“It is a collaborative way of selling,” Aukupi founder Virginia Quon said.
While studying marketing in university, Quon came up with the idea to support local entrepreneurs by offering a permanent place for them to easily sell their goods.
Quon developed the idea for seven years and based it on micro markets in Vancouver and Toronto.
Likening the economics of Aukupi to a lemonade stand, Quon said it is designed to “take business back to the basics.”
The compartments come in different sizes to meet the various needs of the vendors.
As Calgary responds to drastic changes in the workforce, the store can be the perfect partner for individuals seeking income from their hobbies, Quon said
“It’s a good starting point for people who just want to go sell something and not think about it,” she said.
“Now that the economy is bad, it amplifies their opportunity.”
Calgary shoppers have demonstrated their desire for locally sourced and custom-made products, Quon said. Events such as Market Collective have soared in popularity, but the cost for vendors to participate has also risen.
Quon wants Aukupi to reduce the barriers between vendors and Calgarians. Aukupi features primarily Canadian products, all from local vendors, which has proven to be difficult.
“Reaching out to vendors is not impossibly hard, but it is still challenging,” she said.
Quon works to facilitate the sales, but she tries not to decide what vendors can contribute.
“The public is actually filtering and curating the store,” said Quon, who plans on setting sales targets for vendors once all the compartments are occupied.
Quon is looking for expos and festivals as an additional venue to showcase the store’s goods.
The staff at ARCHEloft said Aukupi works well in the space, which has workspaces for artists and designers.
Maria Elena Hoover, manager of ARCHEloft, said Aukupi provides an easy way for vendors to put their products on the market “without actually selling.”
It is a collaborative way of selling. – Virginia Quon
As more ARCHEloft members connect with Quon’s team, Hoover expects more vendors to partner with Aukupi.
“Aukupi is a great complement for us,” she said.
ARCHEloft and Aukupi are located at 200-1209 1 Street S.W.