To tell the story of The Wynwood Shop is to tell the story of every artist and maker who has managed to thrive through Miami’s changing tides. It’s a beam of hope for every small business owner who has been burned by how difficult it is to survive in this city either alone or as a collective. And their story is filled with hope, the luck of having a loyal tight-knight community, and understanding the neighborhood in which they’ve built their home. In anticipation of Small Business Saturday on November 24th and The Wynwood Shop’s planned festivities, we wanted to take the time to help you get to know the market concept a little better and why it’s so important to shop small.

It all began in 2010 when a local group of independent artists and local brands banded together and created a market of South Florida-made goods. A earth-shatteringly new concept for the city. In the peak of the Art Walk era, the market drew thousands of locals on their way to and from galleries, stopping to revel in the beauty of handmade goods. The market became so successful that a group of the tight-knit artists got together and moved their operations into a physical shop once the opportunity presented itself. Thus, The Wynwood Shop was born.

For artisanal craftsmen and women, having a physical space with air conditioning open seven days a way is a godsend. Especially in a city with such shoddy weather like Miami. “Our main goal since conception is to represent, support and promote the best local artists Wynwood has to offer” said Owner, Diana Gonzalez. Their inspiration was to create a home for artists and makers, with a deep focus on the surrounding arts district. “We wanted to complement what Wynwood was known as nearly a decade ago and fuse it together with a unique shopping experience” Gonzalez said. The market concept, much like The Wynwood Shop is a perfect representation of traditional commerce, an age-old shopping experience that has managed to exist even among today’s digital revolution. “Artisanal markets are one of the last true forms of a raw marketplace that modern consumers will get to experience” said the shop’s E-Commerce Director, Franky.

With such an artistically tied concept, it makes perfect sense that they’d fall on Wynwood as their anchor. The neighborhood has emerged as a foremost arts district in Miami but has still managed to retain its industrial and manufacturing roots by also focusing on small businesses, local entrepreneurs, and emerging brands. “We are proud to be part of a place unlike any other in the city” said Diana. With her past career spanning from The Adrienne Arsht center to working in a Paris gallery, her love of art has never left, and when she found herself perusing the Wynwood showrooms like everyone else, the inspiration flowed freely. It all connected.

Through The Wynwood Shop, not only do consumers get a chance to interact with the creatives within their local economic sphere, but the businesses themselves have also landed on a platform to better their brands and products through collaboration. “Many of our brands are now part of a collective of individuals who hold a strong bond of friendship” said Gonzalez. This also gives rise to greater visibility for bigger opportunities. One businesses owner’s talents can be seen on the facade’s mural, another worked with Danish brand Joe and The Juice on their branding and in-store murals, and yet another was commissioned to create a piece for HBO’s POD Save America. “Little by little, the creators that make up the Wynwood Shop are gaining access to a wide audience to expand their brands” said Franky.

One thing that must be noted however, is the importance of supporting small businesses–like The Wynwood Shop–to ensure their survival among the international giants that have also made their homes here. Not long ago, American Express launched the “Shop Small” initiative to support small businesses after the craziness of post-Thanksgiving Black Friday. A huge move for such a large company. “Small businesses are the largest source of employment and non-agricultural goods exported in the United States. It’s what drives the “American Dream.” And most importantly, each dollar spent on a small business fuels the economy. When small businesses thrive, so does our economy” Gonzalez said.

This developed into Small Business Saturday where, across the country, small businesses open their doors for shoppers looking to make a positive difference in their local economies. This year’s Small Business Saturday falls on November 24th and we’re planning some magical stuff in partnership with The Wynwood Shop and our Support Local FL campaign. Don’t miss out! Stay tuned for more updates here.

All photos by The Wynwood Shop.