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Artisans discuss the hurdles, highlights of small business at Midlands Fall Arts and Crafts Market

The 2023 Midlands Fall Arts and Crafts Market at the South Carolina State Farmers Market brought more than 170 vendors from around the state.
Credit: Peyton Lewis

COLUMBIA, S.C. —  Crafters from around the Palmetto State came to the South Carolina State Farmers Market on Saturday and Sunday to sell their wares and share their art with the local community.

Amanda Floyd, the owner of Carolina Soothing Embers, said her passion for soy candle making began five years ago and has now turned into a full-time job. Floyd said she wanted to make candles for folks like herself and her mother with sensitivities to smells. However, she said being a small business does not come without challenges.

"A lot of people will follow sales, but just give us a chance and let us show people what we can do and what we love that is more than just an assembly line," Floyd said. "People say it all the time when you buy from a small business, it goes back to that family, to either buy more supplies or to fund materials they may need or just stuff for the house."

More than 170 vendors at the festival were selling everything from dip mixes to printed mugs. 

Sabrina Bartholomew, who owns Express Knitters, sells stuffed animals she makes herself. Bartholomew said her passion began a year ago and is something she enjoys sharing with others.

"I always like to price my things so that everyone can get something. I always love it when kids come in and they're like, 'Oh, I want this, and I want that and this,' and I'm always like, 'Oh, mom, get it for them,'" Bartholomew said. "I try to keep my pricing the same even with the increases in pricing everywhere."

Jo Owens and Patty Ward travel to craft shows together but run individual businesses called HDP Glass Gardens and Jo's Creations. The sisters-in-law work together to create outdoor pieces like bird baths out of vintage plates and solar-powered chandeliers. Ward said the fun of the creative process keeps them in business.

"It is a passion project; I love it that much," she said with a smile. "And we'll continue doing this as long as our health stands up."

The next Arts and Crafts Market at the Farmer's Market is the Midlands Christmas Market, held on Nov. 4.

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