To this day and ever since I was a little girl, when I ask my mom what she wants for her birthday or Christmas, she smiles and says, “Make me something.” I feel blessed to be raised in a family where a special experience together or a handmade gift is considered far more valuable than purchasing something from someone’s Amazon wish list.
Before I ever started Urban Air Market, a curated pop-up marketplace featuring local makers with socially responsible design practices, I’d host small holiday crafting parties with a couple of friends around my kitchen table. My favorite group project was hiking outside and collecting fall leaves together. Then, armed with white glue and rice paper, we’d make these candles:
When I grew up a little and got married, I liked sending my husband out for the night and having my girlfriends over to make homemade bath and beauty products. We’d save all of our empty glass and plastic containers for a year, study natural product recipes on YouTube, and then get together to make great smelling lotions, toners, and spritzes for our loved ones:
This year, Urban Air Market will have its first Holiday Show in Oakland, California’s Jack London Square. When the venue manager at 55 Harrison St. suggested that we host a community event in conjunction with their tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 1st, I jumped at the chance to host another crafting party, but this time on a much grander scale. I’m thrilled to see 20 different Urban Air Market vendor-led crafting stations spring to life for our attendees to make stuff together like:
- DIY terrariums
- Lip scrubs and bath salts with Himalayan salts and essential oils
- Bracelets made from paracord and a buckle
- Screen printed and ink blocked wrapping paper with silk dyed ribbon
- Cold connection accessories and rings
- Bandanas and toys for your dogs and cats
- Handmade watercolor and collaged holiday cards
- Hand bound notebooks
- Hand stitched leather and ceramic tree ornaments
When people ask me why I started Urban Air Market, I say that it’s my way of promoting a more sustainable lifestyle, which seems especially important when taking into account how environmentally devastating the fast fashion industry and rampant consumerism are to our planet. I also say that we provide a platform for supporting small creative businesses and allow consumers to meet their makers face to face. Finally, Urban Air Market is a community event that brings people out of their homes, away from their computer screens for a couple of hours, and into real life where they can meet, talk, and laugh with each other.
Just as I was proud to help bring the awareness-increasing mission of Fashion Revolution from the East Coast to the San Francisco Bay Area for the first time, I’m proud today that Make Your Own Holiday Gift with Urban Air Market will be included in the awe-inspiring list of community events on the calendar for MAKE SMTHNG Week this December.
During these uncertain times where people seem more divided than ever, I think it’s important that this holiday season we slow down, reconnect, and get back to basics. What better way for friends and families to share experiences and meaningful time together than through the art of crafting?
After producing successful art gallery events and runway fashion shows, Danielle Cohen got interested in sustainability and her mission to help creators reduce waste. At Urban Air Market, Cohen helps connect independent artists and designers with their ideal customers through a shopping experience that both builds community and supports the local economy. Whether it involves their packaging, delivery, upcycling, recycling, or the way they take the environment into consideration, the designers and businesses participating in Urban Air Market have to incorporate sustainable practices in some way. Follow Urban Air Market on Instagram