BKLYN Commons Hosts 7th Annual Small Business Fair

By Oona Milliken | [email protected]

The co-working space BKLYN Commons held its seventh annual Small Biz Pop-Up amongst a bustling arena of retail vendors, informational desks on business management, food from different parts of the world, a health service check-in station, lively music and more.

The event was held at BKLYN Commons headquarters at 495 Flatbush Avenue Wednesday, Nov. 16. Johanne Brierre, the Chief Executive Officer of BKLYN Commons, said the event was created to give small business owners access to bureaucratic information and clinics for managing a small business while allowing them to build relationships with each other and their community. Brierre said small businesses were the pillar of many New York communities, but they didn’t have access to the same type of support that large businesses are afforded.

“Small businesses are important in so many other ways, they’re like the backbone of the community, they’re the backbone of New York,” Brierre said. “BKLYN Commons is serving a number one business hub.”

Camille Fanfair, who owns the holistic health shop Essence of Asi, said she has a co-working space at BKLYN Commons because it allowed her to afford her own business venue. Fanfair had set up her booth with various essential oils, candles as well as herbal essences and sprays in order to display her products to passersby.

“I’ve been here for two years, I have my holistic healing space and it’s really great because it gives us opportunities to get your own space location. When you try to get a venue outside, rent is really high, so they make it affordable for entrepreneurs,” Fanfair said. “BKLYN Commons is an amazing co-working space, and they provide a lot of opportunities for different entrepreneurs. They help market our business, they open us up to a lot of contacts on the outside so it’s a really great space.”

On the other end of the vendor hall, Sharyi Harris, a small-business owner who specializes in cheesecake cupcakes, said she was at the event because it was an opportunity to promote her business and speak to other entrepreneurs. Harris is the owner of Brownstone Cheesecakes and makes her products from scratch herself.

“I think [business pop-ups] are important because you have a chance to see what other people have to offer, not just for myself,” Harris said. “It just gives me opportunities to be around and have my business out there when you aren’t necessarily thinking about having to promote it. You can only promote on Instagram and Facebook so much, person to person actually matters.”

Brierre said that working with small-business owners was heartening because they continued their work despite all odds. Brierre said that many of her clients had families, other jobs or faced a lack of information on how to navigate starting a business. She said BKLYN Commons’ goal was to help small business owners along on their journey.

“I am so inspired by these business owners. I love working with people. They have so much resilience,” Brierre said.

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