I went to the annual The Village Market ATL Summer Market with one of my best friends over two weeks ago, and I’m still on a bit of a high from it. Ninety-three businesses; 93 BLACK OWNED businesses, gathered in the same space?! It was incredible!
The Village Market ATL brings black people together to celebrate and circulate black dollars and be happy. In addition to the Summer Market, they have a quarterly gathering of mostly black owned businesses from across the country, selling all sorts of products and services AND FOOD (which is all vegan and plant-based, usually not my thing, but these are mostly delicious). Outside of the quarterly markets, The Village Market ATL supports the sustainability of socially conscious, community-minded startups and entrepreneurs through summits and master classes specifically crafted to support these small businesses and nonprofits. And they have an awesome tagline: Support Is a Verb.
The Summer Market was really a great experience. Although I think the space was a bit small to accommodate all the shops, all the shoppers, and all the lines, it was beautiful to see so many people there, smiling, shopping, supporting all 93 of those businesses. A voter registration booth was set up at the entrance, and gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams made an appearance. There was a DJ playing music and also live performances that I didn’t get to stay for (but the pictures look AMAZING). The entire experience cost $10 and lasts over 5 hours.
Because “support” is a verb (which is also kinda the whole point of Black Girl Buying), I did the best I could to support as many shops as possible. But the way my bank account is set up…well, I did my best. It was so hard to choose! There were so many good ones!
Shops I Supported (in no particular order):
Chef Levy: Chef Levy’s food was by far the best thing I tasted at The Village Market ATL. I had chicken-fried cauliflower street tacos, chili cheese nachos, and a shrimp banh mi. Let’s keep in mind that all of this was vegan and plant-based. I swear I was eating chicken, chili, cheese, and shrimp. It was so full of flavor, and I definitely need more of this in my life.
Vegan Village: I ordered the BBQ jackfruit sandwich, which had a good flavor, but a weird texture. I think I’m just not a fan of jackfruit, but if you are, then this is definitely what you want to check out.
Eighty7sweets: Never in my life did I think that I would eat, let alone enjoy, vegan ice cream. But I did, thanks to Eight7sweets. What I love is that one flavor pays homage to Wakanda and the rest a are named for Atlanta landmarks. I ate the Wakanda flavor, and it was cool and refreshing, and I’m excited to have more.
Free Birds Vegan Bakery: I tried a sample and was not prepared for how good this VEGAN cookie was. When I tell you it MELTED in my mouth?! Listen: it honestly tasted exactly how you would want any chocolate chip cookie to taste. I bought the caramel pecan chocolate chip, which had a slight coconut flavor, but was still very good.
Beddy Bye Books, Inc.: Beddy Bye Books is run by an amazing couple. She writes, he illustrates; or their daughter will write, which is even more amazing. The stories are light and make you feel good, with illustrations that are so perfect. There were a few different stories available, but I opted for “Three Bedtime Ditties”, which I’m super excited to give to my niece.
Kids Coloring Co.: One of the most creative concepts I’ve seen in a while, Kids Coloring Co. combines a coloring book, a recipe, and a bonding activity together. Your kids can color, learn to cook, and connect with an adult all at the same time. It’s genius! Plus, most of the books come with a tool to help, like a stirring spoon. Also super excited to give this to my niece.
Julia Davis: Julia Davis brought to life a beautiful series that encourages kids to love every part of them, including things that make them different. There’s a book about autism, having a wheelchair, having big dreams and more. I love that there is a company acknowledging and embracing all the different parts of the people in our community. I love even more that it is helping our kids feel acknowledged and embraced.
The Freedom Company: I’m so excited to expand my tee collection with this company (and if you don’t know how I feel about tees, click here). I will proudly rock this tee, proclaiming that I am “Mixed with Melanin and God”. I’m even more excited that it is in Spelman colors.
Cam Swank: I love bold colors and beautiful prints. If I can support my community and honor my heritage at the same time, I’m always here for it. Cam Swank makes gorgeous purses and accessories that allows me to incorporate all of that into my daily life. It look me a long time to figure out what I wanted (because I wanted so much), but I’m happy with my clutch that I can also use as a crossbody and will look fabulous on my next night out.
Elixir Candle Co.: This candle is one of the strongest I’ve ever had. After I lit it and let it burn for a little while, now, whenever the top is off, the scent fills the entire room, whether it is lit or not. The coconut mango papaya lime combination is heavenly and soothing.
With Meaning: This company creates teas that help with specific things like balance, detox, or waking up. I tried one at the market and felt a little healthier after it (I know it sounds crazy, but I did). I am excited to have this tea incorporated into my life.
Just Add Honey: This couple is amazing. I was instantly comfortable with them and they were super knowledgeable about their teas. And the tea is good! They were selling brewed hibiscus iced tea, which was delicious with a little simple syrup to sweeten (I have a bit of a sweet tooth), and all sorts of other teas. I bought the hibiscus and the vanilla chai. I am so excited to incorporate these into my self-care routine. That and the tea retreats the owner lead to help women slow down and really take care of themselves.
Overall, The Village Market ATL Summer Market was a great experience. I will continue to support these businesses between markets and am certainly going to catch the next market in November.