“Every place you turn, there was just another cool experience,” she said. “It’s really nice to come to an event like this and get some shopping in, but also be able to make connections and meet awesome people making cool things for the community.”
Over 100 vendors packed The Redd event space in Portland’s central eastside, where the market was first held in 2017. Over the last six years, the event has grown steadily, according to Amanda Park with Prosper Portland, one of the four founders. Spots filled up within eight hours when registration opened, and around 200 vendors were on the waitlist to participate, Park said. At the first event, there were roughly 40 vendors.
The market, put on by Prosper Portland, Mercatus and Travel Portland, will return from 12-6 p.m. Sunday with live performances, family activities and plenty of BIPOC-owned food options.
Albright and Aldegeur fumbled over the near dozen business cards they’d collected throughout the day when asked for recommendations, while also emphasizing the unique and welcoming environment of the event.
“The whole experience has been awesome,” Albright said. “We don’t have enough of this.”
Here are a few BIPOC-owned shops to look out for at this year’s My People’s Market.
Do Better Press
This LGBTQ-owned jewelry and accessory store focuses on homemade items including hair clips, tote bags and keychains. The business founders, Tegan Bickford and Stephanie Brooks, kicked things off during the pandemic after traffic slowed down at their salon.
It’s the second year Do Better Press has attended the market, and Bickford said it’s been a huge launching platform for the business.
“Everyone tries to come around and talk to every business to see what they’re about, even if they don’t purchase something,” she said. “It’s nice to have that camaraderie amongst all these people.”
Bickford said the market offers a space BIPOC-owned businesses sometimes don’t have in Portland and fosters a very tight knit community among the vendors. My People’s Market congregates these stores into one space on their website, and promotes individual businesses on social media.
“It means a lot to small Black-owned businesses,” she said. “There’s not always a huge platform for it, but My People’s Market gives us that platform.”
Bleached by Josh
Joshua Manus’ clothing is equal parts fashion and positivity. A photographer/videographer by day, Manus started Bleached by Josh when he was making creative designs with bleach on his own clothes. When people kept asking where he got his shirts from, he decided to start selling them in 2020.
It’s his first time attending the market, and he heard about it through other vendors. Manus attended 64 pop-ups last year, but this is his first time joining My People’s Market. He said the market separated itself from similar events through extensive marketing and a welcoming environment.
“I was driving yesterday to pick up clothes I was working on, and I was driving next to the bus and saw a My People’s Market ad,” he said. “That’s the first time I’ve seen that happen.”
Manus said the event opens up a lot of opportunities for the community to collaborate and expand their network.
“This kind of synergy and community building is what this event fosters,” he said.
Manus encouraged Portlander’s to come experience the market, and said that fashion and beauty enthusiasts are almost certain to find something to their liking.
Candy Girl Piñatas
For Carolina Dulanto, it all started with a little boy who loved garbage bins. She made him a custom recycling bin piñata for his birthday, and the rest is history.
Also a first-time attendee, Dulanto felt right at home among the scores of business owners. She commissioned art and logo designs just before the event, her first one since starting
Candy Girl Piñatas. Dulanto makes custom piñatas, which she admits are pricier than typical store-bought party pieces, but each decoration is made with patience and care, she said.
The Peruvian artist didn’t necessarily attend to make sales, but just wanted to connect with shoppers and vendors.
“If people want to support me, it doesn’t really mean buying anything,” she said. “Just coming to say hi and interact and engage in any way is enough. And that’s been happening, which has been awesome.”
Dulanto has shopped at My People’s Market over the last few years, and said it’s different from any other market she’s been to.
“Before My People’s Market started, I don’t really remember there being that many events where you knew you were going to be a part of a community that is more diverse and that includes other immigrants.”