A group of local creators have taken craft markets online this year and Highlands shoppers have joined them.
The Haliburton Holiday Market Facebook page started in late November and now has more than 700 members.
Monica Miles Keefer said she started the group after local markets she usually helps organize seemed too difficult to pull off under COVID-19 restrictions. “I started it because I wanted to shop,” she said. “I like to give gifts that aren’t commercialized, whether I make it or someone else makes it.”
After contacting about a dozen local artists, she created the page and it “took off.” Now, about two dozen artists post images of handmade jewelry, wooden decor, glass ornaments, knitting, pillows, locallyillustrated books and hand-spun rugs.
“Not everyone gets in the shopping spirit on the same weekend,” Keefer said. She’s received some feedback too, from people with accessibility concerns who appreciated the chance to shop from home.
“It just showed up on my Facebook to join the group,” said Nancy Lowes of Haliburton. She soon found exactly what she was looking for: customized height rulers for her grandkids from Sarah CorbyEdwards.
Lowes and Corby-Edwards communicated via Messenger through the design and creation process.
“She did so well with one I ordered two,” Lowes said. Lowes said it’s been a good spot to discover artisanal talent, “definitely if you’re looking for something locallymade.” Keefer points to artisans who seem to be thriving on the platform.
“A lot of them are enjoying it, and are getting sales. If they’re not getting sales they’re getting exposure for future events,” she said.
Darlene Phibbs Johnston, who helped start the group, said she’s enjoyed selling her handmade wreathes to a new audience.
At her home in Carnarvon, she points to a cellphone photo of an intricate silver wreath. “That one went up and in 30 seconds, boom, it was sold,” she said.
Besides selling wreathes, she said it’s been a way to get to know people in the community. “I love that,” she said.
Keefer and Johnston said the page will likely keep going after the holidays.
“My plan was to get it going,” Keefer said. “I hope that the artists will continue it year-round. It’s not just Christmas-related products they create.”