Salt Lake City’s Salt & Honey Market is sort of an ‘in-person Etsy’

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt & Honey Market co-owners Nicole Choules, left, and Ashley Collette set up their store located at 926 E. 900 South on Nov. 29, 2019.

December is a great time to sell handmade, artisan items in Utah. And Ashley Collette and Nicole Choules will spend the month doubling down — creating holiday markets in their existing store in The Gateway and at their new location in Salt Lake City’s 9th and 9th neighborhood.

“We have a lot of success during the holidays because that’s kind of like the one time when people want to have a little bit more meaning to what they give,” said Collette, co-owner of the Salt & Honey Market.

Collette and Choules began their store as a pop-up at The Gateway before moving into their store at 111 S. Rio Grande in October 2018 — just as the holiday season was getting underway. “It was really successful,” Collette said. “Our holiday market worked out great for us.”

So it’s not a surprise that they’re doing it again. The Salt & Honey Holiday Makers Market runs Dec. 2-30, Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. It’s one of more than two dozen holiday art markets in the region — and most of them put an emphasis on local artists and artisans.

[Read more: 25 Utah markets offering local artwork for the holidays]

“That’s what we sell in our store. It’s sort of an in-person Etsy,” Collette said, referring to the online store. Their shop in The Gateway is filled with jewelry, home decor, artwork, food items, vintage clothing “and everything you can imagine” from about 200 vendors.

“And all of these people are doing it out of their homes or their small studios,” Collette said. “Almost everything is either handmade or local and ethically produced. It’s all very sustainable, and that makes your dollars count a little bit more when you shop with us.”

It all starts with the owners themselves. Collette is a graphic designer and illustrator; her products include stickers, magnets, cards and more with Utah logos and Harry Potter character drawings. Choules designs and sells clothing for girls age 12 and younger under her own brand, Hum: A Whimsical Stitchery Co.

The goal at Salt & Honey is to offer items that aren’t readily available elsewhere. Which is important to Utahns looking for distinctive Christmas gifts they can’t get at big-box stores.

“We find that a lot of our customers want to shop small for Christmas. And shop local,” Collette said. “So when they shop with us, they can feel like there’s just a little more thought to their gift rather than just buying it from a mass market retailer.”

Salt & Honey will be open at both 111 S. Rio Grande and its new store at 926 E. 900 South through the end of the year, but then Collette and Choules will close their original location and move the business to the 5,510-square-foot building. They weren’t unhappy downtown — the move was attractive because they’ve outgrown their current store.

“The owner of the [926 E. 900 South] building contacted us and offered us the space because she felt like we would be a good fit for the Ninth and Ninth area,” Collette said. “We just thought it was a great opportunity. It’s a bigger space, so we can do more with that.”

They’re planning to conduct workshops, add an art gallery upstairs “and just kind of grow our community a little bit more.”

Leaving their current location behind is “kind of bittersweet because it’s been our home,” Collette said. “We started there with the pop-ups, and it’s our first store. We actually loved being at the Gateway,” she said, adding that they’d consider returning at some point to open a smaller store as a second location.

Coverage of downtown Salt Lake City arts groups is supported by a grant from The Blocks, a cultural initiative of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County.