2017-12-14 / News

Bazaar is brainchild of local businesswomen

By Grant McPherson
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD – A new craft fair in the mills this holiday season is organized by, and will host, a network of local artisans.

Confetti will take place 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17 on the first floor of the Pepperell Mill Campus at 40 Main St. The holiday bazaar will include more than 25 local vendors, a holiday photo booth hosted by Rebecca Pinkham of Beaux & Arrows and a bake sale to benefit Biddeford Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center. Sweetcream Dairy will be open along with Angelrox, the latter of which will be offering tours through its studio.

Katie Oliver, a senior colorist for Tulu Salon and Spa is the lead organizer of the event. She lives in Biddeford with her husband and two children and said the idea for the event began in spring as a way for her and others to continue the ongoing momentum downtown.

“I love the community and how things are changing,” Oliver said. “I found that the energy all the new businesses are putting into the downtown is extremely contagious. With me owning my own business, I wanted to be a part of that. I don’t have a storefront, just a local studio, so I had to figure out a way to bring my product to people. Also I love the mill. It’s a great space. I felt the downstairs was an awesome location to host an event like this.”

Oliver is the creator and owner of Baby Haus, an organic, handmade clothing company for infants. She started it about 3 1/2 years ago when she was pregnant with her first child.

“That sprang from a need of wanting cute organic kids clothes,” Oliver said. “I was looking for a minimalist design, simple but still have a Maine feeling to them.”

Alicja Bronk-Zdunowski and Kanya Zillmer helped Oliver organize Confetti. Bronk-Zdunowski is Tulu’s salon manager and owner of Clay and Paper Co. She makes pottery and paintings in the Main Street studio she shares with Oliver. She said this will be the first craft fair she’s sold her work at and is excited to see what consumers are drawn to at Confetti.

“I feel there’s a strong sense of community in general in Biddeford,” Bronk-Zdunowski said. “I think a lot of people are interested, willing to help and active.”

Bronk-Zdunowski said she wants people who visit the bazaar to have fun and not feel pressured to buy anything, hence the addition of the free photo booth.

“It’s nice to bring everyone together,” she said. “Because there are so many other bazaars going on this time of year, I want to see what makes ours special and standout from the rest. I think it helps that we’re in Biddeford in the mills. It’s such a new space. It’s nice to have something outside of Portland.”

Zillmer owns Hills and Trails, a Portland-based screen-printing company she started about two years ago with her partner James Frydrych. Zillmer is a freelance graphic designer, but her company sells handmade, outdoor themed items such as shirts, pillows and posters. She said she grew up spending summers in Maine, hiking and camping. She moved to the state seven years ago and now lives in Saco.

“We have a camp in the mid-coast where we got the whole theme,” Zillmer said. “We were very into going up to Maine to spend the summers at camp. We wanted other people to feel that and got the inspiration from that vibe.”

Zillmer met Oliver when the two collaborated on a line of clothing called “Camp Baby.” Zillmer provided the fabric and Oliver sewed pieces into baby clothes for their joint collection.

“It call came together through our love of making things,” Zillmer said.

Zillmer’s products are available in store at Toad & Co in Freeport, but this will be the first time her wares are in front of people in Biddeford. She said despite most vendors being smaller operations like herself, she’s excited for visitors to see what vendors have to offer.

“I was impressed,” Zillmer said. “People really blew me away with how great their products were.”

Oliver is hoping for a large turnout and said spreading the word about Confetti has been a challenge.

“The holidays are so busy, there are so many events,” she said. “Are we on the radar is what I’m wondering. It’s my first time running an event like this. I’ve learned a lot along the way. I wish I could have accepted 25 more vendors but we didn’t have space for it.”

Oliver said every vendor will attend for the full six hours, so visitors don’t need to worry about missing something if they arrive late.

“My favorite part about shows is seeing people’s reactions to my clothes and my art,” she said. “When my normal way is online, I don’t get that feedback generally. What I look forward to the most is everyone is always in such good spirits around this time of year. It’s just fun to chat with everyone.”

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