The brisk winds on University Avenue did not deter dozens of Gainesville residents from gathering to support local vendors Saturday.
Hosted in partnership with Concord Coffee and The Magna Karta, the market was the first of what Talia Starczewski, one of The Magna Karta’s creators, hopes will be recurring community events centered on small businesses and artists.
“I have been in the market scene for a while now, but have never been able to host an event myself,” Starczewski said.
The 21-year-old UF psychology senior has made artisan jewelry with her company for almost two years. Starczewski’s work uses cross-sections of pinecones and walnuts, some of which are decorated with gem-grade crystals to accentuate the piece’s natural patterns, and fixed with a pendant to wear.
“Conscious consumerism is a priority to me,” Starczewski said. “Knowing the source of the products I purchase, the people involved in the process and the level of care and integrity that is given to these products at each step.”
Starczewski, who is also a barista at the newly opened Concord Coffee, said working at the cafe has given her a place to express the values which her personal company focuses on, and she feels Concord’s fair-trade policy reflects those views back to her.
“Being able to share that space with others was a vision I had before I began working there, as I connected so deeply with the space,” she said. “Concord is also new to Gainesville, and I wanted to be able to introduce the community to this shop.”
Starczewski said while planning the weekend’s event, she made an effort to choose vendors whose ideals matched that of both Concord Coffee and The Magna Karta.
One such vendor was Jillian Howery, a 21-year-old UF advertising senior who began making terrarium jewelry under the name Terra Fina Jewelry in July. She wore a prototype and decided to make more when others expressed interest.
“I love nature, and I love tiny things, so the idea to put a little piece of nature in a tiny jar just came naturally,” she said.
Saturday’s event was only the second market she has been to as a vendor. Howery said she liked the “intimacy” of the day’s event in comparison to The Florida Vintage Market held last week in Bo Diddley Plaza.
Starczewski’s brother, Marco Starczewski, was also one of the vendors participating in the day’s events. He traveled in from Tampa to sell upcycled clothing at his first market appearance.
“It started because I had to cover a stain,” he said of his work with a laugh while standing beside multiple clothing racks. They were filled with an assortment of repurposed clothing sporting hand-sewn patches and fabric.
He said he likes upcycling because it allows him to see the clothes he rarely wears in a new light, and he finds it more meaningful than donating them.
“I wanted to know I was making something someone would use,” the upcycler said.
He also said attending Saturday’s market and receiving positive feedback was giving him the confidence to start promoting his craft and growing it.
“I want to run with it and create a business,” he said.
Although she isn’t sure when the next market will be, Starczewski said she hopes to continue fostering the values of Saturday’s event through local business.
“Anybody who was generous enough to support one of the vendors, or to support Concord Coffee, is a conscious consumer giving their resources to businesses that uphold values of sustainability,” she said.