Pop-up holiday markets help shoppers find businesses that don’t have storefronts

In an effort to raise Madison’s Black businesses, Ujamaa, a multicultural corporate collective hosts festive markets throughout December.

The holiday season is crucial for small business owners, but it can often be challenging for those without storefronts, said Tara Wilhelmi, the founder of Ujamaa.

“It takes money to enter a physical space. You need insurance. It takes access,” he said. “So signing up and letting me do the hard work of advertising allows them to still have access without having to invest more than $25 and what they need for their display and inventory.”

All markets will be held at UW South Madison Partnership, 2238 S Park St., and will take place on December 4, 10, 17 and 18 from 1-5pm. Interested sellers can still register a booth for $25, Wilhelmi said.

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Ujamaa has been running the vendor markets for several years. The company collective is part of Each One Teach One, a community recovery and wellness organization run by Wilhelmi. Ujamaa’s goal has always been to provide entrepreneurs with resources and support for color, Wilhelmi said. With the holiday markets, Ujamaa hopes to capitalize on growing community support for black businesses.

“We’re trying to capitalize on the fact that people are talking about Black business and Black entrepreneurship,” Wilhelmi said. “We’ve been doing this for seven years, but we’ve seen much more interest from community partners and participants in the last two years.”

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Sarah Branch, the owner of the Earthly Temptations, a body care company at 1812 S. Park St., has been with Ujamaa for two years. .

“It was a really good network for me to practically learn the business. So it was like a hands-on experience of business 101,” Branch said. “A lot of people in the network just gave me advice on the first things I should have as a credit card reader, how to set up my booth and how to set the price of my articles”.

Sarah Branch, owner of Earthly Temptations, sells body care and self-care products. She has been involved in Ujamaa’s trading network and markets for two years.


For small business owners, it’s about being visible, Branch said. For this reason, spaces like the Ujamaa holiday markets are essential.

“Pop-up markets for the holiday season are needed because they allow us to network and allow us to put our face to the community,” Branch said. “Some of these companies that are in the pop-up shows, I never would have known.”

Ujamaa eventually hopes to open a shared retail space, but for now, Wilhelmi is looking forward to the spirit that holiday markets will foster.

“There is so much camaraderie. People share ideas and they just mentor each other,” Wilhelmi said of the markets. “It’s a space to feel seen and represented.”


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