Kathimerini recently paid a visit to the 50th Meet Market event, which took place in early July at the Technopolis cultural complex in Gazi, where we met up with some of the participants at what has become something of an institution in the capital since the first edition in 2008.
Christos Amariadis told us that he opened his store, which sells wooden eyeglass frames, on February 1 of this year. Though the 25-year-old designer lives in Kilkis, Central Macedonia, he said that he “spends half of every month traveling to other cities and showcasing my designs.”
At a nearby stand, Joe Petropoulos, 28, displays vintage clothes inherited from his grandfather’s store, which opened in Korydallos in 1958. Petropoulos personally selects each and every item before posting photos and descriptions on the Meet Market website.
Next we meet 34-year-old Mariangela from Argentina. She’s showcasing products made of cork from the company she and her Greek husband, Constantine Galanis, started.
The reason for Meet Market’s success is that it represents the future of young, creative entrepreneurism. The organization’s participants, mostly people with online stores, have a chance to physically present their products, and meet not only potential customers, but also competition. The events also benefit buyers, as the prices are lower than at conventional stores.
“The Meet Market is a meeting point of local products, fresh ideas and friendly participants. It’s an audiovisual puzzle of handmade clothes from independent designers, accessories, art, organic hygiene products, household objects, tasty treats, collectable vintage and retro products, vinyl, interactive toys and gifts. Creativity and originality are key characteristics of the Meet Market,” the event’s director-coordinator, Alison Damianou, told Kathimerini.
And of course, each Meet Market event is turned into a party, complete with a DJ and plenty of fun games.
“I used to live in San Francisco, where I started my own jewelry-making company. I didn’t have my own store, so I sold my jewelry at markets. When I came to Athens, I looked for something similar, but I couldn’t find any, so I decided to start my own markets. However, in Athens we didn’t want the event to revolve around one single theme, which is why we added the word ‘meet,’” Damianou explained.
The participation fee for entrepreneurs ranges from 70 to 120 euros, depending on where the Meet Market takes place. Before each event, participants visit the venues in order to decide where and how they will set up their stands.
“The Meet Market brings together creative people, each with different and fresh ideas, and the public appreciates this notion of freshness,” Mariangela said.
“For me, these Meet Markets were the best thing to happen to me and my company,” added Amariadis.