According to the first Gallup holiday spending survey of the 2011 season, this year, Americans expected to spend an average of $712 on Christmas gifts. With a population of over 8 million, if each New Yorker spent just $10 of their holiday budget at a local business, that would inject nearly $80 million back into the local economy. Well, that is why on the last shopping weekend before Christmas, we hosted our first ever Yelp Giftacular Holiday Market! Featuring a whopping 100+ local, independent businesses, the market was free for all to vend, attend and, spend locally!
There was a little bit of naughty, a whole lot of nice and even some sweet and savory spice on hand for the thousands of shoppers that came through over the weekend. Yelpers new and old kicked things off with a merry greeting by the Yelp elves and then went off to explore the two massive caverns of holiday delight. 82Mercer is an open event space in SoHo featuring exposed brick wall and original cast iron coloumns, the perfect place to recreate the feeling of a modern marketplace!
For those searching for accessories, Hoopla, Bambako, Jemima Jackman, Marikit Designs, IZA TRIGG, Lolafalk, Pinot by Lyn, Sans Map, Brooklyn Owl, Ellis Designs and Lion'esque Style held court with the latter leading the charge with adorable knitwear and a live illustrator sketching customers as they shopped. In the retail realm of clothing Dalaga, L'effrontee, Fencing & Archery, Proper Tea Apparel and Blondes Make Better T-shirts made sure folks sashayed with style. B.Gold Couture set up a super rad lounge to showcase their high quality jewelry and made-to-order clothing complete with complimentary Kettle Chips and DJ sets from 3-6pm both days. Drive By Press was also onsite printing tees on the spot for guests looking for a one-of-a-kind present for him or her. If you keep having dirty thoughts about some less than pleasant in-laws, Meow Meow Tweet, Nordea Soaperie, and Om Aroma Spa made sure yelpers walked away with clean, moisterized minds. There were plentiful choices for gift for the lady in your life with jewelry by A 1000 Kisses, Adornments NYC, Ami Nyitray Designs, Andrea Corson, H.O.W.L., J. Topolski, Loella Medina, Metalicious, Saru Star, Asdel Handmade, Knock Knock Studios, Pulp Sushi, Irene C Studio, and Webbedware. Though guys are harder to buy for Velvet Cigar Lounge, Fly Kly bikes, Dijital Fix (also our DJs every day from 12-3pm), MyPlasticHeart, Naked Inc had some special goods while The Ink Pad, Gramkin Paper Studio, S2 Stationary & Design and Priavanda provided stationary & cards to wrap those inevitable gift cards -- uniquely.
And for those racking their brain finding presents for new parents and their offspring, Bugged Out, Gnorasaurus, Hanky Blanky, LittleMissMatched, Overall Baby, Kitty Jones, Playground Rockstar and Pink Olive resulted in some favorite Auntie and Uncle nominations. For the bookworm in the family, Printed Matter brought the power of the written word to their booth while the gamers got busy with the Wii Bowling by Bowlmor Lanes. And if you still needed a little something for your coworkers, nemesis, new gym buddy or mother-in-law then plants from Rose Red & Lavender or gifts from Extraordinary, Kudu-lah, Purty Bird, SITE NYC, Sono.ei, Simply Nu, Sustainable NYC, Red Bridge Studio, Claudia Pearson, Lovely Day Designs, Thumbook, will The Evolution Store earn you brownie points. Local artists Aperture Agog, Astrodub and Kelly Gudahi Photography added a fab flair for under the tree or on the wall.
Any seasoned sale seeker knows that shopping can be quite the work out. Fortunately, we had plenty of free Honest Tea, Cascal Fermented Soda, Sokenbicha, and Illy Iced Coffee on hand to refresh the troops. Nary a bleary eye could be seen after a trip to the Kickstand Coffee lounge offering free samples of their slow-brewed coffee concentrate both hot and cold. Hungry? Why wait? We had piping hot homemade Mama's Empanadas, Mimi & Coco served out some seriously savory Japanese street food, and Macaron Parlour, Tumbador Chocolates, Three Tarts Bakery, The Chocolate Swirl, Wooly's Ice and Super Foxy Treats kept things sweet. Freebies from Pop Chips, KIND Bars, Qdoba and Pirate's Booty didn't hurt none either!
With arms full of locally hewn wares, yelpers hit up the complimentary gift-wrapping booths with the "Yelp Shops Local" sticker of approval. And if kicking money back toward the little mom 'n' pop shops wasn't enough, several hundred locals warmed up with a cup of cocoa and gave cash or clothing donations to our charitable partner Housing Works, an organization that provides housing, medical, prevention, support services for those living with HIV/AIDs in NYC.
HUGE THANK YOU to all the amazing vendors, artists, designers and sponsors for making this pop-up market one-of-a-kind. Happy holidays to you and yours, here's hoping you give and receive some local love!
Until next time, SYOY...
- Jane K & Team NYC
Yelp Community Director