What started out a year ago as six vendors on a sidewalk is now 130 vendors at the Lake County Fairgrounds with roughly 4,000 attendees.
“I was looking to set up a place for creative people to showcase their work. At my store I met so many people that had great stuff but they weren’t ‘farmer’s market’ people – they needed a venue. I also wanted to be able to do something where I could do 90 percent of the work with my kids there,” said Carey Rowell, a mom of three and business partner at Old Green Shutters Antiques in Crown Point.
June marks the one year anniversary for Rowell’s Hunt and Gather, a pop up market featuring vendors from all over the Tri-state area. The requirement to partake as a vendor is to either sell vintage, handmade or antique items.
However, those who have attended or showcased, will agree it’s more than just a market—it’s an intoxicating celebration of creative energy.
“What we love about Hunt and Gather is the size of the market, the themes, the variety and quality of vendors, but most of all the positive energy. The sense of community and helpfulness is amazing, especially as out-of-state vendors,” said Shamus McClain, co-owner of Real. Soaps in Chicago, who has been a vendor at all but one Hunt and Gather show.
Evvie and Justin Tillich of Crown Point were so taken with the market when they attended back in August they approached Rowell about collaborating with her.
“Hunt and Gather attracts people that are a combination of art, handmade, artisan with a touch of modern in them. Carey brings in the right music, the right food, the right vendors—she’s really orchestrating something. It’s what we always hoped Crown Point could produce,” said Evvie, mother of three.
By the third market, which ran in November, the Tillich’s had worked with Rowell to re-brand and create all of the design work for Hunt and Gather, something Rowell is thankful for.
“I don’t know if there would have been a third market if it weren’t for them. It’s just the three of us 24-7—it takes an incredible amount of time and energy to pull it off,” said Rowell. “And Evvie and Justin have created such a following with their vintage-inspired shirts alone. People literally come to Hunt and Gather just to get the new WoodenJacket-designed Hunt and Gather t-shirt.”
Many vendors use the Hunt and Gather as a launching pad for their business. WoodenJacket Design is one of them as they launched their apparel line at the Hunt and Gather in November.
“We’ve been designing apparel for the last five years but there was nothing in the area to use as a platform to show our work to see if there was interest. Because we’ve partnered with Carey, our work is becoming global—people want us in their stores, locally, in Chicago and even in the west coast. It’s nuts!” said Evvie.
McClain said he has had a similar experience by exhibiting his line at the market.
“Doing this show has definitely helped us spread our name and product; we are now sold in three stores in Indiana, all as a direct result of this market,” said McClain. “On the ride home Jason and I always discuss how amazed we are at Carey for doing this. This show matches the size of a lot of shows here in Chicago but adds so much more of a personal touch to it. I think vendors and patrons alike can feel that personal difference.”
Rowell has a small version of Hunt and Gather in the works for August in Crown Point on the square. Announcements of upcoming markets can be found at facebook.com/OldGreenShuttersAntiques.
Visit facebook.com/woodenjacket and facebook.com/Real.soaps for more information on WoodenJacket Design and Real.Soaps.