It was back in 2014 that sisters Kellie Dooley and Allison Gharst became the owners of San Diego’s Queen Bee Market with the intent to make it grow. Now as they prepare for the popular handmade market’s fall expo on Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6, at The Conference Center of Las Vegas, they are hands-on and creating a major buzz.
Described as “Etsy Comes to Life,” Queen Bee Market will be hosting more than 70 vendors who make their products by hand and display them from booths designed with flair. Dooley and Gharst hand-select the vendors who participate in each expo. Vendors will showcase and sell an array of handmade home décor, accessories, jewelry, clothing, paper arts, vintage items, natural skin care products and more. Averie Lane Boutique, Tiny Seamstress, Bare Naked Botanicals, and Marcella Taylor Design are just a few of the confirmed participants in the expo.
“Kellie and I started out as vendors in San Diego selling our homemade items,” says Ghast. “We made farmhouse-style home décor signs. But in 2014, the owners of the market were either going to sell it if they found the right owners or discontinue it. Their kids were getting older and they were ready to move on to something different, having done the market since 2010. Kellie and I were both teachers and were looking for flexibility in work hours and a creative outlet after starting our families. We purchased Queen Bee Market, wanting to expand it into different cities. Attendance is growing by 40 percent at each show.”
The fall expo is the 25th Queen Bee Market and the third one on Las Vegas. The sisters are in the process of expanding it to Seattle. What gives the show its uniqueness, according to Ghast, is that all the items are quality-made and that there are a limited number of a specific product type, i.e. jewelry, for example. The sisters check out each vendor thoroughly and make all decisions together.
Attendees can also expect live demonstrations, make-and-take stations, live music and may purchase tickets to workshops. There is always a workshop for people who want to make their own items. There is an hour to an hour-and-a-half workshop class and materials are provided. The market will also host local food trucks and beverage vendors on-site with items available for purchase.
Ahead of the expo, Queen Bee Market will also host a Craft Night, held at The Conference Center of Las Vegas from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 4. The Craft Night will feature food, drinks, giveaways, swag bags and three take-home crafts led by celebrity guest crafter Heidi Swapp.
As always, a portion of the proceeds from the two-day expo will be donated to a local non-profit organization. Queen Bee Market has partnered with Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada to donate that assistance to Street Teens of Las Vegas. Attendees to the market who donate an item or who make a monetary donation will receive one dollar off the $5 admission fee. Queen Bee Market has made charitable donations to Operation Smile, Children of the Nations, Ronald McDonald House of Southern California, The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and others through its events.
It’s a fun happening to make a beeline for.