Two women of color, fed up with the lack of representation of creators of color at local craft markets have spearheaded a makers movement. On November 9th from 11-5 p.m, they will be presenting the inaugural Melanin Makers’ Market to the community of Brunswick, Georgia at the local Coastal Pines Technical College campus. The beautiful coast of Georgia hosts an abundance of festivals, craft fairs, and markets offering everything from seafood to art to handmade soap. The only things in low supply at the festivities…artisans of color. Arielle Lang, a visual artist, and Takiela Langley, a natural bath and body artisan, decided that instead of trying to get a seat at the table, they would create a space for themselves and other creative entrepreneurs of color to bring their products & talents to market. The upcoming market will showcase a curated collective of 34 people-of-color-owned businesses based in Brunswick, Atlanta, Savannah, Jacksonville and surrounding cities.
The tenacious twosome initially made their presence known on Instagram and Facebook as the creators of the Melanin Makers’ Market. Within a month and a half of Friday morning breakfast meetings, daily online collaboration, and 5 a.m. texting sessions, Arielle and Takiela have grown their social media tribe to well over 700 people and sold their vision to 30 plus people-of-color-owned small businesses. They have attracted an eclectic blend of makers whose business backgrounds range from startups to seasoned vendors. During a conversation held in the backroom of Instagram’s direct messenger, one of the Melanin Makers’ Market vendors shared her frustration with Takiela over being overlooked at local craft markets, “I got turned down more times than I care to count. I think the only reason I got in [a local craft market] was because of an article in a popular Savannah magazine. After it was published, everybody said yes; sometimes before I asked.” The Melanin Makers’ Market has garnered support and engagement not only from current and aspiring market vendors, but also from a community of people of color who want to see themselves represented in the products sold at local craft fairs and markets.
Distinct and culturally in step, The Melanin Makers’ Market has captured the attention of the director of business development for the Brunswick-Glynn County Economic Development Authority, Vanessa Wagner. The entrepreneurial pair was approached by Wagner with the intent of gaining their participation in a discussion and fact-finding trip. Takiela, one half of the visionary team will jet-set to Nashville, TN mid-November to represent The Melanin Makers’ Market in a dialogue focused on removing barriers for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
She asserts, “If we were fixated on getting a seat at the table, then we would not have attracted that opportunity or our tribe. It is our commitment to infusing our cultural flavor in our market and brand that has made us stand out. Makers of color do exist, and it is our mission to provide a space for them to bring their goods and services to market because representation matters.”
The Melanin Makers’ Market
The Melanin Makers’ Market’s mission is to support and provide a space for creators, who are people of color, to bring their handmade goods and tangible services to market. The two-woman team, which was founded in September of 2019 has built a community around the makers movement. The Melanin Makers’ Market draws attention to every market-approved maker as well as their product/service in their online “Meet the Maker” features. The organization provides practical business advice and useful resources via their upbeat vendor newsletters as well as strategic local advertising to attract attendees to the quarterly community markets. For more information visit www.melaninmakersmarket.com or follow on social media at www.instagram.com/