Phoenix-based Cultivo Mercado is hosting it's first event in Tucson this weekend showcasing Latinx makers and business owners from both cities. 

Just in time to get an early start on holiday shopping, or let's be honest some treat-yourself shopping, a Phoenix-based market showcasing Latinx makers and creatives is coming to Tucson for a pop-up event this weekend — Saturday, Oct. 17. 

Cultivo Mercado Colectivo, is bringing together a mix of 28 vendors from both Phoenix and Tucson who make, create and sell everything from accessories, clothing, shoes, art, jewelry, candles, home decor and food — largely inspired by their culture. 

Tucson vendors include Velitas, Senorita MAD and West Boutique which we profiled in this list. Phoenix vendors include Salvadoran food from Bibi's Latin Kitchen, stickers, stationery and gifts from Metzca and handmade accessories from Bonita BTQ.

The market, organized by Jorge Mejia, launched in Phoenix in early March right before the pandemic shut down large gatherings and events. Mejia works in insurance, but has also run the blog PhxKnows since 2012, highlighting Phoenix's Latinx-owned restaurants and businesses. 

"The reason I started my food blog is because there wasn't enough representation, there wasn't a foodie person that's Latino talking about food," he says. "I wanted to showcase people that were doing great things, that were mostly Latinos, especially with the political climate really taking down our character, what we do and what we contribute. I wanted to say... 'we contribute, we really work hard, we do our best at succeeding with what we have' and I think having that platform really shows people that we are working hard, we're contributing, we're doing all these great things that people normally don't know about." 

The idea for Cultivo was born from his work on the blog and learning about and building a network of Latinx entrepreneurs.

He noticed that Latinx makers and artists, especially those who are just starting out and who typically rely on making sales through social media or online didn't have many options to sell their items in person and were not well represented at other markets. 

"I heard there was a need for things like this, there was a need for spaces just in general somewhere they could really share this stuff because they don't always get an opportunity somewhere else," he says. 

Since May, Mejia has been organizing Cultivo pop-ups twice a month in a couple different locations in the Phoenix area. 

The Tucson market is happening in the parking lot of Boss Women Unite, which helps women start and grow their small businesses and build community with other entrepreneurs.

Boss Women Unite owner Tiffany Nakatani says she shares Mejia's vision for supporting makers and microbusinesses and she began offering the Boss Women Unite space for pop-up rentals and mini-markets in July to provide a space for those who lost out on a lot of opportunities and income during spring and summer when markets were canceled due to the pandemic. 

"It's a great opportunity to continue in business, to continue to get their products out there and it's also a great way to have the community also support them in return," she says. 

Mejia says he's excited to bring the event to Tucson for the first of what he hopes leads to more pop-ups in the future. 

"The thing about Cultivo is we're strong together and I want the community to come together and support each other," he says. "It's about community, it's about sharing culture and it's about empowerment, those are the things we bring to the community and that's what I would like to share in Tucson," he says. 

If you go

What: Cultivo Mercado Colectivo

When: Saturday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

More info: This is event is outdoors, with one vendor set up indoors. Masks are required for all guests. Find more information and a list of vendors on Cultivo's website

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