Sarah Jane Oiler is one of several organizers promoting pop-up markets in and around Asheville this holiday season. The Weaverville-based artist, who creates wire-crafted bonsai trees under the business name Bean’s Bonsai, envisioned this year’s Winter in the Weave event when a popular Weaverville storefront became vacant. Oiler knew the building’s owner and asked him if she could host a pop-up market in the space while it was in transition. “He agreed,” she joked, “after I explained to him what a pop-up market was.”
The brick-and-mortar shop is the standard of commerce: A space with a street address where shoppers can peruse wares. But that model isn’t for everyone. There are overhead costs to consider, such as rent and utilities, and for the owner of a small or micro-business — say, an indie-crafter — sometimes a virtual shop at an online platform such as Etsy makes more sense than ponying up for an in-real-life storefront. But even that low-overhead model isn’t always a perfect fit, such as when micro-business owners are planning to do big business around the holidays. Enter the pop-up shop, a short-term locale, often run like a market or craft fair, where indie sellers can present their products in a brick-and-mortar space.
Pop-ups can take place at an existing business (such as the Holiday Mingle and Jingle, hosted by The Grey Eagle), at a rented space (such as The Show & Tell Holiday Pop Up Shop, held at the Masonic Temple) or, as in the case of Winter in the Weave, at an empty storefront with the permission of the building’s owner.
The motivation to try a pop-up format was an easy call for Oiler, who has participated in her share of formal art events. “Artists put a lot of money into doing shows this time of year,” she says. “I wanted to have an event where artists could participate for a lower entry fee, as well as provide unique holiday shopping in one stop.”
And in a small community like Weaverville, word spreads fast. Oiler estimates that more than 13,000 people have seen the Thursday, Dec. 6, market promoted on social media and throughout the community. She also emphasizes that vendors will be present during Winter in the Weave to encourage shoppers to “get to know where your local goods are coming from.”
Oiler teamed up with business owner Mari Fox (Shecology) and jewelry artist Alli Winston (Beads of Change Asheville) to find the right mix of participants. The trio quickly recruited a group of local makers offering a range of handmade goods such as pottery, body-care items, paintings, bags, jewelry and more. The market gets a lively boost from musical performances as well as on-demand screenprinting from Grift Town Goods. Shoppers can also enter a raffle for a gift basket filled with items from participating vendors. Creperie and Café, located next door to Winter in the Weave, will be offering drink and food specials.
Winter in the Weave is presented Thursday, Dec. 6, 5-9 p.m. at 115 N. Main St., Weaverville.
Curious about other holiday markets? Check out these pop-ups planned around Asheville.
• The Show & Tell Holiday Pop Up Shop is described as “a handmade and vintage shopping experience” by event organizers Stephanie Mergelsberg and Sally Hudson. The two fill the third floor of the Asheville Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway, with vintage gifts and apparel, as well as unique new items such as food gifts, toys, art, homewares and accessories from more than 125 local, independent vendors. Complimentary gift wrapping service is also available with all tips going to Homeward Bound. Open daily through Wednesday, Dec. 19, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. showandtellpopupshop.com
• During the annual Sip & Shop at Grovewood Gallery, 111 Grovewood Road, visitors can drop in for complimentary refreshments while perusing the gallery’s collection of American-made crafts. The gallery is hosting a number of artist demos, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and will offer a 10 percent discount on merchandise during the two-day event, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. grovewood.com
• The Potters Holiday Pop-Up showcases the work of more than 20 local potters. Along with holiday gifts and functional wares will be the work of featured artist Mac McCusker, an instructor at Odyssey Clayworks, who was named a 2018 Emerging Artist by Ceramics Monthly. “While McCusker’s functional pottery often incorporates serious social commentary made more palatable by humor, his main focus is on narrative sculpture,” says a press release. “His current work focuses on prejudices about transgender and nonbinary individuals, as well as issues challenging the larger LGBTQIA community.” The show is slated for Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Club Eleven, 11 Grove St.
