All Things Detroit returns to the Eastern Market for the Christmas shopping event

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If you’re looking for unique holiday gifts, the All Things Detroit Holiday Shopping Experience and Food Truck Rally returns with its small business showcase at Detroit’s Eastern Market.

Handmade Christmas items and treats, as well as home decor and other items are sold from local producers. And this year, even more artists will be featured.

“We have an art gallery that’s curated by Colibri (Harris), the artist…I really wanted to focus more on artists because artists are also small businesses,” said the event’s founder, Jennyfer Crawford-Williams, owner of Ask Jennyfer, a Detroit-based marketing and consulting firm.

A photographer will also be set up to take headshots of business owners and the food truck rally will consist of about 10 different trucks, she said.

This year’s event, sponsored by Chase Bank, is in its sixth year and will span three sheds — sheds 3, 4 and 5 — and all 220 retail spaces are sold out, Crawford-Williams said.

Starting a business is a complicated, long-term undertaking. And while there are resources throughout Detroit to support startups, not all encourage a sense of community like All Things Detroit.

Rosalind Jackson of Detroit Cocoa Bar said she tried to start her chocolate confectionery business with friends Vannetta Robinson and Deidre Johnson in 2018 but didn’t have the resources to get it off the ground.

“It started with my friend Deidre and … this strong memory she had of her grandmother’s hot cocoa, it was the best, and we thought we could do that,” said Jackson, 51. “We got it (test sample) Tried it out in our church and everyone loved it.”

Though they had a product and customer base, Jackson said it wasn’t until she started attending All Things Detroit events during the COVID-19 pandemic that she learned the skills she needed to get out of her and Johnson’s hot chocolate to do business.

“We started attending (All Things Detroit) events before we were even a company, and after all the things we learned … we figured if we could sell at a farmers’ market, we could do All Things Detroit.” ‘ Jackson said.

The Detroit Cocoa Bar now offers a variety of chocolate candies, including granola, candy bars, and cookies.

Crawford-Williams said minority-owned companies need to carve out their own path when it comes to entering the business scene.

“I wanted to be that resource,” she said. “Being a company run by a woman and run by Black people… not having a college degree and really finding my passion for doing things… (I had to ask myself), how can I be a support to the community …”

Crawford-Williams said while other resources are available, none foster the strong sense of community she was seeking.

All Things Detroit Day returns as a national holiday this time on Detroit's Eastern Market Sunday.

Detroit resident LaToya Johnson founded a greeting card business called Candidly Speaking and said she had had an affinity for greeting cards since she was a child, but couldn’t find one that represented her. She will be selling her unique cards at this weekend’s event and will also be selling them online at thecandidlySpeaking.com.

“It’s very rare to find maps that capture who I am or what I sound like,” Johnson said.

With the help of an illustrator, Johnson launched her first dozen greeting cards in April 2021 and has since grown to more than 40 unique cards.

Johnson said she attended an All Things Detroit event before starting her business and fell in love with the environment.

“I learned so much from the other vendors about how to prepare for the event itself,” she said. “And my network of companies has grown, which has opened the doors for me to attend other vendor events and networking events.”

Other vendors at All Things Detroit include Nan’Chang Creationz and her handmade crochet clothing and home decor store, White Pansy Boutique.

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All Things Detroit vacation experience

Sunday 13 Nov

11am-4pm

East Market, Sheds 3, 4 and 5

2934 Russell, Detroit

Tickets are $5 at the box office or $10 online in advance.

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