Unifying local voices and diverse culture, Thursday Night Market Under The Stars gives Long Beach residents a mix of small businesses with passionate goals and a love for their community.
The small street market, open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., brings in a special crowd of locals and tourists all equally captivated by the vendors’ stories, as well as their energy.
Business owner and CSULB student Julia Allen rented a booth with artist Alice LeFae where the two sold a combination of their work. Allen, who is a silversmith and business-marketing major, uses the event to sell her handcrafted jewelry. LeFae also creates jewelry, however mainly sells her animal focused watercolor art.
Allen encourages students to come to the event stating that after three months of attending there is “always live music, always so many different products and new people each week. Some people come back and you get to see your favorite artists on a regular basis.”
CSULB graduate Stephon Guidroz is another Long Beach resident who began to sell his craft at markets. Guidroz says that his company, The Cheesecake Cookie Company, has taken a few dips up and down within the open air markets this last year, but that has not stopped him from rebranding and expanding. What used to be a cake, cupcake and cookie business has now been focused on his organic cookies that combine cheesecake and cookie dough.
Guidroz offers advice to students interested in starting a business saying, “If you have an idea; jewelry, snow cones, whatever you want, try it out.”
For many other vendors, local farmers markets are not just a way to create income, these events allow them to share their passions and stories with their community.
Cecilia Mejia is a therapist in Long Beach who began practicing the use of crystals and energy wellness with her patients. She said that when she noticed the effectiveness crystals had with her clients, she was motivated to begin her business, Bella Crystals, to help others in a positive way.
Rose Contreras has a similar story; creating her business, Zeidas Fit, began as a way to give women activewear that makes them feel comfortable, safe and included. She says that her plus size wear is her best selling item because comfort for any size is always needed yet hardly prioritized. Contreras encourages students who may want to start an active lifestyle to come see her, stating that she understands the aspects of clothing that make it breathable, beautiful and takes care of the body.
Benjamin Lee combines organic ingredients and hard work to create products ranging from soap, sugar scrubs, body butter, body oil, and skin softener for his new brand Benz Bot-Extracts.
The purely botanical ingredients offer a gentle and unique take on skincare, according to Lee who said, “I am African-American, I do realize on a personal level the issues we have skin wise so my products focus on nourishment and hydrating oils.”
Benjamin adds that as a child, he often would forget to use lotion and would get irritated about how dry his skin would later get, an experience which inspired him to create products that are frustration free.
Many participants seek to motivate students, not only to join as customers, but to pursue their dream of selling their own products. Plenty of the vendors were new business owners that had expanded during COVID-19.
The biggest piece of advice received from the sellers was “Don’t wait, just do.”
Creative minds attending the Thursday Night Market are welcome to contact Weekend Night Market through their website to register as a vendor.