The East New Britain Artisans Market will be hosting their final Christmas themed market today at the Tammur Centre in Kokopo and the organizers are encouraging all vendors and people attending to come dressed up in festive colors or costumes.
Today’s final and first night ENB Artisan Market, will be hosted under strict New Normal Covid-19 protocols to ensure the health and safety of everyone at the market.
“The Tammur Centre in Kokopo will host the ENB Artisan Market,” said President of the ENB Artisan Market, Ms Ellen Morgan, who is heading the organizing committee.
“The Tammur Centre has very good security planning and staff, there’s only one entry & exit, which is always manned with security personnel, and there is always more than enough lighting there which should help to keep everyone feeling safe and secure and we may reach out to some security firms to provide extra security personnel if we see that it is necessary.”
“We kept the number of stalls under 35 so we can have ample space between each stall for people to comfortably move around without being too close to one and another.”
“We also encourage our vendors to wear their masks at all times and place hand sanitizers on their tables so that people can sanitize their hands before or after touching items if they need to.”
The ENB Artisans Market was an initiative to provide a platform where local artisans and SMEs can gain exposure for their products or services and reach new customers at a physical venue as well as an online space.
The organizing committee is an all-female team, headed by Ms Ellen Morgan as President, Damaris Lee as Vice President, Charnette Ahken as Secretary and Darden Titi as Treasurer.
“We started this little project after having discussions about different SMEs and crafty products being made within the province – we had only heard stories or briefly seen posts on Facebook about these SMEs, but when we tried to search for them, we found that it was really hard to find them,” said Ms Ellen Morgan, who is the President of the ENB Artisan Market.
“We got together a few times to chat over coffee and eventually we came up with the idea of organizing an arts and crafts market that could bring hobbyists and SMEs together in one place so that it would be easy for potential customers to find them and from the total number of registered participants we have had so far, only around 20% of them are registered with IPA as SME businesses.”
Since the ENB Artisan Market was set up, there have been at least four (4) market days this year.
“We had initially planned for it to be at the end of every month, but with lockdowns and control measures in place it was hard to stick to our plans but despite this, the general turnout of the markets has been quite good, with up to 100 stalls registered to take part since our first market day in June this year.”
“There are a variety of items being sold at the markets including bilums, baskets, meri blouses, accessories, cooked food, beverages, shoes, decorations, soaps, even farm and agriculture products like eggs, fruits, and various fresh produce.”
With a little help from the Gazelle District Government by way of tables and chairs for vendors, the market days have been a great attraction and a success for both SMEs and customers.
“We have seen hundreds of people attend the markets to buy from the vendors and from the data we have collected so far, we estimate that our vendors can collectively make a total of K3000 to K5000 kina in sales during one market event.”
“We hope to have our next market at the end of January in 2022 and we will be releasing an annual market calendar in the New Year as well – as long as there are no more lockdowns or new control measures, we should be hosting a market day at the end of every month,” said Ms Morgan.
It cost K50 for a stall to sell at the ENB Artisans Market and K75 for corporate stalls and includes a table and chair for each registered vendor. Ms Morgan and her all-female team, hope to see the Artisan Market become a regular market day in ENB.
“We would also like to run workshops in 2022 that builds a community of Artisans that can share skills, knowledge and resources with each other,” Ms Morgan added.
“One of our goals is to see majority of our vendors’ turn their hobbies into businesses that can help provide them with extra income for themselves and for their families.”
“We believe that if we can help get more people into the SME space, we can help grow our local economy in the province and alleviate financial stress as well as the problems that come with it,” Ms Morgan concluded.