industry insider | Nov 30, 2018 |
Heath Ceramics' Make Good Market aims to strengthen craft communities

More than 30 California-based designers and makers are slated to participate in Heath Ceramics' second-annual Make Good Market next week in San Francisco. Vendors vary from the delicious, like handmade bean-to-bar chocolate factory Dandelion Chocolate, to the stylishly designed and crafted, like furniture brand Jacob May and embroidery studio Kissweh.

Business of Home chatted with Heath co-owner and creative director Catherine Bailey about how to keep local craft communities strong and what Make Good Market-goers can look forward to this year.

A maker at the Make Good Market
A crafter at the Make Good MarketLeslie Santarina

What's the vision for the Make Good Market?
Giving customers a deeper view into the work of designer-makers in our community, including some of Heath’s own is our goal. We want to create a connected community that understands and values the work we all do, whether as a small single-person studio or a local factory like ours. To do this, we invite designers and makers to come and not only sell their work, but also share more about their making process and what goes on behind the scenes. We’re trying to create a deeper, more intimate environment than typical craft fairs.

Why this approach?
We’ve built Heath on the belief that it’s not enough to make and sell beautiful products. We need to share what goes into the work to make [the final product] great. The craftsmanship, skill, development and values that guide us to make things responsibly and well need to be transparent to others so that they value and support our work. This philosophy guides Heath and the Make Good Market, and we believe it connects customers deeply with our work and all of those who are a part of the market. The products become more meaningful to the customers, which creates loyalty and value, and in turn benefits the makers.

As a local manufacturer, how has Heath shaped the community?
We employ about 240 people, and the diversity of people it takes to pull off this all is remarkable. Our employees tackle work that ranges from high-level design and strategy to logistics, planning, sales and warehouse and manufacturing jobs. All are important, and we know that if we do not have our employees who make the clay, none of us have jobs. There’s a lot to learn from this democratic and diverse work system.

Last year's Make Good Market
Last year's Make Good MarketLeslie Santarina

What are the core values that unite the brands at Make Good?
All of the vendors at this event are designers or makers or have a very direct and interesting connection with those who are doing the making of their products. We believe the strength of this connection creates better, more ethical and sustainable products. It allows those making decisions about their products to be in control, and by understanding the details, that allows products to be created with integrity. Often, this type of model makes products more expensive, and thus customers need to understand the decisions that go into making them to feel good about the prices.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s market?
I’m excited to see what’s happening at each and every booth, and the small scale of this market makes it really possible. We’ve got 35 vendors and we’re clearing all of the carts of tile and QC stations out of our tile factory to make space for them. It’s incredible to transform a working factory into a market space for a weekend.

Terry Oxford from Urban Bee SF keeps beehives on many local San Francisco rooftops—we’ve got several on the Heath SF building and she will be selling her honey at the market. I’m excited to see the work of Brit Kleinman, who does beautiful weaving and hand painting on leather. Last year, she brought her tools and was painting and printing at her booth. I’m also looking forward to sharing what Heath has been working on in our Clay Studio and Heath Sews Studio. Heath Sews is our new venture into making soft goods. At the market, we’ll bring our making process onto the floor and will custom-make pouches and keychains for customers. Our Clay Studio team will also do throwing demos.

Make Good Market 2018 will be held at the Tile Factory (2900 18th Street
, San Francisco), on December 8 and 9.

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