• Purchase handmade goods from members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild during the group’s Holiday Makers Sale. A variety of gift items will be offered, including ceramics, fine jewelry, handwoven and dyed wearables, glass art, hand-bound journals and kitchen goods, all available at special discounted prices from dozens of participating artists. Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Folk Art Center, Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. craftguild.org
• Crafty vendors fill The Grey Eagle, 185 Clingman Ave., with holiday cheer at the second annual Holiday Mingle and Jingle pop-up market, where goods range from ceramics and wood to jewelry and visual art. Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. thegreyeagle.com
• Head to Hendersonville’s Sanctuary Brewing Co., 147 First Ave. E., for one-stop shopping and giving. Bazaar festivities feature live music, food, drink specials and an array of gift options from featured vendors Julian Creek Artworks, Knits by April, Moochie Designs, Kaleidoscope Studios, Tickle My Whiskers, Vickie Burick Photography, Silver Swan Designs and Art For Animals. Local nonprofits and event organizers Sweet Bear Rescue Farm and Asheville Vegan Society will be on hand to share information about their organizations, and Sanctuary Brewing will be collecting coats and blankets for those in need. There’s also a chance to have a photo snapped with Santa during this inaugural pop-up. Saturday, Dec. 8, 2-6 p.m.
• A newly formed RAD-South group, composed of studios and businesses along Lyman and Foundy streets, is hosting a holiday market during the RAD Second Saturday Studio Stroll on Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dozens of studio artists inside Riverview Station, 191 Lyman St., and along Foundy Street, offer artist demos and workshops, as well as a scavenger hunt and holiday specials. Plēb Urban Winery hosts a post-market party beginning at 8 p.m. thevillagepotters.com
• Fair Goods Collaborative, a business group founded by women-led small businesses in Asheville, presents Good Tidings: An Ethical Pop Up Shop this holiday season at WARE, 51 College St. Focused on fair-trade gifts, each group member is dedicated to sourcing handmade, ethically produced goods from international partners. Shop for textiles and homewares, jewelry, coffee and more weekdays (except Tuesday), 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., and weekends, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., through Friday, Dec. 28. fairgoodscollaborative.com
• The East Asheville Tailgate Market offers produce, meat, crafts, jewelry, clothing and more. “Support your local artisans and farmers this holiday season while enjoying live music and community,” says the Facebook invite for the event, held at the Groce United Methodist Church, 954 Tunnel Road, on Friday, Dec. 14, 3:30-7 p.m. avl.mx/5fd
• The fourth annual Holiday Craft Bazaar takes over two floors of the Asheville Music Hall, 31 Patton Ave., on Saturday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Local vendors include Well Seasoned Table (herbs, spices, salts and sugars), Honey Creek Pottery, Sabai Sabai (fashion), Indigo Brown (handmade leatherware) and more. Music from the Doug McElvy String Ensemble, Phuncle Sam and buskers, as well as a bloody mary bar and kids area (not together, mind you) are also part of the festivities. Free entry. ashevillemusichall.com
• The Mothlight, 701 Haywood Road, hosts the West Asheville Tailgate Market’s indoor holiday iteration. “Buy your weekly groceries and pick up locally made holiday gifts from your favorite West Asheville Tailgate Market vendor,” suggest organizers. “There will be music and beverages.” Tuesdays through Dec. 18, 2:30-6 p.m. avl.mx/5ff
• As part of its annual holiday skills share event, Living Web Farms, 176 Kimzey Road, Mills River, holds a Holiday Craft Fair Blitz. The fair is so named because it runs for only two hours during which “anyone from the public can shop from local artists in attendance,” according to a press release. The blitz is Saturday, Dec. 8, 3:30-5:30 p.m. “Parking is encouraged at the Naturally Grown Project at 75 Bryson Road in Mills River, along with 176 Kimzey Road (where the farm entrance is located), and carpooling from the Mills River Ingles is encouraged.” livingwebfarms.org
• The Asheville Area Arts Council and Open Hearts Art Center team up for a Holiday Market and Open House. Meet artists in their studios at the Refinery Creator Space, 207 Coxe Ave., and take part in activities led by Majik Studios, Asheville Makers Group, Local Cloth and the arts council. Held on Saturday, Dec. 8, noon-5 p.m. ashevillearts.com
• Too good for a one-off, the Firestorm Holiday Craft Pop-up Series runs three dates: Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16, and Saturdays Dec. 22, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. The annual event gives “a platform to emerging artists and offered holiday shoppers an opportunity to find something affordable and unique,” according to a press release, and a portion of sales “underwrite social movement space and the co-operative’s grassroots community programming in 2019.” Artists include Abacus Corvus Artwork (prints, postcards, magnets, etc.), Sticks & Stones Craft Collective (ceramics and handwoven pieces), and Madeline Owen, whose work reflects “the relationship between humans and nature.” Held at Firestorm Books & Coffee, 610 Haywood Road. firestorm.coop
Additional reporting by Alli Marshall