Creative Babe Market inspires hope for women owning small businesses

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An inside look on this organization’s positive impact on their community

The women who attend Creative Babe Market expos to display their business products are already far superior entrepreneurs than Elizabeth Holmes from Theranos. These female small business owners are determined to generate more consumers for their companies and they aren’t skipping any steps to do so.

Creative Babe Market is a traveling Orange County market that was established in February 2021 to help support small business owners, mainly female owners. Holly Gresto and her friend Michelle Casillas, who also owns a small business called Desert Hangers, founded this organization.

Gresto owned a workspace in Fullerton and began hosting expos that were on a smaller scale. She met Casillas at her workspace; she was a vendor at one of the events Gresto hosted. After becoming close friends, the two of them decided to collaborate and form a larger scale traveling market that eventually became Creative Babe Market.

Gresto and Casillas started Creative Babe Market in order to help small businesses attract more revenue. However, this isn’t the only goal they had in mind. They’re hoping their new business brings the community of female small business owners together to network their business and try making new friends in the process.

“Overall goal is to create that sense of community for sure,” Gresto says. “Mainly women based and of course to make sales and to network overall.”

Gresto emphasizes the community aspect of her organization because as a small business owner herself, she feels it’s hard for the people close to her to understand how difficult it is to run a small business. The events she hosts offer a sense of unity between these female owners who all have the understanding of running a smaller company.

The vendors who display their products at these events feel that sense of unity between each other. They come to Creative Babe expos to network and generate revenue, but also to connect with people and have a sort of camaraderie in the small business industry.

Alexa Schmidt, owner and proprietor of health and wellness brand It Comes Naturally, talked about how this organization has done so much to make the vendors feel like family. Their efforts have proven to be effective since her company has had great luck when attending events.

“It provides an opportunity, but also a community to connect with people,” Schmidt says. “To have that camaraderie and feel supported instead of doing it alone from your little office or bedroom at home. You get to have a collective thing all in common to grow and expand your business.”

These events can have as many as 60 vendors register and attend these expos, most of them being female business owners. They’re usually held in breweries, but can be held in other types of places such as petting zoos and baseball parks. Earlier this year, Creative Babe held events at the Goats and Goods Market and Angel Stadium.

Picking and choosing the places to host these expos are usually determined randomly. The women at Creative Babe do their best to select destinations that are fun and family-friendly. One attendee, Lauren Dahmer, explains that she comes to these events for the lively experience and to join the effort of supporting small businesses.

“I think it’s fun to give these small businesses versus big corporations,” Dahmer says. “I know that they put in a lot of hard work into it.”

Many of the attendees, like Dahmer, and the vendors hear about Creative Babe by their advertising through social media, mainly Instagram. Through their efforts, they’re hoping to broadcast their organization as much as they can so small business owners can reach out and come together to help keep their companies afloat.

Social media platforms are crucial to Creative Babe’s success. It enables them to reach out to not only the vendors, but to people who hear about this organization and develop an interest in attending. Having a good marketing program through social media can allow Creative Babe Market to expand even more than they already have.

Their efforts have been more than successful as their organization continues to grow. Many of the business owners have credited Creative Babe Market for helping jump starting their companies.

Sol Williams, proprietor of fashion company Unbthrd Fashion, talked about how coming to Creative Babe expos has helped her business gain more traction. These events allow her the opportunity to show off her own creativity in the fashion industry.

“They’ve helped me a lot,” Williams says. “They do these markets, they’re always great and they’re super organized. It’s helped the exposure and create a community among other business owners.”

Having a support system among business owners can help create a sense of stability between the Creative Babe Market vendors, but getting exposure is the key objective for many of these proprietors. Most of these companies are businesses that people have never heard of so going to an event like this is greatly beneficial.

The latest information by the US Bureau Labor of Statistics says that 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. Companies like those tend to have a hard time marketing their titles that can attract consumers. Getting exposure at a Creative Babe expo is a way of getting their foot in the door in terms of getting exposure.

The small business proprietors claim they attending these events have done wonders for attracting the revenue they’re looking for. They encounter attendees that have various backgrounds and interests. Some people’s certain interests can be obscure, but even those obscure interests can be appealing to certain vendors at one of these expos.

Taryn Carpenter, proprietor of the athleisure company COCO On The Go, explains how attending these markets has been crucial in helping find more consumers for her products and bringing attention to her business.

“Not only does it bring attention, but it also helps the social networking,” Carpenter says. “Somebody that has been shopping with Creative Babe before will now shop with us as well.”

Because of the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses took the biggest hit in regards to generating revenue when compared to larger companies. Creative Babe Market was created to assist those struggling businesses and help create more consumers for them.

Ironically, many of the vendors attending Creative Babe expos say they actually benefited from the pandemic. People that were laid off from their jobs began their own businesses. Other people who now had all this free time started creating their own companies based on their hobbies and interests.

Tatiane Uriostegui, the proprietor of salsa company Salsa Valente, had started her business when the pandemic started. The free time she had during the pandemic gave her the opportunity to start her own business. She explained that COVID-19 had a big impact, but it was in a positive way.

“We started our business when the pandemic started,” Uriostegui says. “When all the malls were closed, we had the opportunity to go to any pop ups.”

The pandemic had destroyed many aspects of everyday life, but for these vendors they took advantage of the opportunity to thrive instead of die. While Creative Babe Market was looking to lend a hand to pre-pandemic small businesses, other companies were created in the process.

Whether they’re a pre-pandemic business or a post-pandemic business, Creative Babe Market doesn’t discriminate. The goal of supporting small businesses and creating a sense of community has flourished under Creative Babe Market’s help in the nearly two years they’ve been around.