Indeed, it was her favorite pair of broken earrings that made Alison Damianou, founder of the Meet Market, go to a jewelry supply shop to find the parts she needed to fix them. It was this trip to the jewelry supply shop that inspired her to buy many bits and pieces that caught her eye and start experimenting with jewelry design. It was this experimentation process that revealed Alison’s untapped talent for jewelry making, and pushed her to open her own jewelry business. It was this jewelry business that led her to explore ways to sell her creations and introduced her to vending at artisan markets in San Francisco and London, where she was then living. It was this experience of selling at artisan markets that inspirited Alison to start The Meet Market, after having moved back home to Greece in 2006 where she realized that there was so much creativity and talent around her, so many small businesses making beautiful designs and a range of products, and yet no contemporary market in Athens to embrace all of these wonderful makers.
The very first Meet Market was a teeny tiny Christmas bazaar that took place back in 2007 on the second floor of K44 in Gazi, a super hip little bar that no longer exists, but we are eternally grateful to. There were 20 vendors selling a nice eclectic mix of merchandise and a cool roster of djs to keep the atmosphere fun and festive. Perhaps because something like this was missing from Athens, perhaps because it was the right time and place, but whatever the reasons, that first Meet Market was poppin’ and loads of people came and shopped and drank and mingled and started asking where and when the next one would be. Seeing that there interest for more Meet Markets, Alison got to work and started organizing the next one, which has 25 vendors. The next one had 30, and the next one 35 and slowly but surely, the family of makers and visitors began to grow by word of mouth.
Nearly 16 years and 130 events later, the Meet Market has evolved into one of the largest creative festivals in Greece, with a family of over 400 rotating designers and producers, thousands of visitors and an expanding infrastructure dedicated to celebrating and supporting the entrepreneurial spirit. And this we will continue to do through our regular nomadic events and now virtually too, through our new e-shop.
As we continued to grow and evolve, it seemed only natural to also create an online platform. Just like a live Meet Market, each maker can open up their own individual store front and sell direct to their audience. Our e-shop operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is a curated selection of some of the finest hand-made products currently coming out of Greece. In the Covid Era that we are currently living in, it is more important than ever to support small scale, local businesses and keep these creative initiatives alive and kicking. Our new e-shop seeks to do exactly that and further more, share the abundance of Greek creativity & innovation with the whole wide world.
This is the essence of what defines The Meet Market and what makes us different. For us, it's not just about shopping - it's about interacting with and feeling part of a vibrant community. It's about celebrating the abundance of Greek creativity from local designers, artists, producers and collectors. It's about meeting these makers directly and learning how and why their products are made. Its about discovering new venues & neighbourhoods and coming together with friends for a weekend wander. It’s about the non-stop dj sets and eclectic ranges of musical moods from our DJs. Its about the spirit of giving and the parts of the Meet Market you can enjoy without a penny in your pocket; like picking up a present from the central cash point be it a poster or a pin; or the grand prize raffle where 3 lucky winners take home a huge basket full of goodies from the makers; or the many free parallel activities we offer for kids while mommy & daddy have a cocktail in peace. It's about living local and loving it. It's about feeling connected to what we consume. Its about supporting the local economy and keeping the money we spend circulating within it, providing local employment and strengthening self sufficiency. Its about appreciating what we have and what we are capable of independently without global franchizes and mega brands. Its about nurturing the little guys and small scale businesses who make Greece’s culture so diverse and authentic and distinct so they may continue to survive, and better yet thrive.
various venues in Athens (and beyond), highlighting their unique charm.
all ages and types of people to join us in a colorful, musical and family friendly environment.
local creativity & entrepreneurship.
a contemporary design market in Athens and an artisan virtual marketplace for the world
small scale, independent businesses by providing an interactive platform for presenting & selling their products while bringing them in direct contact with the consumer.
ideas, feedback, skills, knowledge, stories, tips, tricks and tangible goods.
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