This past weekend, it was the 45th edition of Fair November, the annual craft show at the University of Guelph that takes over two floors of the University Centre with a wide variety of hats, jewelry, pottery, edibles, and other handmade goods. But who are these people, and how did they go about turning their passion into a small business?
Fair November is a big date on the local craft fair calendar, and an important yearly destination for people looking for one of a kind holiday gifts. Make no mistake, the craft business is booming! The Association for Creative Industries noted that there was a 45 per cent increase in revenue from the handcraft business between 2011 and 2017. That’s $30.1 billion, according to one source, which is about half of what the entire professional sports industry makes in the United States in a year.
Of course, Guelph’s slice of the “craft-conomy” has it’s own special flavour. People like the long hours, four day schedule, the easy to access location, no admission fees and lots of food and coffee nearby should people need a break, and then there’s the always helpful student volunteers who are there to marshal the visitors and assist the vendors as needed. It’s a veritable craft utopia, and on this episode we talk to the ones that live there.
So this week on the podcast, we’ll hear from:
- W. Bruce Smith of Paddles
- Sarah Allison-Chorabik of Ontario Honey Creations
- Karen Wilson of Karen WIlson Handbags
- Stefan Marinov of Koka-Bora Creations
- Wanda Lane of Stonescapes
- Nancy Smith of Under the Divi
- Errol Caldwall of Turning Point, and
- Charlene Downey of Noggins
With these vendors, we discuss the fine points of their arts and crafts, how they turned their hobbies into thriving businesses, and what makes Fair November such an important destination for craft makers and craft enthusiasts alike.
So let’s head to the floor of Fair November on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
If you missed this year’s Fair November, you will be able to find it again on the second weekend of November in 2020. If you are an artisan, and you would like to take part in next year’s Fair, you can reserve your spot today by going to the Fair November website.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.