Photo courtesy of Kate Stafford
The Renegade Craft Fair features a collection of artists and vendors who sell their work in cities across America. The fair will be going on during SXSW from Thursday through Saturday at the Palmer Events Center and will showcase more than 200 crafters and small businesses from all around the world.
Danni Hong, blogger and small business owner of ohhellofriend.com, is packing up her merchandise and flying to Austin from Orange County, Calif. Hong started her business in 2008, but Renegade in Austin was the first out-of-state craft fair she ever attended.
“We learned through going to Austin, it just opened up a new aspect of craft fairs for us.” Hong said. “We could go anywhere now.”
Hong has since opened a store which features her own products in addition to a collection of other goods made by various crafters. Hong will be selling her line of encouraging and inspirational stationary.
“We fell in love with Austin,” Hong said. “We’ve been dreaming about going back and eating all the food.”
UT alumna Chandler Busby will be sending her products to the fair, though she will not be attending. Busby relocated to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after graduating from UT in 2012 with a dual degree in retail merchandising and apparel design. Six months ago, she and her husband created “Fait La Force,” a collection of handmade products by Haitian artisans.
“I think the set up will be great,” Busby said. “My friend is coming to work the event for us. I’m just excited that our products and our brand will be there even though we can’t actually be there.”
Fait La Force sells metal and leather work as well as jewelry and a variety of other handmade goods. These products are made with the goal of creating jobs in Haiti. The business will also be using Renegade to launch a collaboration they have with fellow RCF vendor, “A Well Traveled Woman,” on a line of aprons, handbags and other products the businesses produced together.
“I think Renegade brings in the younger generation, and I’m glad we can bring this together representing our socially conscious business and that products can be well-made while socially impacting people around the world,” Busby said. “All of the products that are sold there genuinely make a difference in the lives of the artisans.”
For Manready Mercantile, a business that makes and curates a line of products geared toward men, Renegade is a chance to showcase its brand. Travis Weaver started the Manready in 2012 making soy candles in his kitchen and selling them door to door. This March, the Houston-based business will be opening its first store location.
“I’m proof that this ‘American dream’ everyone talks about works,” Weaver said. “Don’t just settle for some deadbeat job you don’t like for the rest of your life because that sucks. You should follow your dreams and don’t be scared to chase them down.”
Whether this is their first time going to Renegade or not vendors can seize the opportunity to learn, grow and expand their small businesses while fair goers can buy from a collection of small businesses and look at handmade items from around the world all in one place.
“What Renegade does, we admire,” Weaver said. “Renegade gives people like me to a chance to show their work to the public and that’s loudly important for small businesses to succeed and they do a good job at doing that.