Introducing 1000 Markets

by Matt on November 10, 2008

1000-markets-logo

My heart has always been with those who follow their dreams and share their talents with the world. No where is this experienced more than with small artisan foodmakers and craftspeople. Theirs is a story rich with insight and background but sometimes things can get a bit too big and busy and those small voices may not ring loud enough to hear. Spend time talking to a grower at a farmers' market, a jewelry maker at a fair, a silversmith at a shop and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

That's why I'm super stoked to let you know that I've teamed up with 1000markets.com. And what exactly is 1000markets, you ask? It's a community of marketplaces, but it's much more than just a collection of products. It's a place for small, artisan businesses to get together and sell their unique products and share their one-of-a-kind stories. I truly love the idea and was pleased as punch when 1000 Market's creator Matt Trifiro asked if I'd be interested. I've known Matt for about a year and was truly moved when I experienced the site prelaunch. So many stories, so many unique items, and of course I loved the food aspect the most. I asked 1000 Market's creator to answer a few questions.


Q: Tell me about you. What were you doing previously? How did this idea for a marketplace based on community, artisan merchants and personal stories come to be?

I have this quirky background that has always been half technology, half humanity. I was a game programmer in my teens, but then I went off and studied philosophy in college. In my late 20s, I founded an interactive television company, but in my 30s I abandoned it for professional cooking school. In some ways, 1000 Markets is the culmination of these diverse forces driving my life.

But even as a child I remember being drawn to the small businesses with artisan sensibilities. I grew up in a little strip-mall-and-tract-home town in Southern California, surrounded by 7-11’s, Burger Kings and chain grocery stores. It was classic “Geography of Nowhere” but I remember riding my bike almost daily to the quirky little record store where I discovered unknown bands from the long-haired owner. And I remember spending countless hours in the skateboard shop where the proprietor waxed poetically about his Gordon & Smith boards and lovingly applied the grip tape by hand when you bought one.

As an adult, I discovered farmers’ markets and street food, and became fascinated by the intersection of commerce and the commonweal. It seemed that no matter where I traveled, from SoHo to Marrakesh, I found the most active, interesting and lively destinations to be the marketplaces and shopping districts filled with small merchants. To me, 1000 Markets is just a natural expression of this real-world phenomenon. My goal is to engage small business and artisan communities in a market-creation process that brings the public market experience to the online world.  Hundreds of years before Facebook and MySpace, markets were the original social networks.

Q: In this day of massive distribution channels, big box retailers and mass-produced items, why is it important to bring it back down to a smaller, much more intimate level?

Artisan commerce reconnects us with our humanity. Our designer, Frank Chimero, summarized it this way: “Artisanal selling is the only model of selling things where there's delight on both sides: delight in making, and then delight in consuming. It's a transfer of delight.” I love that phrase, “transfer of delight.”

Q: How do you find the vendors for 1000 Markets? What does someone need to do to join?

Some of our merchants, we hand recruit, like Mt Townsend Creamery. But we also rely on word of mouth and like-attracting-like. We aren’t focused on growth; we’re focused on quality. We evaluate and hand-approve every merchant before they go live, and we keep quality high because we don’t have any problem saying, “Sorry, we don’t feel this is the right place for you.”

The qualifications are simple: You have to be a small company and you have to be producing a quality artisan product. But, if you meet those requirements, all you have to do is go to http://sell.1000markets.com, open a shop where you list 5-7 products and then submit your application for approval. If your shop looks good, we’ll let you in.

Q: Do you have any favorite items or vendors on the site?

I have so many favorites… I can’t believe you’re going to make me pick! We have a running “staff favorites” on our Community page, and I find so much great stuff I could fill ten of those pages a day.

Here are a few I am currently enchanted by:

When I was growing up, I loved metaphorical board games, so I am especially fond of the products by Antiquity Game Crafters. They hand-make each game to order, often from reclaimed wood. Not only are the games fun, but they are great coffee table conversation starters.

I love the artwork of Heather Mattingly of Nola Salvage. From New Orleans, she uses reclaimed debris from hurricane Katrina to fashion upcycled wall art. I also love the original wall art from Cody Brooks at Barbed Wire.

Finally, my wife cannot stop looking at the beautiful jewelry, accessories and wearable art from Unearthed and Le Enchantement.

Q: Thank you for answering my questions, Matt. And thank you for allowing me to be a part of 1000markets. I think you've solved the big question about holiday gifts for me this season. Gracias!

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

FormFire Glassworks November 10, 2008 at 8:25 am

1000 Markets is a wonderful site with a superb group of administrators! As a small business owner, I'm pleased with the quality, style and service!

Kitt November 10, 2008 at 8:33 am

Interesting! So it's not all about food products. How does it differ from Etsy?

Definitely will check it out. I'm all for supporting small producers.

Cathy November 10, 2008 at 9:03 am

It differs from etsy in that it's juried! This is a great marketplace for only artisan made items.

Antiquity Game Crafters has an amazing unique shop! One of my favorites, too!

FoodieInDisguise November 10, 2008 at 9:28 am

Matt, congrats on your new opportunity! The site looks awesome and I can't wait to see al the vendors in detail!

Ummm….I think I have to buy the Hazelnut Chocolate Whisky Sandwich Cookies!

Lavender Cottage November 10, 2008 at 10:48 am

Thanks for your wonderful article about 1000 Markets. I am thrilled to see that others are as excited as I am about this innovative and beautiful place designed with the small artisan in mind. Although I am now a jewelry artist, as an ex-innkeeper and chef, I also love the great artisan food market there – I'm about to start cooking again!

Carol November 10, 2008 at 11:00 am

Wonderful and informative post about 1000 Markets. I thoroughly enjoyed browsing this new site and look forward to shopping there.

waterrose November 10, 2008 at 12:12 pm

What a wonderful article focusing on such an innovative artisan community. I was excited to see the quality of products and wonderful food items. I was also happy to find your blog…I'll be back to read more.

GlassMenagerie1 November 10, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Thanks for such a great article. It has been so much fun being in on the ground floor of such an amazing site.

Izis November 10, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Anyone will be amazed at what a fine site 1000 Markets is! I believe it's the first of its kind and is a groundbreaking "event". I am honored and feel privileged to be a part of it. Imagine buying gourmet marshmallows, a childs pinafore and a pair of pearl earrings all in one site. A buyers delight for sure! Congratulations Matt and all your crew.

Eleonora November 10, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Your blog is super. So are your photographies. They make me hungry. I have spent a nice moment when seeing them. Thanks a lot.

Kirsten November 10, 2008 at 3:31 pm

1000 Markets is a beautiful site, and I had to join up as soon as I saw it! Thank you for the great informative interview with Matt, it was a nice read.

kristina November 10, 2008 at 5:20 pm

I just made my first purchase on 1000MArkets – Amazon Payments was SO easy, and I can't wait for my unique item to arrive!

I am now officially addicted to buying unique items on-line.

As an artist, I love the opportunity to share my art with a huge audience.

Thanks 1000markets!

elena mary siff November 10, 2008 at 5:33 pm

A wonderful article about an elegant new site ..do come and visit all the emerging marketplaces!

Melana November 10, 2008 at 6:11 pm

What a wonderful article and interview! 1,000 Markets is like a trip to a very diverse and unique market. So many things to see, sense and appreciate. It is just as exciting for the merchants there as it is for shoppers….purchase from an independent Crafter or Artist and you purchase HEART!

Four Tails Lampwork November 13, 2008 at 11:14 am

Let me second (third,fourth) the kudos for this site. As a small independent crafter, this site best matches my dream wish-list for an online marketing site. Here's a hearty thank you to the creators and those who are getting the word out!

Leanne November 14, 2008 at 7:37 am

Great article and wonderful site. Heard about it via 1000 Markets and I'm sure I'll be returning often.

thebeadedlily November 16, 2008 at 9:08 am

I too love the 'transfer of delight'! And 1000 Markets is just a visually fabulous site! I'm excited about the fact that artists must be juried in and the high quality of the work there!

Marie Carter November 17, 2008 at 4:56 am

What a fantastic article. I am honored to be a part of such a great community – right at the start!

Julie Shiel November 17, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Wonderful article! I'm so happy to be part of 1000 Markets. It's a stunning site full of top quality artists!

Lauren, The ChainMaille Lady November 17, 2008 at 1:44 pm

I have joined the wonderful artisans at 1000 Markets and love it! I love the help and support you get from the staff. My shop is http://www.thechainmaillelady.1000markets.com

Beth Millner November 18, 2008 at 4:53 pm

I have also joined the team at 1000markets! I love how user friendly and fast the site is!

julie @ solidio November 23, 2008 at 5:42 pm

It’s great to have someplace to sell that is “juried” – it really raises the bar of excellence. I am honored to be a part of this wonderful new market!

anandi November 27, 2008 at 11:43 am

I am another gushing fangirl at 1000Markets. It’s got such an awesome, welcoming look and feel and the sense of community is amazing.

Judy Evans November 27, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Great article, thanks for sharing. As a newbie at 1000 Markets I’m impressed with the administrative support. This is truly the place for great products made by creative artisans. Please visit my shop http://www.judyevanscollection.1000markets.com

Cory December 15, 2008 at 5:26 am

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to learn more about Matt! My favorite part of 1000 Markets is the build-in blog. I also like that you are comitted to keeping a high standard for the aesthetic presentation of the shops.

Kathy December 15, 2008 at 8:46 am

Great interview. I enjoyed learning more about how 1000markets came into being. I’m glad to be part of it!

Debora December 15, 2008 at 11:30 am

What a great article! When I discovered 1000 markets I knew immediately that I wanted to set up shop here. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to take part in the “transfer of delight” between me and my customers.

Adobe Sol Designs December 15, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I have also joined the crew at 1000markets. It is a wonderful site and I am thrilled to be there!

sandcastlejewels December 16, 2008 at 8:44 am

I love the statement about the “Transfer of Delight”. That really sums up the way I feel about selling my creations. Thanks so much Matt…and Matt!

Delight Worthyn December 16, 2008 at 11:37 am

There are many talented people with shops on 1000M .I would like to say that it has been a welcoming and nurturing experience for me.Thanks for the article.

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