santa Barbara High School, heard about the new space through Mujeres Makers Market.
She sold beauty products, jewelry and tapestries online. She recently started selling at Mujeres Makers Market.
She started her business, Mariposa Cosmetics, in August of 2020 by herself. She used Christmas and birthday money she had saved to build up her stock and make her own lip gloss.
“I have a passion for fashion and beauty, stuff like that. And I really wanted to see what else I can do with that rather than just wear it myself. And I thought, why not try and create a little business and see where that goes,” she said.
Building her business was a “creative and healthy” use of her free time during the pandemic, she said.
“When lockdown started, I kind of felt like I was in a period that was just never ending, just kind of stuck doing the same thing over and over,” she said.
Her friends supported her as she launched her pandemic-grown business, and she hopes the market is another successful space.
Her mom, Candice Banales described Emma as a “good example” for other young adults coping with the pandemic.
Most of the parents at Youth Makers Market stepped back and watched their children process the sales.
“It makes me feel great as a mother to see them be so successful. I’m sure every parent here feels the same,” Mrs. Rubio said.
For more information on Youth Makers Market, contact (805) 896-3856 or firstname.lastname@example.org.