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We sat down with Danielle Cohen, founder of Urban Air Market, for a quick chat on creating her innovative pop-up marketplace. She's hired two team members through Localwise, and is looking for one more! Be sure to check to see if Urban Air Market has current job openings in a city near you.

Why did you start Urban Air Market?

I started out doing freelance fashion and art events — mostly runway and art gallery shows. In 2010, I was hired by the founder of Capsule Design Festival, a twice yearly design festival in San Francisco.

After one year of assisting with that event, I purchased the company and changed the name to Urban Air Market, changed the focus and application process to include sustainable design, and started expanding the market into new cities.

I always wanted a way to showcase the work of artists and designers that I admire and Urban Air Market as a pop-up festival has proven to be the most successful way to do that.

What's it like having your own business, not to mention a fair?

Having your own business is a lot like having a kid (I think!). It takes up a lot of your time, energy, resources, and thoughts… but you love it anyways. I feel lucky that in my business I work with hundreds of other small business owners and creative entrepreneurs who are going through similar cycles. 

What do you look for when hiring/building your team?

I spend a lot of time thinking about the job description so that a potential new team member will know if it’s something they really want to do as soon as they read it.

I've learned the hard way that just because someone has a great personality doesn’t mean they'll get the job done. So now, after the interview, I’ll ask for some references and always assign a brief homework assignment to get a feel for how the applicant presents themselves, and how they handle problems and deadlines.

I love using Localwise for hiring because I can easily view an applicant’s resume, cover letter, and personal profile (if they create one). And the applicants that come to Localwise for a job search seem to be higher quality than from Craigslist.

I’m proud to say that our Marketing Intern and our Sales Intern are both amazing team members that I found through Localwise!

What are 5 things people might not know about Urban Air Market?

  1. Our SF Bay Area HQ team is all women.
  2. 80% of our participating vendors are women- or minority-owned businesses.
  3. We work on-the-go and don’t have an office space, so our team meetings are via Google Hangouts or in person at a local brewery.
  4. We have a free gift called “The Smart Vendors Guide for Getting Real Buyers” available on our website.
  5. We are hoping to launch this year in Brooklyn and Austin.

What tips can you offer to someone looking to get into event production?

Volunteer to help other people or companies with their events. Event organizers need help (especially way before an event actually takes place) and it's a great way to see which aspects of event production you are most attracted to.

My first love of production came from joining the 48 Hour Film Project, a team building contest where you make a short movie in 2 days. It’s like a Production 101 crash course.

This month, Urban Air Market pops up in Oakland. What can we expect?

We’re actually having a giveaway contest for one free goodie bag filled with products from our Oakland vendors. You can enter to win here:

For more information about the Oakland show vendors, food, music, and more please check out our blog here:
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