Shop Small & Local This Holiday Season

By Kate Devine

The Asbury Park Bazaar celebrates local artisans, small shops, and independent businesses. Our philosophy considers the whole impact of purchases on individuals, our community, and the environment. 

The first of this season's Holiday Bazaars lands on Small Business Saturday, November 26th! 

Small Business Saturday is a national counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday that encourages shoppers to patronize small businesses for holiday gifts. Here on the local level, SBS supports Asbury Park and our growing community of creative people. 

Shopping small and local holds the potential to create a more socially responsible and sustainable economy. We believe in mindful and conscious consumption all year long. Small Business Saturday helps to amplify that message. 

The Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar is the perfect place to start. Not only will you find unique gifts for loved ones in a historic and festive venue, you'll have the opportunity to support small and local artists and makers. Every Saturday and Sunday from November 26th to December 18th the Asbury Park Bazaar offers an eclectic roster of incredibly talented vendors. All built their businesses from passion and heart, and all contribute to the creative pulse of Asbury Park. 

We caught up with a few vendors to hear how they began their shops, what products they're excited to offer at the Holiday Bazaar, and what Small Business Saturday means to them. Find Twin Fish Pottery, Harley Rose Studio, Spoiled Paws, and Savanah Hope Vintage at the Holiday Bazaar on Small Business Saturday!

Emily Mulkeen, Twin Fish Pottery

"I have loved working with clay since I was young, and was fortunate enough to study Ceramics in college.  I love the playfulness of the material, and the infinite possibilities that the ceramic process provides. I explored pottery as a creative outlet and hobby for quite a few years before deciding to create pottery full time.  Someday I would love to pass my art form along, and use it as a teaching tool to share the importance of self expression with children and adults.  

Running my own business has provided me with a creative opportunity I was not getting in my corporate job.  I also appreciate the increased flexibility and the time I get to spend with family, friends, and nature. 

I love the history behind pottery.  Civilization has been using handmade pots to eat and cook from for a long time. Some people don’t think twice about where their coffee mug came from, yet they utilize and interact with it every day.  Tableware is an intimate object.  To me, food looks and tastes better on handmade plates - you can feel the hands that made them and the intimate connection between the vessel and the user.  I chose the products I make to bring people together over great food, and to decorate your life and home.  I am inspired by my very close knit family, who has lived at the Jersey shore for over five generations.  Our gatherings at this special place, along with the ebb and flow of the sea and the strength of the waves inspire me to create functional art."

"A day in the life is I wake up around 7:30 and drink coffee while determining my most important tasks for that day. Every day is a different because there are so many facets to the ceramic process.  One day I might be throwing on the wheel, while another will be decorating pots, and another day will be glazing.  Currently, I am throwing and making as many pots as I can so that next week I can concentrate on glazing and finishing pieces for the Bazaar. 

I will be selling a variety of pots, including but certainly not limited to, wine cups, coffee mugs, succulent planters, various serving and tableware, and holiday ornaments at the Bazaar. Right now, I am testing a new clay to make bakeware with, I am hoping to bring a few casseroles and baking pans as well. 

When you shop small, you are not just getting awesome handmade items, you are supporting individuals and families.  You are building your community, and you have a chance to learn about what goes into the products you’re buying, the raw materials, knowledge, skills, and techniques used by the maker.  You are getting quality items in which every detail was highly considered.  Most importantly to makers, when you shop small, you make our day!"

Sandy Gaestel, Harley Rose Studio

"Creating paper flowers is something I've been doing for a few years. Whether it be making head pieces for a friends birthday, or wedding, or just to decorate my own home with.  It wasn't until i started trying new techniques and really dedicating my time to making and perfecting them that I thought, (f*ck it!) I've been getting a positive response with them, and with some MUCH appreciated encouragement from friends, I decided that I'd love to make these more available to people and really push myself to see what more I could create.

I have always grown up being a sort of 'flower child' but unfortunately, I've been blessed with a black thumb. Every plant I touch....I kill. A huge part of my life has been out in nature, and getting a real respect for everything it has to offer. It wasn't until my friend had wanted painted paper roses for her wedding that it all began to click. Finally, something I truly love and can't kill!

A day in my studio starts out with a list of flowers I may need to finish which then detours into 'maybe I'll try this out..' I work best when I have about five other things going on so everything is typically cluttered with paper, glue, half empty wine glasses, and flowers. ;) It can be a mess, but it's a mess I'm grateful to have."

"We're selling holiday head pieces, present toppers, BYOB- Build Your Own Bouquets, assembled Grab and Go Bouquets, Wall Flowers, and geometric flower displays, all made from high quality Italian and German crepe paper.

You can't put an exact price on all the time, effort, mistakes, frustration and love people put into their products but by supporting them, you give them the breath of relief of what they're doing is completely worth all the headaches and in return the customer gets this amazing piece of community and a one-of-a-kind item. The products are special which is something you just can't get in a mall."

Jill Wetzel, Spoiled Paws Bowtique

"I began making specialty collars after adopting my second dog who was super tiny.  He was a surprise for my daughter’s 8th birthday.  I wanted him to be extra special when I surprised her at the bus stop.  I searched high and low and there was nothing in his tiny size.  From that moment on I began making specialty collars in all sizes.  I have always loved to sew and I am crazy for animals. I absolutely love making collars and seeing just how cute the pets look wearing them.  

I am teacher and a mom, so this is something that I do in my free time.  Sewing is a way I relax.  I am definitely a night owl and get most of my work done at night."

"At this year's Bazaar I will have a variety of handmade collars and leashes with bow ties, neck ties and flowers. I am working on new holiday collars along with many everyday prints.  

Shopping small is the difference between buying a product that is hand made locally by someone you meet and talk with and buying a product that is made in a factory and shipped from another country.  When you shop small you are keeping dollars in your community."

Andrea De Morest, Savannah Hope Vintage

"Savannah Hope Vintage, named after my daughter, was born out of frustration. My career did not offer flexibility or understanding that I was a single mom, the sole provider and caregiver for my daughter. I set out to invent a business that not only allowed me to be there for her but to also fill my days with things that made me happy.

I believe we are all responsible to affect a positive change in our world. My business is simply an extension of who I am. I personally place a high value on American made wares and believe that we need to reuse and extend the life of things rather than tossing them away. Thus consuming less, saving our resources and supporting our country.

The most asked question people ask me is 'where do you find all of your inventory?' My response is- it's a lifestyle. My days are filled with hunting and researching inventory, studying identification guides or actually selling.

This is my first Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar! I will offer a variety of products: antique botanical prints from the 1800s, mid-century pottery, vintage wheel thrown mugs, antique lace, vintage Pyrex and Fire King, postcards, maps, silver plate from the 1920s through 1950s, American glassware, and handcrafted items I created from such items.

I think that sometimes we forget the power we have as individuals. When shopping a small business we are helping to feed and care of our neighbors and community. That in turn allows our towns to thrive, and supports local economic growth. We are investing in our own success."