Each year, Bratz Biz helps youth artisans gain artistic confidence and grow their business skills, fostering the next generation of local arts leaders – like Arts Whistler’s very own Stephanie McColm.
By providing physical space and support, Bratz Biz works to empower the next generation of young artisans to take individual art projects from development to sale and shows them how to turn a passion for the arts into a viable part-time income.
Whistler local, Stephanie McColm was among the first youth entrepreneurs to participate in Bratz Biz, taking part in the craft market during its inaugural year in 2006, as well as the two years that followed. Now 12 years later, Stephanie is responsible for organizing the Arts Whistler Holiday Market, working closely with market vendors, including the new generation of young artisan makers of Bratz Biz.
“I remember going to the Bizarre Bazaar (now the Arts Whistler Holiday Market) as a kid and being infatuated by the artisans and the energy of the market. I never expected that one day I’d be planning the event, which now features over 100 vendors.
“Getting to plan the market has been an extremely rewarding experience, and it has made me appreciate how much work goes into creating something like this. Everything including determining the look and feel, selecting the vendors, performers, ensuring the operations run smoothly, and so much more, makes it a huge job.”
From relationship building and budget development, to time management and attention to detail in event planning, Stephanie credits Bratz Biz for helping to grow many of the skills that she uses on a daily basis in her role as a Programs and Events Coordinator at Arts Whistler.
“The experience also taught me to manage my own money and learn how to dedicate myself to a task from start to finish,” says Stephanie, noting that she’s grateful to have had been able to explore and strengthen her confidence in her own leadership abilities. “Each year, as November rolled around, my excitement grew with the prospect of making my own money and selling my very own products, all while learning the skills needed to run a small business,” she adds.
“It’s an invaluable experience for young people,” says Stephanie. “It not only empowered me to believe in my own leadership skills, but it gave me confidence to follow my creative energies and continue to develop my artistic abilities.”
Supporting Youth Vendors as They Grow
The Arts Whistler Holiday Market is happy to partner with the young entrepreneurs of Bratz Biz for another year as we work together to grow and strengthen the local arts scene in Whistler and the Sea to Sky, continuing to work together to nurture and support the new generation of artisan makers, from youth through to adulthood.
As part of this effort, for the first year, the Susan & Carmen Legacy Table, sponsored by Arts Whistler and Bratz Biz, will provide a free Arts Whistler Holiday Market vendor table to one student who has graduated from Bratz Biz and is now participating in the market as vendor as an adult. This year that Bratz Biz alum is Jessica Wells, who will be selling her handmade Evergreen North Christmas decor.
More than Just a Market
While the event is a great opportunity for Whistler holiday shoppers, it’s also exciting for the young artisans who have worked hard on products to sell. Make sure to stop by the Arts Whistler Holiday Market and check out the amazing talent that our local youth vendors will be bringing with them this year. We can’t wait to see you all there!
The Arts Whistler Holiday Market and Bratz Biz will be at the Whistler Conference Centre on November 24, from 10am-7pm, and November 25, from 10am-5pm.