Fashion business owners launch Canada-wide online market

Monday Night Market:Wissink in her studio room over Instagram FaceTime in Edmonton on Thursday, January 14, 2021. Wissink’s studio room is where she cleans, fixes, photographs and stocks the clothing she sells for Monday Night Market.

Caitlin Varrin and Danielle Annicchiarico, owners of Lawless Vintage, launched an online market that has expanded from the East to West coast, with their Edmonton neighbour Rylea Coyote Vintage.

Monday Night Market (MNM) is hosted through Instagram stories and gives vintage lovers the possibility to shop on Monday nights from 6-8 p.m.

Varrin says that the online market was created to connect the vintage and thrift community during these trying times.

“We wanted to find an outlet to not only continue sharing and selling our wares, but to connect with our fellow small businesses.”

“Using our platform to boost other small businesses felt like the best way to move forward,” says Varrin.

Rylea Wissink, co-host of MNM and owner of Rylea Coyote Vintage, says the two businesses would normally host pop-up shops at Lumiere Rise, a space where racks full of signature clothing sit for a weekend while shoppers search for their desired articles.

However, the events became impossible due to the new public health guidelines released in November.

“The market started out of necessity during the pandemic. We created it to continue doing what we love,” says Wissink.

After their first MNM on Nov. 16, they decided to offer other vendors an opportunity to join. With an immediate rise of interest, the market grew from two vendors to 15, and then to 27 by Jan. 11.

Not only has the market grown in Edmonton, but new chapters have opened across the country. Vancouver, Red Deer, Calgary and Nova Scotia now have hosts for MNM.

“Our goal in developing and building this event was to make it as low barrier as possible for vendors. There is no cost; you don’t need a website,” says Wissink.

Business owners are ecstatic to be a part of the inviting event, and shoppers share that enthusiasm, specifically about the price points of the product.

“The goal here is to never exploit or take advantages of the shoppers. What I found in the market is there is a more accessible price point for the vintage, because vendors aren’t having to pay percentages to any third parties.

“It’s just the vendor and the buyer,” says Wissink.

She explains that vintage and previously loved, as a sustainable concept, is mitigating waste from landfills. Accessibility is huge when promoting vintage and previously loved clothing to ensure the items are entering closets rather than the landfill.

The Edmonton-based market also holds a fundraiser on the last Monday of every month.

Wassink and Varrin choose a non-profit organization to donate a percentage of their sales to, while they invite other vendors to do so as well.

Using our platform to boost other small businesses felt like the best way to move forward. – Caitlin Varrin

“Last month we raised almost $1,000 to the Edmonton John Howard Society. The next organization is Edmonton’s Strathcona Youth Society,” says Wissink.

Wassink says that she was surprised how many vendors were open to donate a portion of their profits, and are happy that community still remains a priority in the market.

Wassink expresses what she loves most about the vintage community: “It is the willingness to collaborate with and support one another to ensure shoppers are able to find items they love.”