By ELLEN ELDRIDGE
Atlanta has a rich and inspiring market of artists and entrepreneurs. The Indie Craft Experience exists to help the best crafters gain exposure and sell their items.
The Indie Craft Experience, also known as ICE, brings together crafters in a similar fashion to the church bazaar. Atlanta photographer Rose Riot says her grandmother used to decoupage candles.
“I always thought buying handmade things was cooler than buying things from a regular store,” Riot said.
Founders Christy Petterson and Shannon Mulkey envisioned an Atlanta-based opportunity for independent crafters to sell their wares. It’s similar to markets in Chicago and Austin.
“There wasn’t anything in Atlanta that had the right aesthetic for the kind of stuff we were doing. Atlanta has a lot of great artist markets, but they weren’t the right scene for us,” Petterson said.
During the past two years, ICE added a pop-up shop during the holiday season, in the back of the Criminal Records store in Atlanta.
Jennifer Belgard of Diamond Star Halo said she tested the waters during the Holiday Pop-Up Shop at Criminal Records in 2011.
“While my products can be found in several local shops in Metro Atlanta, ICE has provided me the ability to talk to my customers face to face,” Belgard said.
In 2014, ICE expects to open an online store that will be open all the time. Meanwhile, the founders will host a series of pop-up shops starting in March. In these shops, items will be available online for three weeks at http://www.iceatlanta.com.
Petterson explains that society has come around to understanding the skill involved with handmade crafts. Those trying to succeed in a Do-It-Yourself business must make connections, invest money and build relationships.
Indie Craft Experience offers its next Atlanta show in June 2013.