British Columbia·Our Vancouver

Make It: So much more than a craft show

Make It founder Jenna Herbut discusses her success as a young entrepreneur working hard to create a community for other local Canadian self-starters. Not only does Make It offer an avenue for artisans to sell their handmade goods, but it has also become a hub to meet other makers.

Local artisans bring the do-it-yourself movement together under one roof for annual sale

Jenna Herbut founder of the Make It Craft Show

5 years ago
Duration 4:42
Herbut explains how her love of crafting grew into the popular Make It shows

The story behind one of the city's most popular craft shows is a testament to what happens when success gets spread around.

Jenna Herbut was a business student in Alberta when she came up with a "booty belt" product for a school project and ended up selling it all over the world.

A few years later, she was burned out from the wholesale world when a friend asked her to sell the belts at an outdoor market.

She loved the experience of interacting directly with the customers interested in her creation.

Herbut also loved being in the milieu of the market with other artisans. She soon teamed up with her brother Chandler, who is also a designer, to create a craft show that would appeal to her friends — and Make It was born.

Make It is described as both upbeat and uplifting. The people who sell at the fairs are called "makies". They are encouraged to interact and create at the site, fostering a community.

"It's tough, especially when you're going at it alone," Herbut said. "It can be very lonely, it can be very isolating, so it's amazing to see the community that's evolved with Make It and how close some of them have become."

"For some of them, they've been with the show from day one, so they've seen us grow and we've seen them grow and that's really cool to see."

You can buy DIY crafts online, but the real life interaction is what the Herbuts hope add value.

The first Make It show in Edmonton was very small. In Vancouver, it had 60 sellers. Last year, the PNE Forum location had 250 booths and 18,000 shoppers, according to Herbut.

The Make It show runs from Dec. 8 to 11 at the PNE Forum in Vancouver.

With files from CBC's Our Vancouver.

Our Vancouver