Angel Guerra and Angela Dione
Co-founders, Market Collective
Micro Business Award, WEST
What began as a vision to promote local arts and culture in 2008 has now evolved into a platform that engages, empowers, and creates opportunities for the creative community in Alberta. Market Collective has gained momentum as an inclusive collective that showcases the work and creations of thousands of local artists, artisans, designers, musicians and food vendors. Co-founded by Angel Guerra and Angela Dione, Market Collective encourages local purchasing and a consciousness towards the local economy. Market Collective offers off-site workshops that educate the community and provide an additional outlet for the artist, encouraging artists to stay and grow an Alberta-born brand, developing a cultural identity that is unique to anywhere else in Canada.
What do you wish you knew at the beginning?
Angel – Market Collective was founded on passion, a desire to positively affect the community, and a dream. I wouldn’t change any of this, however, looking back I wish that I had more knowledge of bookkeeping and accounting when we were first beginning the business. It was something that we learned through trial and error. When I give advice to young entrepreneurs, I always tell them to be vigilant with their bookkeeping from the very beginning.
Angela – There have been many lessons I have learned along the way, but at the beginning, I wish I fully understood the importance of keeping the stressful side of business out of your home. It is easy to get caught up in the incredible workload and sacrifice, and you can lose sight of the people around you. I have learned to set boundaries and always strive to maintain a balance of work and relationships. These were invaluable lessons for my life, and I carry them with me always.
What made you decide to launch your business?
Angel – When we began Market Collective, I honestly didn’t know that I was launching a business. It was an idea that I wanted to see brought to life, but in the early stages of MC, I didn’t realize how far we would be able to take it. Now, almost a decade later I would consider myself an entrepreneur and a business owner, but at the launch of MC I was simply a wide-eyed lady following my heart and desire to see my community connecting through the arts.
Angela – At the beginning of Market Collective, I had just returned from Italy where I was training to become a shoemaker. I had a small studio, and was selling some work in stores that kept 50% or more of my commission. It just wasn’t a sustainable model for an emerging creative. I saw the need for artists to have a vibrant space to sell their work and keep 100% of their commission and sales. To me, it was a way to create opportunity and sustainability for the creative community. It was important for me to become a resource to help other artists and makers succeed.