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Stockton virtual marketplace aims to elevate female entrepreneurs

Stockton Strong Marketplace is an online space for local, female businesses and makers to showcase their work.

STOCKTON, Calif. — With markets and craft fairs being cancelled or postponed over pandemic concerns, Stockton officials have partnered with Goodstock Productions to provide an online space for businesses and makers to showcase their work. It’s called Stockton Strong Marketplace and will feature local, female-owned businesses. 

"We know the struggles of owning a small business," said Anne Crutchfield, who is a Stockton business owner.

Crutchfield and Amy Sieffert own Goodstock Productions, an event planning agency based in Stockton. While they typically organize in-person events, like Stock Market Festival, they took on this virtual platform to elevate female entrepreneurs in their area in a time when gathering isn’t an option.

"It’s not quite the same as an in-person festival, but it still has all the same notions of supporting local and just coming together for positive in our area," said Sieiffert. 

In launching Stockton Strong Marketplace, Sieiffert and Crutchfield partnered with Stockton Strong, a coalition of city leaders who share support and resources with the community in response to Covid-19.

"A lot of people do show up for individuals and makers. I love that about Stockton," said Prescilla Fajardo, a fiber artist based in Stockton. 

Fajardo's work from her shop Yarn Circus will be featured in the marketplace along with 30 other artists and vendors. She crochets hats and scarves, and is most known for her sweet mini stuffed animals, all items shoppers can expect to see online. 

"I thought, 'wow, this is perfect.' I could really use the exposure. I’m just starting out," said Najja Haynes.

Haynes started Naturals by Najja in February. She makes all-natural body and hair oils, scrubs and butters.

Small business owners and makers had to resort to online sales when concerns over the coronavirus shut down craft fairs, markets and art shows.

"I get a lot of my revenue from doing shows," Fajardo explained. "I had my shows booked throughout the whole year and all of those got canceled."

Jamese Ware, a candle maker and owner of J. Ware Candle Co. in Stockton was set to show and sell her work at River City Marketplace in Sacramento before it was postponed. 

"I had a lot of candles just sitting," Ware explained. "And I'm like, 'Okay, how am I going to get these off of me?' I'm losing money."

While it's not the same as the in-person interaction these business owners are used to, Ware, Haynes and Fajardo will have their work displayed on Stockton Strong Marketplace and supporters will be able to shop local from over 30 creative, Stockton based female owned businesses.

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"It puts me out there," Ware explained. "I'm still able to sell my candles and provide for my son and get a wider audience from what I already have."  

Stockton Strong Marketplace goes live on Saturday, June 16 and will run through September. To shop, visit stockmarketca.com/stocktonstrong 

WATCH MORE: Stockton woman holds 'food party' for seniors in need of groceries

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