by Jess D. Taylor
Holiday SoCo Market
It started with just 11 vendors. Inspired by all of the Etsy and Instagram businesses popping up during the pandemic, Mercedes Hernandez had an idea. “I wanted to give these creators a platform to sell in person, especially since we were all hungry for community,” Mercedes, a passionate advocate for small businesses owners, says.
Fast forward a couple more events over a couple more years, and now Mercedes has 200 vendors on the docket for her first-ever holiday market. Expect a huge selection of goods—everything from candles and clothing to artwork and kitchenware—geared towards a younger, hipper crowd than traditional craft fairs.
“I’m strategic and selective about who I include because I want to avoid saturation,” says Mercedes, owner of two retail stores, Bow N Arrow & Friends and Holee Vintage, both stocked with lots of potential holiday gifts.
After six years of business and a recent rebrand, Bow N Arrow & Friends features over 30 boutiques and makers, mostly from Sonoma County and mostly millennial owned (Mercedes’s generation, which she feels compelled to help succeed). Holee Vintage carries over 50 different vintage curators from all over the Bay Area, many of whom Mercedes first met at SoCo Market events. In November, her younger sister Baiah will open a coffee shop inside the store—the better to fuel your hunt for the perfect Harley Davidson or Metallic tour tee.
Saturday, December 17, 11am-4pm
Sonoma County Fairgrounds
Sale dates for both Bow ‘N’ Arrow and Holee Vintage . . .
- 11/25 15% off entire store on Black Friday
- 11/26 exclusive pop-ups from vendors on Small Business Saturday
- 11/28 exclusive Cyber Monday sale
Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts
After Peppermint, her favorite goat, died from C-section complications, Sophia Brantley honored the beloved Pygora by spinning her fibers into a cream-colored yarn that she knit into a shawl. Sophia has been spinning since 1989, when she moved to Sebastopol with four goats after a divorce. Now she has 17—many of which are Pygora, Sophia’s favorite, a mix of Angora and Pygmy.
Sophia, the most recent winner of the Spinner’s Challenge at the Sonoma County Fair, is one of 132 members of the Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts, a collective of spinners, weavers, felters, dyers, knitters, crocheters, and basket makers from all over Sonoma, Marin, Napa, and Lake counties.
At a recent monthly meeting, held at the Luther Burbank Art & Garden Center on Yulupa Avenue in Santa Rosa, members participated in a show and tell of items from the fair, many of which won prizes. In addition to her cream and tan shawl, Sophia shared a yellow and orange felted dragon and a reversible doll outfit and announced that next year’s fabric for the spinners’ challenge is mohair. “Give me some competition,” she says with a smile.
More presentations followed (place-mats, hats, bags, blankets, a Ren Faire doublet) with an explanation of the material, process, and outcome. “This is a four-color, hand-dyed double-weave fabric,” someone says to murmurs of approval and interest.
“Being a member of the Guild combines opportunities to learn and be challenged to try new skills in companionship with fellow makers,” outreach coordinator Phina Borgeson says. Today’s specialty presentation (which always follow general meetings) is dye painting. Loomless paper weaving is their November workshop, open to the public in person and via Zoom. According to Borgeson, it requires no specialized skills and “could be fun for any maker.”
Members will be demonstrating spinning and weaving as well as selling one-of-a-kind creations of clothing, home goods, and crafts at the upcoming holiday sale—“everything from wool dryer balls to silk scarves” according to chair Bill Jackson.
December 3rd & 4th, 10am-4pm
Luther Burbank Art & Garden Center
2050 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa