THE FOUNDERS OF EPCF: Beatrice Valenzuela and Rachel Craven
Founded at the cusp of what is now a global trend toward the support of the handcrafted and locally sourced, The Echo Park Craft Fair has evolved, over nearly a decade, from a backyard pop-up, to a vast community gathering. Seven years after its inception, the Fair draws influencers and tastemakers, as well as national and international retail buyers, magazine editors and stylists –all of whom flock to the market to source products, ignite ideas and fuel creative inspiration.
“We have multiplied in numbers,” explains Co-Founder Beatrice Valenzuela. “When we started there was about a dozen of us. Now there are over 100 vendors and thousands of people coming through our doors. But what has remained is the focus on creating a place for our community to come together and ensuring the integrity and authenticity of the products being sold. The result is an experience that is absolutely incomparable.”
It is exactly this inclusiveness and eye for quality and detail that have resulted in enthusiastic press from publications such as The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, The LA Times and many more. What sets the Echo Park Craft Fair apart from other markets of its kind is that this is an event not merely showcasing and celebrating artists, but curated and founded by artists as well.
Both Valenzuela and co-founder Rachel Craven are successful designers with established namesake lines. Together, they have spearheaded and nurtured what has now become both an evolving e-commerce business and a one-of-a-kind communal gathering.
BV: You feel the camaraderie between artists and their supporters. It’s really a wonderful exchange. People want to know the artist that is actually making the objects they buy. At the Fair, they have an opportunity to meet the artists they support, establishing relationships that have ultimately grown through the years.
RC: Yet the original spirit stays exactly the same. We collaborate with people whom we admire and who inspire us. It is also important that we empower each other and in that way, help foster a community with a force and energy larger than just the sum of its parts. People are inspired by the Fair in the same way that we are inspired by each other. It’s people showing their commitment to beauty and design. And in doing so, sharing in a form of art that’s literally and figuratively within grasp, art which you can touch, wear, own. What’s unique about our fair, is frankly – us and all the people we do the fair with, many of whom have been with us since the beginning. We bring our whole beings to it. And that’s what makes it stand apart.
Much more than a thriving market and collective showcase, the Echo Park Craft Fair has evolved into a movement in and of itself – a community that continues to celebrate and elevate, innovate and inspire.