Paige Tatem started to make hand-crafted, chemical-free soaps, bath-bombs and body butters about 18 months ago. From a distance, Tatem’s colourful and detailed creations look like pasteries and cupcakes.
Not surprisingly, the creativity of her creations draws attention. She also chose to forego the traditional retail path by offering her products through a third-party brick-and-mortar store, selling instead through the Saanich Sunday Farmers’ Market.
“It is an easier way to get my stuff out there to a bigger amount of people,” she said. “If I put in a store front…they are making money off my product. Here, there is no middle-man, even in this market.”
People who are liable to look for fresh, organic produce at the farmer’s market might also be liable to look for for natural, hand-crafted soaps, and Tatem appears pleased with results so far.
“It’s has been good,” she said. “It has been steady.”
While this year is the first with the farmer’s market, she has developed a small but growing customer base of regulars.
For Shawn Newby, artisans like Tatem, are part and parcel of what makes the market attractive.
While the roster of artisans selling at the market fluctuates when compared to the regulars selling produce and other agricultural products, they play an important.
‘In this market, they actually play a big role, because it adds diversity to the market,” he said. \
It creates an opportunity for people to discover artisans, who might not have a store front.
“So little markets are good opportunities for people to find something, Christmas presents, birthday gifts, and that sort of thing. So that definitely adds diversity to the regular vendors.”
Sunday’s edition of the Saanich Sunday Farmers’ Market marks its halfway point, with the last scheduled for Aug. 26. Official visitor numbers so far have ranged ranged between 550 and 750, with the second and third markets hitting close to 750 each. The first market had an official figure of 560, the fourth market of 613.
“So it has been a steady turnout every market,” said Newby.