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Back Again: U/D Night Market

June 15, 2023

About the  Night Market 

May 31 marked the first U/D Night Market of 2023! Launched last year, the market has returned due to popular demand. In partnership with MarketSpot, U/D Night Market is proud to host more than 30 local vendors for guests to shop and support monthly throughout the summer months. 

This year, the market has expanded into Central Commons Park to offer even more space to mingle, browse and enjoy all the Night Market has to offer.  The U/D Night Market is free to attend and runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month between May and September. With everything from candles to dog treats, there is something for everyone at this community event!

We sat down with some of our vendors to ask them about what it’s like to be a small business owner in Calgary and why it’s important to shop local. 

Gentle Monster Mud 

Sha Agostini, owner and artist behind Gentle Monster Mud ceramics creates all her products at home. Her unique designs are influenced by Asian culture and her cat. She sells both functional and decorative handmade ceramics to spark joy in your inner child. 

What makes your products unique? 

“Every artist is really trying to find their own way while creating. So for me I always had this urge to create when I see something and get inspired. My focus is on the eyes. Eyes are the expression and window to our soul so I put a little emotion in every little thing that I create. Everything has eyes, even a simple little pin because it really captures the inner expression.” 

What is so special about being a local business owner in Calgary?

“One is the uniqueness and the second part is how you connect with your community- like here. I probably come here twice per week to eat ice cream and walk around with my kids so I really feel like a part of the community. You can be here and show your work and I’m very proud to be here. I don’t have a kiln, a kiln is something we use to fire the pottery, I don’t have it at home so I go to the Arts Centre here in Calgary which is another community that I go to.” 

What can people do to continue to support local businesses? 

“I think events like this! On a nice day people can come out and chat and seeing all the faces makes me happy. All of the compliments are encouragement for me, so when there’s times you’re out of inspiration you can come out to see people which keeps my inspiration and creative spirit going.”

The Honey Merchants 

Katie Merchant is the creator and owner of The Honey Merchants. A beekeeper of five years, Merchant decided to turn her love of bees into a business after a dare from her husband to sell 10,000 jars of honey. The Honey Merchants specialize in making flavour infused honey using high quality ingredients that are ethically sourced. They also sell an assortment of local goods including natural honey soap and Alberta specific native pollinator seed packs to encourage the growth of Alberta’s bee population.

What is the story behind your products? 

“I actually had a lady by the name of Deb about four years ago ask me for a lemon honey and I thought Deb – you’re crazy – honey is perfect, but I’ll try it. So I tried it and it was horrible, and so I kept trying and trying and now I’m on recipe 18 for the lemon specifically and I’ve nailed it. Every product has its own little story.”

What makes your products unique? 

“I think it’s unique because I’m also the beekeeper. We do source some of our honey from just outside of Brooks but it’s all specifically Alberta honey. Anything that flavours our honey is as organic and as natural as possible. The cinnamon, for example, is from Sri Lanka because that’s where cinnamon originated from. The vanilla we get from a lady in Calgary who runs a business called Tribal Vanilla where she ethically sources it herself from Ecuador. There’s a story behind every single flavor that’s involved and because I know that bees only make seven drops of honey in their entire life I have so much respect for the honey, and I know the ingredients have to be really good. We hand stir and hand jar every single jar which is a lot because 10,000 jars in a year is not easy to sell and not easy to hand jar. I am truly farm to jar.”

How important is a “shop local” perspective for you as a vendor? 

“I think people are trying really hard to do what they love instead of doing what they are told to do. For someone like me, I love bees and I thought I would turn this into a little business. Everyone has a different talent that they are trying to expand on, and I think that if we shop local we are supporting people and what they’re good at.”

Lot Forty-Six Design Co.

Dean Jackson is the creator of Lot Forty-Six Design Company. Jackson sells handcrafted leather goods made in his garage in Bowness. He took up leather work during COVID and now sells a wide assortment of leather bags, belts, backpacks, and even custom orders. Each item is made out of high-quality leather sourced from Calgary. 

What is the story behind your products? 

“My name is Lot for my daughter Charlotte and forty-six for the year my dad was born. I primarily wanted to start making furniture because my dad is a master furniture maker but it’s really loud and really dirty with sawdust and power tools and all that stuff.  So, this is a lot quieter and very zen and peaceful” 

How important is a “shop local” perspective for you as a vendor? 

“I live and work out of Bowness , which is a community that supports local businesses. Coming to these markets is such an important thing because you are supporting local and we are all supporting each other so it really gives you that sense of community.”

What can people do to continue to support local businesses? 

“Coming to markets is always a great starting off point and getting involved in your communities. Going to your community associations, finding out what’s happening, who does what, and just asking questions.”

What’s Coming Up? 

The U/D Night Market runs on the last Wednesday of the month from May to September, so keep an eye out for Gentle Monster Mud, The Honey Merchants, Lot Forty-Six Design Co., and many more amazing vendors at our upcoming dates:  

  • June 28 
  • July 26 
  • August 30 
  • September 27 

 

Visit the U/D Night Market this summer for free entertainment, activities and the opportunity to support local businesses and vendors both in the market as well as along the Retail Main Street.


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