Mother-Daughter Duo Host Craft Fairs in Concordia

By Payton Tholstrup

Photo Courtesy of Erica Collins at Aspen and Ivy

Erica Collins and her daughter, Mariah Shrader, are the owners of Aspen and Ivy, a small business that started by creating personalized t-shirts. Now they make tumblers, earrings, and other sublimation accessories. The mother-daughter-duo aren’t just small business owners though; they have also brought craft fairs back to Concordia for the whole community to enjoy.

The pair attended their first craft fair in Delphos, KS, loving it so much that they began traveling to more. It wasn’t until later that they decided to start their own. “In December of 2022, we went to a craft fair in Clyde and some friends mentioned they wished we could do something like this in Concordia. I remembered when my kids were younger, they did have craft fairs here, but hadn’t in a very long time,” Collins said.

Inspired by the idea, Collins and Shrader jumped into action and reached out to the armory. Together, they ended up organizing a Christmas Craft Show in just one week. “We ended up with 30 vendors and over 500 shoppers. It was a great success and we enjoyed it and thought it was great for our community and small businesses.”

The experience was so much fun that they decided to start hosting two events per year: a Small Town Christmas Craft Fair in December and a Small Town Spring Craft Fair between late April and early May.

The upcoming spring craft fair is Saturday, May 11th, and will be the fourth fair they have hosted. 45 vendors will set up shop at 7:00 a.m. with shoppers beginning to arrive at 9:00 a.m. “We like to make it as easy as possible for the vendors and provide tables and chairs to all of them,” Collins said.

The first 30 shoppers will receive goody bags filled with free samples, discounts, business cards, and more. Collins and Shrader will have a busy day ahead of them. While they do sell their items at the fairs, their focus is checking on other vendors to see if they need a break or food. The event is such a success because of them, Collins explained, so they want to make sure they are taken care of. Victory Faith Church Ministries, a local church, sets up in the kitchen, providing breakfast and lunch as a fundraiser.

“We have always loved party planning and doing things together. Planning a craft fair is fun and exciting for us. We get to meet new people and engage with people in our community and the surrounding communities. Our vendors get to make connections with people they may have never had the opportunity to meet with,” Collins said.

Sign up for the KCLY Digital Newspaper, The Regional