MISSOULA - Missoula is not new to local artists and small businesses, but a new market highlights these up-and-comers by going from studios to storefronts.
“My business is pretty new as well, and they were one of the first accounts that I just found comfort in,” said New Old Friend Owner, Kara McGrane.
Her business started as a COVID-19 passion project but quickly grew to a full-time gig — something done with hard work, dedication and some help from the founders of Missoula Maker’s Collective, Bailey Durnell and Rachel Cowan.
“One of the things we wanted to do was just connect makers and you know, have them build relationships that kind of helped their businesses,” Durnell told MTN News.
The support system they created is inspired by their own struggles of getting their small businesses up and running. Where they were left with more questions than answers.
“Well, how do I make a website how do I market myself?" said Cowen. "How are you making your product with such a mass quantity like?”
The goal of the monthly markets? To not only get artists selling their craft, but to build a local support system.
“Number one goal was to be approachable, and I mean, we have a lot of goals but that was a priority,” Cowen told MTN News.
Small business owners, Alanis Cruse and Hailey Michelson, say the market helped get their businesses off and running.
“They were just very supportive and asked a million questions so you could feel like your business was important and that you felt like you were like a family,” said Wicky Flame Candle Co. owner Alanis Cruse.
"It's been really nice to have just a supportive group of other artists and makers to share information and support one another," said Sun and Moonstone Co. owner Hailey Michelson.
Artists pay $50 to have a booth in the market. Durnell and Cowen say that this fee covers just enough for the market space, but they continue to pay it forward by setting aside 5% of that fee.
“We want to be able to give that to a maker hopefully by the end of the year and it will be built up to a substantial amount so that they can kind of maybe get some, some wind under their wings,” said Cowen.