A local small business owner will launch Kirkland’s first women’s vendor show on March 30, providing smaller vendors with a chance to exhibit without competing with established vendors and corporations.
The inaugural Kirkland Women’s Show will take place at Kamiakin Middle School and host 27 local vendors. Kristina Perdue, who organized the show, and her fellow vendors will feature numerous products from cosmetics and jewelry to honey and original artwork.
Perdue, a vendor for cosmetic distributor SeneGence International, had been traveling miles outside the Eastside to set up shop at the nearest vendors show. Eventually, she decided to create her own show in favor of competing for a spot that was sometimes hours away.
“I’m really excited [to] meet other vendors from the area… There weren’t any vendor shows in the area, there weren’t any on the Eastside,” Perdue said. “The biggest problem I found was the cost to run a show.”
Originally, the show was scheduled to open in February, but “Snowmageddon” delayed the event until late March.
This is the largest event Perdue has organized and she built the show up from scratch on her own. After looking at various expensive venues in September of 2018, she settled on Kamiakin Middle School because she had seen other bazaars and shows within other school districts.
“When I started this, I honestly didn’t think I can do it,” Perdue said. “It was exciting in the sense that I accomplished something I didn’t know how to do. The turning point for me was when I signed the paperwork for Kamiakin Middle School.”
Once the venue was booked, Perdue began pursuing vendors to exhibit at her show. She said the demand was evident as she found a wide support for the show as soon as she posted about it online.
“My phone started blowing up immediately,” Perdue said.
Tami Donnelly, owner of Freebird Studios alongside her daughter, has been running her studio since 2013. She is excited for the show because of the opportunity for small businesses to get their name out and meet locals.
“I’m excited to show my works and to get people to come out and support small businesses,” Donnelly said. “I think it’s important that Kristina put this together, because it helps us all out, the vendors and the buyers. I hope this show is very successful and it becomes a regular event that people will look forward to.”
Kathy Dorosz, owner of Drizzle D’s Hot and Spicy Honey, started the business in 2016 and typically sells at events all across Washington, including Pierce County, Thurston County, Kitsap County and Lewis County. She said she is excited for the Kirkland show as an opportunity to share her product with Eastsiders who haven’t had a nearby vendor show.
“Events are a great way for attendees to support women-owned small businesses who are passionate about what they are selling,” Dorosz said. “Nothing brings me more joy than repeat customers following me around to my events to re-stock their Drizzle D’s. I’m so excited to be able to share my product with those who live on the Eastside.”
The Kirkland Women’s Show may continue in the future, but it will depend on how well-attended this first event is. Perdue said she hopes to see about 150 people come and see her and the other vendors.
Currently, Perdue is printing posters and posting fliers around Kirkland in an effort to build up excitement once again for the Kirkland Women’s Show later this month.
“[Running] a small business is challenging, especially to have it take off,” Perdue said. “Because bigger corporate companies are more well known, people are going to more often go with what they know. [This show] also provides opportunities for vendors to interact with people, learn from their mistakes and be better at bigger shows.”