Momentum Digital is back with another episode of Small Business Saturday, where we highlight a deserving company in the greater Philadelphia area. This Saturday we bring to you a special, holiday edition focused around the annual Christmas Village tradition in Dilworth Park, located under the shadow of City Hall. We met with three companies: La Vie Boheme, Chef Ido’s Sauces, and Amazing Light. Each of these companies offers unique products ranging from healing remedies to children’s arts and crafts.
The original Christmas markets that our current version is modeled after, began in the late Middle Ages. Farmers from the city of Nuremberg in the state of Bavaria, Germany began by selling the last of their crops and in open area before settling in for the the cold, dark winter. This event evolved into what is now the world-renowned Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, where vendors from all over the world come to share in the festive atmosphere.
Philadelphians with German roots wanted to bring a similar experience to our city, so they began a branch of this great tradition a few decades ago. It is now one of Philadelphia’s most anticipated holiday events, attracting businesses from all over the east coast to come and display their goods in 1 of the 80 wooden booths setup by the organizers.
La Vie Bohème
An enticing fragrance lead us to our first stop, La Vie Bohème. An artisanal conglomerate comprised of three individual companies, La Vie Bohème is a play on a French phrase that was made popular by the musical Rent.
Samantha, with whom we conducted the majority of the interview, is the founder of MASscarves. While working as a costume designer in 2013, Sam noticed a problem with the amount of waste produced by the fashion industry. She then began thinking of a way to consolidate some of the materials into a functional, yet fashionable piece. Sam simply attached a faux fur hood to a scarf, and viola, MASscarves was born. Soon the custom orders began pouring in. Shop her inventory here, or visit her on Facebook and/or Instagram.
AC Stauble is the second member of the trio, although you may know her as the Traveling Herb Farmer. AC tours the country in her retro school bus, The Butter Bus, brining her all-natural herbal remedies with her. She has variety of products that are meant to soothe and heal your aches and pains. Whether it is something as simple filling your room with the wonderful aroma of a crisp woodland morning, or a rosemary bath salve aimed at promoting healthy skin, it can be found in AC’s repertoire. Check her out on Facebook and Instagram.
Last but not least is Katherine Cooper Sliclen, founder of Stone Cooper, which specializes in handcrafted Bohemian adornments. Created with a conscience and appreciation for quality, Stone Cooper strives to provide distinctive, wearable pieces that tell a story and make you feel your best. Inspired by nature and beauty in the unexpected, it is a collection of meaningful jewels including original designs in silversmithing, casting, beadwork, metal-stamping, wirework, and repurposing. Check out her inventory here, or visit her on Facebook and/or Instagram.
Chef Ido’s Finishing Sauces & Jalma Farms
The second stop on our Christmas Village tour was at an interesting booth once again combing two businesses. The gentleman that was manning the booth was John, a representative of Chef Ido Shapira. Chef Ido has been trained in classic Italian cooking, but found a calling when his Chipotle Pepper Finishing Sauce became a huge hit at the restaurant in which he was Head Chef. Soon after, he enlisted the help of John (his pastry chef at the time) and a few others to start his own company. Now his sauces are wildly popular along the east coast, so much so that they almost ran out of their supply before the Christmas Village came to an end! Check out all of his varieties here, as well as some recipes and suggestions from Chef Ido.
Sharing a booth with the Chef Ido crew was Jalma Farms, a family-owned business that has roots dating back to the 1600’s!! Located in Cap May County in Southern New Jersey, Jalma Farms specializes in growing Beach Plums and Aronia Berries, two fruits that you might not see in your everyday supermarket. Their jams and syrups are made with all-naturally ingredients, meaning fresh fruit and pure cane sugar. In fact, their products contain about half the sugars as typical store bought brands, while still maintaining that delicious taste. Definitely check them out here to see a full list of their products and where they will be popping up next! Also follow on Facebook and Instagram.
Last but certainly not least we found our way to the booth of Wahid Hamidi and his Amazing Lights. These wonderful and festive lanterns come in a small package and are very easy to put together. They are customizable, so it is likely that no two lanterns are alike. They are perfect for young children or adults that are looking for a way to add a remarkable and dynamic light fixture to their home.
We certainly enjoyed bringing you this first hand look into a few of the many unique businesses that make up the community that is the Philadelphia Christmas Village. Although the current season is drawing to a close, we hope that this will inspire you to visit in 2018 to see even more wonderful and creative small businesses.
Until next Saturday!