Virtual Craft Fair Organized By Local Small Business Group

·3 min read

EAST WINDSOR, CT — As is the case with most businesses large and small, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been particularly devastating to local artisans and small shop owners, who obtain most of their sales through attending craft fairs and shows. The majority of those events have been canceled this year, putting even more financial strain on struggling vendors.

Erica Giroux of East Windsor is owner of the Playful Peacock, comprised of a handmade jewelry line and the Bee Happy Candles line of Beeswax goodies. After being one of the many artisans to take a huge hit following show cancellations, she decided to try organizing an online marketplace where dozens of similar vendors could be found in a single spot.

Giroux created a Facebook page called Handmade From the Heart - New England, and organized a virtual craft fair in the spring, which generated considerable success.

"We wanted to create a space where vendors and shoppers could interact from the safety of their own homes," she said. "In May, I asked a few friends who owned small businesses if they would have any interest in working together to try to put on a virtual craft fair. None of us knew if the idea was even plausible. The small idea grew and grew, and we ended up with over 30 businesses reaching out and 800 people on our page."

With just over a thousand members now having joined the page, Giroux and company are preparing for their next big online event this Saturday. The Fall Virtual Makers Market, operating from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., will showcase about 30 crafters, artisans and direct sales reps, offering everything from jewelry to wreaths to fudge. Each business will be posting links to sales and specials.

"We are using our page as a hub to direct shoppers to each business," Giroux said. "From there each business will have instructions on how to buy their products online."

Among the participants will be:

Anyone with questions may contact Giroux at ealbs21@gmail.com.

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This article originally appeared on the Windsor Locks-East Windsor Patch

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