Creating businesses from hobbies

by Nicole Badgley, Staff Writer

It’s a skill to turn everyday hobbies like necklace making, painting, carving and photography into business ventures.

Some entrepreneurs sell their work as part-time business owners, while others rely on their full-time shops as a means to provide for themselves and their families.

The SoCal Etsy Guild Market of San Diego is a public event of local designers, artists and vendors.

This month, vendors gathered their booths at from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m on Nov. 19 at Westfield Mission Valley.

Stephanie Payan has been running the SoCal Etsy Guild Market for four years.

There are three to ten events held every month throughout Southern California. This event is intended to support small businesses and those who make a full-time living of selling handmade goods.

“We wanted to create awareness about shopping local and supporting local businesses and giving people an alternative to buying mainstream,” Payan said. “For a lot of people, this is how they support themselves and their families so it’s really cool that you get to meet the people who are making your product and you get to buy directly from the source rather than buying from a corporation or faceless person that you’ll never know.”

Payan said the event has a loyal following of vendors that travel with the event throughout Southern California the whole year.

One vendor sold homemade bath bombs, lotions and soaps. Many of the soaps were shaped as food or holiday items like cupcakes or snowmen.

The man behind the booth said his mother makes and designs the items at home and he sells them as a way to provide for their family.

Another vendor informed event-goers about her organic and local produce.

The business delivers the produce to customers’ doors twice a month and is as affordable as grocery store produce.

Linda Queally is one vendor who follows the event. Originally from Long Beach, Queally travels to venues in Thousand Oaks, Riverside, downtown Los Angeles and Orange County selling her art.

“I do three different kinds of medium and they all relate to my love for the ocean and my love for the water,” Queally said. “I paint mermaids and I’m also a photographer. My favorite subject here is surfers and the ocean.”

She said her favorite venues to work at are south of Long Beach because that’s where the water lovers are and where her art resonates with people the most.

Queally studied gemology and uses this knowledge to make jewelry as well. She said she uses mermaids for a lot of her centerpieces and uses pearls in almost every piece she makes.

She said she likes using real stones and real pearls in her pieces and being able to tell her customers what exactly is in a piece he or she is buying.

“I traveled four months in Mexico so a lot of my photography is also about Mexico and because we’re so close to the Mexican border down here, I find that everything I do, people can relate to,” Queally said.

The SoCal Etsy Guild Market is a helpful platform for small businesses to sell to local customers and a way for vendors to connect and grow their businesses.

For those interested in supporting local business and buying natural or handmade items, the event will return to San Diego Dec. 3 with new local vendors.