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For almost a decade, the Wintry Market has been a beloved landmark of the Idaho winter celebration scene. We were fortunate enough to speak with the people behind the scenes that created the iconic bazaar, Amy Pence-Brown & Kristin Montgomery. Please enjoy our interview below. Our questions are in bold.
Why was the market started and how did it come together?
Founded in 2010 by interior designer Kristin Montgomery and writer, historian & artist Amy Pence-Brown, our Markets have been built on the foundation of the DIY Spirit – empowering the artists of our area – as well as the regional community who support them. We pride ourselves on carefully curating the show to include brand new artists whose work you’ll be surprised and excited to see as well as seasoned favorites.
For the past nine years we have curated a plethora of unique quality artisans in Wintry Market, an upscale indie handmade for the holidays art and craft bazaar. For one weekend each November over 70 of the best makers in Idaho and beyond have come together to celebrate small businesses and local artists while selling their goods at a free public event in downtown Boise over the course of one weekend. Thousands of people make their way through the festive market a week before Thanksgiving enjoying coffees and cocktails while they mingle and shop. From hand-forged jewelry to hand-painted dolls, letter-pressed prints to lotions, and macramé to woodcarvings, the artworks are diverse and extraordinary. We’re honored to have become one of the biggest and best indie art and craft fairs around (Wintry Market was named Best Holiday Bazaar in Idaho by Food & Wine Magazine in 2017!).
In 2018 we launched Summery Market, a handmade for the sunny days sister to our beloved Wintry Market. There you can find some of the most talented makers and creative entrepreneurs of our region – a unique collection of the best and brightest. You will find artists that are dedicated to their craft and shoppers eager to shop locally not only during the holiday season, but all year round.
We were super excited to launch Idaho Vintage Market in 2019, an upscale vintage-inspired market featuring around 50 amazing regional artisans and collectors selling things like original art, antiques, clothing, jewelry, handmade treasures, home décor, outdoor furnishings, sweet treats, flowers and more.
What is the importance (in your words) of Wintry Market?
Wintry (and Summery) Market takes no commission from its makers so 100% of the sales go right back into the local arts community and supports small businesses. We take pride in bringing together a diverse crowd of vendors every year (including 30% new ones!) to keep the events fresh and exciting and an affordable marketplace for handmade goods.
What do you hope for the future of the market?
2020 marks Wintry Market’s 10th birthday so we have an even better celebration in store! We’re pretty thrilled to have grown our little market into a family of indie art markets, adding Summery Market in 2018 and Idaho Vintage Market in 2019, so our plates and hearts are pretty full right now.
What are some of the greatest challenges to putting on a successful market?
Curating the shows and narrowing our applicant pool down to just 65-70 makers each time! There are so many amazing and creative artists in the Northwest who apply to our shows and it’s always so hard to make our decisions each time.
What are some of your greatest/most interesting moments as you’ve put the market together?
We’ve been thrilled to watch women, especially, who sometimes began making crafts at their kitchen tables or in their garages when their children had gone to bed build their confidence and their craft at our markets. Through the contacts they make there, the collaborations with other artists, we’ve watched so many of them get their wares into local shops and eventually do bigger and better things, like build their own storefront business, get wholesale accounts from one of the major retailers who frequent our shows to scout for unique makers, and apply for and get into nationally known indie art markets around the U.S.!
What can the community do to help make the market even more awesome?
The community can show up and buy from our makers at the markets for the holidays or themselves. Even better, buy a ticket to our Friday night VIP Opening Night Party for Wintry Market and bring your friends.
Do you accept volunteers? How can people get involved?
We do! A whole crew of amazing helpers make our markets the best for the public and our makers, acting as greeters, information givers, elevator door holders and assistants to our artists, providing load in and load out help, bathroom breaks, taking lunch orders and more. They are so helpful behind the scenes and get an awesome thank you bag full of Wintry Market artist swag as well. Check our Facebook page for the volunteer info link!
Any other fun or unique facts about Wintry Market?
Check out our VIP Ticket package which gets you early shopping access and free appetizers!
Also, we hire a local artist to design our unique posters every year and this one was John Warfel of Half Basque Job. Check out more information here!
At Wintry Market, you can expect all of the following and more if you spend your night with us:
✔️ Yummy apps
✔️ Free gifts
✔️ Exclusive shopping environment
✔️ First dibs on amazing handmade items
✔️ A night out with friends
We've got all this and more at our VIP Opening Night Party for Wintry Market 2019!