Creating a new environment for Inland Northwest small business owners to share their talent and artistry within the Spokane community, Jessie Veselka, owner of BeYOUtiful Bath Bombs and More, recently kickstarted BeYOUtiful Local Market in NorthTown Mall. The market aims to transform the mall into a local atmosphere.
Veselka and her store have been a part of the NorthTown Mall community for four years now. When her youngest brother was diagnosed with cancer, Veselka and her family began to consider the ingredients of skin care products that they used on a day-to-day basis.
Originating in her home kitchen, BeYOUtiful Bath Bombs and More has a mission of creating high quality and healthy bath and body products, that customers of every income level can purchase.
After four years in the NorthTown Mall community, Veselka said that the NorthTown Mall has changed dramatically.
“We’ve seen it really full, and we’ve seen it now, where Macy’s is closing,” Veselka said. “So, we kind of have this mindset that we’re not like the status quo.”
Starting a market within NorthTown Mall has been a running idea for years now, Veselka said. The foundation of her bath and body business began at local Spokane craft shows and she said it only felt right to give back to the community of small businesses owners.
“We started at the markets, that’s where business started,” Veselka said. “It’s like going back to the roots and remembering all the super cool people that you meet and all the great artistry that comes along with the market.”
Currently the market features roughly 16 small businesses, ranging from crafters to gourmet peanut brittle and homemade chips and salsa. Some businesses participate weekly, while others join every other weekend or once a month. As the spring and summer seasons commence, BeYOUtiful Local Market hopes to welcome local farmers to the market.
“It gives people the incentive to come back and check it out every single weekend,” Veselka said.
Todd Robinson, who co-owns Robinson Soft Brittle with his wife Pamela Robinson, said that when COVID-19 hit, event cancellations led to a difficult pivot in business.
“Going to these big events, of course, you can make a month income and have a good weekend,” Todd said. “When all our events canceled, we thought: ‘Well, okay, now how are we going to survive?’”
Todd said he is pleasantly surprised by the number of community members who come to BeYOUtiful Local market specifically to support local small businesses. He said that even he and Pamela have made the effort to reorient some of their own shopping to support local businesses at markets.
“It’s an area where, even for us, even during the midst of a difficult time, we’re still able to turn that around and help others in the community as well,” Todd said.
Lesly Birkland, owner of Birkland Boutique is another BeYOUtiful Local Market participant.
“My experience has been phenomenal,” Birkland said.
For Birkland, interacting with clientele in person has helped her test out new jewelry pieces, clothing and gifts to determine which items to include within her online collection. She said that participating in BeYOUtiful Local Market has been a huge learning experience as a business owner.
“I’m starting to know more about my clientele, who they are, what they think, what they like to wear and what’s comfortable for them,” Birkland said.
Birkland has also noticed ways the new market has uplifted both the small business and the supporting Spokane community.
“It almost makes people feel like it’s normal again,” Birkland said. “I’ve been able to see all of us vendors out there and conversing and the energy that flows through it is really exciting.”
Most importantly, BeYOUtiful Local Market provides Spokane a new place of community, for both business owners and community members to support one another at one of the most difficult times.
BeYOUtiful Local Market is held every Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the second floor of the NorthTown Mall.
For more information follow BeYOUtiful Local Market on Instagram: @spokanesbeyoutifullocalmarket.