Meet San Clemente Resident and Founder of Mermade Market in Dana Point

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

San Clemente resident Elise Capener turned her love for bazaars into a lifestyle by creating Mermade Market, a semiannual, three-day craft fair in Dana Point.

What is Mermade?

Mermade is a community. It takes place in the Community House (the Dana Point Woman’s Club House). It’s unique in the sense that the combination of people and products is not what you would find at normal craft fairs.

What does the market offer?

On the outside of the market, we have vendors, artists, and makers that change over the course of three days. In the past, there have been food trucks, balloon animals, kids yoga, and painting. On the inside, we have the products of select makers on display. You can find items like handmade jewelry, towels, pottery, and various skin-care products.

What was your inspiration in creating Mermade?

While I was attending school in Salt Lake City, I discovered the community was full of makers, and I went to the markets all the time. After I moved back to California with my husband, I decided to look for some (markets) near us. I was expecting markets similar to those in Salt Lake City but found they were really cheesy, and the products were so similar to each other. That’s why I created Mermade. Since I was an avid market-goer, I knew exactly what customers wanted: a nice, free space where you can browse different stalls with no haggling.

What is the most rewarding aspect?

When I see people out and about wearing stuff from Mermade or talking about it in conversation. And seeing shop makers connect through Mermade. When I notice them collaborate with each other after meeting at set-up or spending the day selling next to one another, it’s an amazing feeling.

Check it out!
The next market is Nov. 14 through 16.

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