By Yasmine Shemesh
VANCOUVER — Crystal Ho is a Vancouver-based artist who paints custom animal portraits. Using a digital paintbrush then transferring the image onto a variety of mediums (from watercolour paper to pillows), she impeccably captures the likeness of her subjects while creating art that is both unique and exceedingly beautiful. Ho is also the founder of Etsy Vancouver, the physical version of the popular virtual handicraft marketplace of the same name.
Etsy took its love for artisan commodities offline in 2014, hosting over 45,000 attendees for its Made In Canada market at 22 pop-ups across the country. Now, the Vancouver edition, held at Robson Square, is back on September 26 for its second run, sharing its sophomore year with 34 other markets that are set to open nationwide on the same day.
“Last year was very successful and this year is going to be… I’m pretty overwhelmed by the number of supporters we have,” says Ho. Etsy Vancouver had to whittle a list of nearly 400 vendor applicants down to 78 to fit into the available space, basing their criteria on quality and individuality. “Some people might have very similar products, especially jewellery, so we look at something that stands out from the crowd,” Ho explains. “We also value the ones who are new to Etsy, so we try to give them opportunity.”
Market browsers can expect to see a wide assortment of goods ranging from confectionaries and visual art to vintage collectables and cheeseboards — all made by the loving hands of your neighbourhood creatives.
As an artist herself, Ho understands the importance of backing homegrown artwork and that’s precisely why she finds great merit in the accessible and encouraging platform that Etsy provides. “For small businesses, it’s quite hard,” she says, of finding entrepreneurial success. “I love how Etsy is supporting small businesses. I know a lot of people want to support local business and we see a lot of people wanting to support the local artists, as well. I really feel the passion in our community.”
Etsy Made In Canada Market is held at Robson Square on September 26.BC, British Columbia, Etsy, Etsy Made in Canada market, Robson Square