Seika Anderson, Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce
Regional Digital Marketplace Manager
“This project is a creation of COVID. With a lack of physical markets Common Ground Market gave artisans an opportunity to sell their wares in another way.
The platform is an artisanal community full of creative makers who, especially during the pandemic, took solace in their arts, crafts and hobbies. It helped a lot with people’s mental health by providing an outlet to work on their crafts.
We launched the platform at the end of March and are up to 24 vendors already. My job is to assist vendors through the entire process, from sending out the Welcome Pack, to helping set up their online shop, arranging photography days and marketing the Common Ground Market. I’m here to help make it easier to get their shops live.
We are currently looking to expand into the nine communities in the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District. In our next phase, we want to introduce workshops so vendors can meet and learn from each other directly while sharing the knowledge of their craft.
Common Ground Market hosted two West Coast Night markets this past Summer. The vision was to bring vendors into a community space with local businesses, music, art, food and drink. The evening markets were a great success, with 25+ vendors, live music, children’s entertainment, the Ucluelet Brewing Company serving craft beer and local food offerings. The markets were a great boost to the artisan community’s economic growth. And after the last few years, a much-needed outdoor social event for both locals and visitors to the area.
The West Coast artistic community is tight knit. If artists don’t know each other personally, they usually know of one another and do their best to support each other.
Our biggest challenge initially was visibility. With Tourism Ucluelet’s support and our social media platforms, the market has really started to pick up. People’s shopping habits have shifted during the pandemic. Now more than ever consumers are wanting to support local. I would love to see visitors to the area putting their feet up after a long day at the beaches and trails, perusing Common Ground Market and deciding what artisan souvenir they would like to bring home with them. Common Ground Market gives shoppers across the county and internationally an opportunity to take a piece of the coast home with them.
I love that I can be a part of this! I can interact and assist artists in getting their (online) shops set up; and marketing the platform is a fantastic creative outlet to help vendors sell and stay motivated to keep going. I come from an artistic family and it means a lot to me that this platform performs well for the artisans.”
The “Common Ground Market” initiative is run by the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce. The Regional Digital Marketplace Manager position bolsters the development of a multi-vendor online marketplace supporting artisans, non-profits and small businesses in the nine west coast communities of the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District. This includes help to set-up their e-commerce store, increase business sales and/or launch a new business entirely. The position will also help move the market into phase 2, expanding to include service providers and new geographic areas.