Kristen Scharf, the owner of Combinist Goods, standing behind her booth set up at Market Collective 2022 at the BMO centre on May 14, 2022.

Market Collective celebrates arts and culture by cooperating closely with small businesses to help entrepreneurs expand their growth. 

It seeks to create an inclusive platform where businesses can share their ideas with the community in order to showcase the creativity of artists and designers in Calgary.

This year the market includes many new businesses that have not been able to showcase their products due to being disrupted by the pandemic. 

Stories from local business owners

Kristen Scharf, owner of Combinist Goods based in Calgary says that she was able to turn her hobby of creating statement jewelry into a career. 

“I started this business because I love statement jewelry. I love big colourful jewelry. So any chance to get into kind of fashion accessories was definitely where I was aiming. I also love big statement earrings… I wanted to create a line of statement jewelry that you could actually wear all day long. All my pieces are ultra-lightweight.”

It can be challenging to get small businesses known by the general population.

“There are lots of jewelry brands out there,” says Scharf. “Being able to stand out and build your customer base and even be able to get repeat customers, that’s the hardest part. Of course, social media is really saturated. To get a big following, it’s just about chugging along and participating in events like Market Collective to try and get your name and face out there.”

After two years in business, Scharf hopes to see her company continue to grow.

“My goal is just to keep getting my face out there and to keep diversifying the product mix that I have — growing my presence in the Calgary community and hopefully across Canada a little bit more.”

Mariya Pdeyko, the owner of AM cleaning, standing behind her booth set up at Market Collective 2022 at the BMO centre on May 14, 2022. 

Mariya Podeyko, owner of AM cleaning has been a cleaning business since 2018. She hopes to educate Calgarians about toxic-free cleaning supplies that are a much safer alternative, while also supporting a local business. 

“Our ingredients are plant-based — coconut and corn-derived soaps with emulsifiers and essential oils. We have salicylic acid, we have vegetable glycerin. It’s very important to me what goes inside of the bottle. I want our product to be effective. But that doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice the quality ingredient.”

Podeyko’s business also focuses on giving back to the community. Being from Ukraine herself, she hopes to use her business to help those affected by the war. 

“I wanted to help with humanitarian aid. And it motivated me to reach out to my community and ask for their support where 100% of sales would go to Ukraine. And in two weeks, we sold $14,000 worth of cleaning products. So I’m happy that there was a mutually beneficial exchange of Calgary support and us giving local families, natural products that they can use in their homes.”

In the end, Podeyko’s goal is to help move the community in a way which helps the environment while also using local resources. 

“I want to see families take on a natural cleaning approach and refill their products at markets or local stores to make it sustainable, so we can reduce single-use plastic and reduce chemicals being poured down waterways that end up in our water treatment facilities.” 

Market Collective begins on May 13 and ends on May 15, 2022, at the BMO Centre.

Kristen Scharf’s abstract earrings are on display at the booth at the respected prices. PHOTO: SANNAH CHAWDHRY
Mariya Podeyko’s cleaning supplies. Her local business offers cleaning supplies that are natural and plant-based. PHOTO: SANNAH CHAWDHRY

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