Natives and longtime Bay Area residents are probably familiar with radio station KPFA (94.1 FM) and its annual craft fair fundraiser, which has been going since 1970.
"The craft fair has an extremely loyal following, and there are many artists who have been [participating] in this fair uninterrupted for 30-plus years," said Niamh Lyonhart, who is producing this year's fair.
But there'll be a slight change this year. The KPFA Crafts Fair is now known as The Craneway Craft Fair, after the fair's location at Richmond's Craneway Pavilion, a re-branding that comes as a result of a near-bankruptcy of KPFA's parent company.
"Pacifica [Foundation], the parent company of KPFA, was facing bankruptcy. The fair was an asset of KPFA and would've been seized in the process," Lyonhart said, noting Pacifica had avoided bankruptcy. "Jan Etre, who produced the fair for 30 years, made the decision to launch the fair on its own to ensure its survival."
So, beyond the name change, the fair you know and love will still feature more than 200 juried artists, makers, and exhibitors from around the Bay Area and beyond, including clothing designers Susan Eastman and Mira Blackman, ceramicist Eileen Goldberg, MGG studio with locally made jewelry, and Richmond confectioner The Xocolate Bar, among many, many others.
"The fair is part of the local economy. We use exclusively local businesses for all our contracts," Lyonhart said.
Additionally, the fair reserves space for a few nonprofits and among those featured this year is the Cross Cultural Family Center, which provides child care and education services to low-income areas of San Francisco.
Don't miss this uniquely Bay Area experience, which, Lyonhart said, "isn't your average gift show; it's so much more than that."
The 48th annual Craneway Craft Fair, formerly known as the KPFA Crafts Fair, takes place Dec. 22-23 at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Admission is $12 for ages 18-64, $8 for seniors and disabled visitors, free for youth. Tickets available at the door. www.CranewayCraftFair.com.
Every now and again, you'll see a person wearing a piece of jewelry that makes you stop them and ask, "Where did you get that?" Such is the case with Ade Dream, whose bib necklaces—and other wares—are highly recognizable and worthy of an excited gasp.
"We offer an accessories line inspired by the culture of West Africa," said Jennifer Downey Davis, co-owner of Ade Dream along with her husband and partner, Pierre Davis, in describing the business.
The Ade Dream inventory includes a colorful selection of bags, backpacks, head wraps, scarves, and the u-shaped bib necklaces formed out of layers of corded ropes made of colorful fabrics. These can be as thin as five strands or as thick as an impressive 25, for those who like to be bolder about their style.
Hailing from The Gambia, the Davises have always been taken by the bright and inspired colors of this highly recognizable West African style of fabric.
"The beautiful culture of Africa is obviously a huge influence for us. We love the juxtaposition of mixing traditional African fabrics with timeless designs," Jennifer Downey Davis said.
The business launched in 2014. All fabrics are sourced locally—an ocean away. "All our products are sourced from The Gambia and Senegal," Jennifer Downey Davis said.
The couple's family back home helps them to find the fabric and select what would be best for their customers. "We hand-pick unique fabrics that have a nod to traditional African prints," Jennifer Downey Davis said. "By having a hands-on approach to fabric selection, we can better ensure our fabric is truly purchased from local vendors in the markets in West Africa."
Ade Dream is a regular in the festival and pop-up circuit—you'd be hard pressed to miss the pop-up shop at events like Art & Soul and The Laurel Street Festival. "This year we have been maniacally focused on expanding our assortment and adding new items," Jennifer Downey Davis said. "We've added [more] bib necklaces and clutches in genuine leather, which have all been amazing sellers."
Prices vary depending on each item. Bib necklaces start at $20 and increase depending on the size of the necklace; handmade leather-and-mud-cloth clutches start around $50.
You can shop Ade Dream online at www.AdeDream.com. Follow Ade Dream on Instagram (@ade_dream), where the newest wares are often featured.
For almost 13 years, Sarah Dunbar, owner of Pretty Penny—which became a fixture in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood—steered the consignment boutique to be more than just a retail space. It became a community space, an inclusive space, offering unique merchandise for bodies of all shapes, sizes, and identities. But, as most storeowners know, life moves on, and Dunbar has closed the boutique's brick-and-mortar doors and moved Pretty Penny in a new direction online.
In 2006, Dunbar used funds from a student loan to open Pretty Penny, initially in Berkeley. Dunbar had just enrolled in San Francisco State University's health education program, and "worked other jobs for the first year and half" of Pretty Penny's existence.
The store continued to evolve in those years. As the diversity of the customers grew, Pretty Penny introduced an in-house "curated collection," featuring unique pieces made specifically for the store.
"We wanted to provide something for everyone. At times, people couldn't find their size in vintage [clothes]," Dunbar said, adding, "and had a hard time shipping without size- range options. These collections allowed people to blend vintage and contemporary fashion together."
Dunbar, who is a native of Bellingham, Wash., returned to her home two years ago, with her husband and daughter in tow (the family lost their Oakland housing and took the opportunity to buy an affordable place in her hometown), and is now taking Pretty Penny along for the ride. Those two years were challenging. Dunbar was shipping boxes to Oakland and flying in once a month to make sure everything was running smoothly—which worked well, until it didn't.
"It was time to either move back to Oakland and keep the shop open, or stay in Bellingham and rethink our business strategy," she said.
The store will now be an online-only storefront and is expanding to include apothecary collections as well as home and lifestyle goods in addition to the standard vintage and curated clothing. Dunbar has also started a podcast series, titled Pretty Podcast, which discusses "the ins-and-outs of small business and our experience with Pretty Penny." The podcast will be featured on the website. For the moment, Dunbar has no plans to open another brick-and-mortar.
"After 13 years of running a shop, I want to try something different. I have high hopes and expectations for the online shop," she said.
Parting is sweet sorrow. Dunbar said she will miss "seeing my customers in person; and neighbors and friends." The shop held a closing sale four days before officially shuttering.
"People were crying and heartbroken. The shop really became a community space where people felt welcomed," Dunbar said.
But social media make keeping in touch easy, and you can also get in touch with Dunbar via the shop's new website, www.PrettyPennyClothing.com. New arrivals will be added daily. You can also check out the blog podcast. Catch Dunbar and crew in person on Nov. 3 for the A Current Affair vintage show at Craneway Pavilion in Richmond.