The Inglewood Night Market is a local event that has been taking place in the heart of historic Inglewood for over 10 years. As a result of its longstanding legacy, they have established a strong local community of small businesses, makers, artisans, and performers. In 2020 when all businesses were forced to pivot due to the pandemic, the organizers of the market decided to host a ‘Holiday Night Market’ in a safe and controlled environment that gave the local community a place to connect with Calgarians after a year of being apart.
The market went off without a hitch and was a huge success. Over 4,000 shoppers were filtered through the space (at a distance) where they had the opportunity to shop over 50 vendors for the holidays. This year, they decided to do it all over again — and we’re very happy they did!
Alora Boutique has been a long-time vendor at the Inglewood Night Market, during regular summer events and both Holiday-themed markets.
We sat down with Akilah Ghann, the COO of Alora where she works with her mom and sister (the original founders) to continue growing their family business. We talked about everything from the formation of the company to how the Night Market has impacted their business, and she even shared a few tips with us for first-time market-goers.
Tell us how you started Alora Boutique.
Akilah: “My mother and sister started the business in 2009 from our kitchen table with the intention of creating meaningful pieces that could make a difference in the world. They wanted to make and create jewelry that not only added beauty and meaning to the lives of genuine everyday women through jewelry but also gave back to our community.
I started working for the business in 2012 and in that time have run the shipping, customer service, and social media of Alora Boutique.”
How has the Inglewood Night Market helped your business grow?
Akilah: “The Inglewood Night Market has helped us to meet a variety of Calgarians and allowed us to get our brand/business out to more people. This market always has people of all backgrounds attend and because of this, we are able to connect with more people.”
What do you love about the Inglewood Night Market community?
Akilah: “Everyone is so kind and supportive. It also brings vibrancy to the inner-city and Calgary in general. There are also amazing networking opportunities for small business owners and it brings an economic boost to these businesses.”
What are you most excited about at this year’s Holiday Night Market?
Akilah: “This is our first Holiday Market for this year, we attended the Inglewood Night Market last year and loved it!
I think that what I am most excited about is seeing and talking with Calgarians. Holiday Night Markets always have a really interesting and vibrant feeling to them, so I am very excited to be attending! That and I love to shop from other local vendors.”
What are three tips you have for shoppers who haven’t attended in the past?
Akilah: “Come early (especially if you don’t like crowds). Bring cash and a card. It’s always best to have both, sometimes, the wifi is spotty and the card machine doesn’t work. This way you know that you’ll be able to purchase what you want, no matter what happens. Make your rounds twice, but if you see something you love, buy it then and there!”
In your words, how do you describe the word “Community”?
Akilah: “Where you share common interests and help lift each other up.”
Be sure to check out the Holiday Edition of the Inglewood Night Market on November 19, 26, and December 3, 2021, and keep your eye out for Alora Boutique while you’re there! Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online.
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