Bratz Biz returns to the Whistler Conference Centre

Young artisans sell products alongside the Arts Whistler Holiday Market on Nov. 25 and Nov. 26

Bratz Biz is returning to the Whistler Conference Centre this year.

While the annual artisan market for young entrepreneurs was held in conjunction with the Arts Whistler Holiday Market (formerly called Bizarre Bazaar) for years, last year the event moved to the Westin Resort and Spa for its own one-day market.

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“I volunteered last year and the Westin was fantastic to us,” said Craig Lovell, one of three new organizers of the event. “But the awareness wasn’t great (of the move). We didn’t have as many vendors as the past. We talked to the kids, the vendors we call them, and they were overwhelmingly in support of getting back to the conference centre.”

In total, there will be 26 tables filled with artisan goods, crafts and treats made by around the same number of vendors. “The range of age in kids is from six to teens,” Lovell said. “The quality and caliber of the crafts is broad and varies from fine arts, jewelry and baked goods.”

It turns out organizing the event takes a lot of work. That was one lesson that Lovell, Lee Schwartz and Jacqui Lawrence learned when they took over organizational duties from co-founders Susan Rowlands Shrimpton and Carmen Laslett this year.   

“There’s a bit more work than we thought involved,” he said, with a laugh. “With any event with a date set there’s an ebb and flow…

The coordination with Arts Whistler, they’re doing some things we did before and we’re doing other things we haven’t done before like food safe and market safe for properly handling food.”

As part of the lead-up to the event, the young artisans are matched up with experienced mentors who can offer them advice on how to best sell their products. “They go in there and they have to talk about their product to someone else as if they were trying to sell it,” Lovell said.

It’s that educational element that drew him to the volunteer position. “In the past we held a workshop in advance, but we didn’t have time this year,” he added. “That’s a goal for next year; to hold more workshops to help them along, but we’ve been sending updates with suggestions (for participants).”

For this year, though, shoppers can anticipate seeing some return vendors and new faces. There will be candles, Christmas cards, art, jewelry, duct tape wallets, carmel apples, t-shirts and bath products, to name just a few items.

“It’s a good variety,” Lovell said. “Bratz Biz definitely has a following. There are people that value what the organization does, but also like to go shopping. They feel good about supporting young entrepreneurs.”

Bratz Biz is taking place at the Whistler Conference Centre on Saturday (Nov. 25) from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday (Nov. 26) from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. alongside the Arts Whistler Holiday Market. Entry is by donation.

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