The Green Market in Santa Cruz was opened in 2012 by Wendell Mottley and Vicki Assevero who sought to promote green living by encouraging local farmers to opt for more environmentally friendly ways of growing their produce. This includes eliminating the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers as well as genetically modified seeds. It’s a twofold benefit as farmers are provided with an ideal location to sell their produce and eco-conscious consumers have convenient access to a wide variety of healthy, locally grown produce.
The Market also offers spaces where local artisans can showcase and sell their products. On Saturday 16th June 2018, the market hosted a Coffee Festival and two of the participating artisans were Meagan Smith of Meg’s Jewellery Creations and Sharlene Saunders, owner of A Way with Words.
Meg’s Jewellery Creations
Meagan is an inspiration to young entrepreneurs as she started her business in 2010 at the age of 14. After successfully repairing a piece of her own jewellery, close relatives encouraged Meagan to pursue it further. She took up the challenge to start her business and sold her pieces for the first time at the Food Court in The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Meagan uses semi-precious stones, beads, and other materials to make a wide range of jewellery and keepsakes such as chains, earrings, bracelets, keychains, rosaries, bookmarks and phone charms.
Her favourite colours to work with are blue, green and purple and it can take between 5 minutes and half hour to create a piece of jewellery or a set. Her business continues to be very successful and her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is, “Choose something you have a humble passion for. Don’t just do it for the money else you wouldn’t reach very far. Also, focus on your skill or desire and don’t give up too fast. Success doesn’t come overnight, it sure didn’t for me. “
A Way With Words (AWWW)
Sharlene Saunders, owner of A Way With Words (AWWW), started her business in 2015 and specialises in creating handcrafted wood signs and facilitating DIY workshops. She has completed courses in Woodworking, Joinery as well as Graphic Design and does all the work, from the cutting of the wood to the final design. The wood signs are varied and include prints of inspirational quotes, animals and religious symbols. This powerhouse of talent is always working to improve her craft and encourages those who may be thinking of starting their own business, “People are often waiting for the perfect moment, for stars to magically align. Till they can afford all the right tools and equipment, till they can afford a logo and business cards etc, etc. There is no perfect moment. It’s a myth.”
As an entrepreneur, the ability to explore her creativity and follow her passion while making a living are benefits which she cherishes. Although it’s not always easy, she chooses to stay positive and learn from her failures. Apart from her busy schedule of creating wood signs, Sharlene is the only non-American on a team of experienced artisans who helps to manage one of the largest wood signs groups on Facebook. She also hosts ‘Crafternoons’, group sessions in which each individual works on creating a unique piece. It’s a great team building workshop which she is always willing to facilitate and she hopes to offer kid friendly options in the near future.
The Influence of the Green Market
One of the social objectives of the Green Market is
‘to foster land-based and artisanal entrepreneurship thereby increasing its perceived quality and value’.
They, therefore, strive to ensure that all the products sold are locally produced, hand-crafted by an artisan or up-cycled. Both artisans have stated ways in which the Green Market has helped them and their business.
“They gave me the motivation to keep my pieces as green as I can possibly do it. I stopped giving customers their pieces in plastic bags and recycle any plastics I end up having to use.” -Meagan Smith
“The Green Market is unique in that it espouses the eco-values that I hold dear. This year, I too am committed to zero waste and this is reflected in all the mini sign options at my table. These are all done on pieces I would have previously discarded.” -Sharlene Saunders
Let’s all do our part in supporting local artisans as well as initiatives such as the Green Market in Santa Cruz.