Last time we checked in with boutique owner Yazmin Colon, she had started a discussion group and a blog meant to bridge the divide between Bushwick’s newer residents and longtimers like herself. Now she’s stepping up her ongoing efforts to unite everyone through that universal pastime — shopping. “You know that saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a kid’? Well, what I’m trying to do is build my own little village,” Yazmin explained.
Among Yazmin’s many projects (which also include an arts education program for Brooklyn youth, Educated Little Monsters) is the Bushwick Vendor’s Market. The market, which predates the forthcoming Shwick, has been around since January, popping up occasionally at a 2nd floor spot on Broadway and Willoughby. But that space has proven to be “too small” for the number of interested vendors — so this weekend, it will reopen as a “bigger, bigger, bigger version of what we were doing before,” said Yazmin. And it could eventually become a weekly thing.
On Sunday vendors will be selling their wares from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Silent Barn, where Yazmin previously did an event for Little Monsters. “Most people don’t get that it’s a community space,” she said. “But [after the event] I was like wow, Silent Barn is really decent and it’s not really known in the area as far as the natives are concerned.”
One of Yazmin’s major concerns as a longtime resident of Bushwick is the changing character of the neighborhood. “I speak a lot about gentrification because, being a Brooklyn native, I’ve seen a lot of people go, and so many businesses close.” But she hopes the market — “a community project” — will welcome “people from all walks of life,” including families with kids (her son will be making and selling original artwork at the market).
“I don’t want to have an all upscale market,” she said. “Like yeah, people are making money, and people are getting comfortable off all that money they make, but it doesn’t really do much for the community.”
Yazmin said she’s not opposed to having vendors sell expensive items, but rather she wants to have a diverse range of prices represented so everyone feels that at least something is affordable. “I’m not trying to take away from the artists and the money they are trying to make, I’m just encouraging them to have stuff that’s reasonably priced,” she said.
Though food vendors generally participate at the market, unfortunately Yazmin says they won’t be present at Silent Barn this weekend due to licensing issues. But there are 20 other vendors to draw the crowds including Palomino Jewelry, Uptown Closet Freak, and vintage clothing dealer BaBushwick.
“I initially wanted to do it every single week–that’s still the big goal,” Yazmin explained. The market will return again on September 6 to the second floor of 1009 Broadway, but keep your eyes peeled for more regular appearances on the horizon.