Indie Market virgin: our review of the best curated wholesale show on the West Coast

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This is our booth home for 3 days at Indie Market Bay Area: a wholesale trade show perched on a beautiful pier overlooking the San Francisco bay in Richmond, CA. In my 18 years in business, I've exhibited in a LOT of venues, and truly none have the historical significance of this location.


indie market craft show

We are inside what is now called Craneway Pavillion, but in its previous life it was first a Ford 🚙 manufacturing plant, and then in World War 2, it morphed into an assembly plant for making mililtary tanks and Jeeps. . .and guess who stepped in to work here? You guessed it - women. ⁠⠀💪🏼


leather card cases at indie market

It's no coincidence that next door hosts the Rosie the Riveter museum. 🛠 I get chills when I think about all the women who worked in this same building: who set an example of leadership and strength - that helped pave the way for me and my fellow vendors to live this life. The entrepreneur life. 


Other than pounding the pavement going door-to-door to boutiques, in-person events like this trade show are the most effective tactic for getting a company's name out there. 

handbag booth vegan bags at Indie Market

From a business standpoint - this was a key wholesale show to attend, since the San Francisco Gift Show closed, there hasn't been a wholesale market that would showcase the unique work of designers of hand-crafted gifts and home accessories, and attract Bay Area independent boutiques and retailers.  This is why Kiss that Frog - a small rep group stepped up to do just that.  They know what it's like to be a vendor - and they they make you feel like a partner and a teammate, not another body filling a booth to cover their rent. 

 crystalyn kae and Adia of Rain City Forge at Indie Market Bay Area wholesale show



It was the little touches of Indie Market wholesale show that set itself apart and why I will return:

  1. attracted local independent buyers and retailers who value true craftsmanship from small designers that are NOT on Amazon.
  2. load in/load out assistance for vendors, with free parking
  3. spacious open-concept trade show which fosters cooperation and community amongst vendors 
  4. free coffee, tea and pastries each morning for vendors and buyers
  5. daily hosted cocktail hours, for vendors and buyers.
  6. gorgeous sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay with plenty of natural light

 the potting shed in fairfax picked up our recycled leather headphone tacos and card cases

I'm grateful for the unconventional shows - that choose venues like this, and curate artisans and designers who are carving their own path. I love my booth neighbors, the new stores I've landed and for the sweeping views of the Bay. . including the flock of Pelicans 🐦 that photobombed the below pic - (which I didn't see till I loaded this post).

 craneway pavillion windows with flock of pelicans flying by

Special thanks go to:

  •  Helen of Cookie & the Dude for carpooling, yummy lentil salad (recipe please?) and morning prosecco
  • Adia, of Rain City Forge my new favorite neighbor (for life?). her kindness, and chill and sense of humor made it all the more enjoyable
  • Liz at Stocklist Goods who flew down from Tacoma, WA to walk the show.  (and introducedus to Animal Instincts SF one of our newest stores!)
  • Jaimie and Alec for their generous hospitality (and overnight oatmeal. . .gotta get that recipe!)

and the countless bay area stores who came to discover independent designers and makers in a venue with the BEST VIEWS and the coolest show organizers around.



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About Crystalyn Kae

Crystalyn Kae Brennan Crystalyn is a handbag designer in Seattle, WA. Her sustainable luxury handbags are made in USA with ethically-sourced leather and unique vintage fabrics. Read more »

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