When it’s time to buy holiday gifts from local merchants in East Aldine, it’s time for “pop-up” markets to display products made by creative people who don’t operate from year-round stores.

More than a dozen talented East Aldine entrepreneurs participated recently in the first of three pre-Christmas “Pop Up”  craft ventures at Studio 59, 12411-A Eastex Freeway. The market returns on Saturday, Dec. 11 and Saturday, Dec. 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Under shining Christmas lights and sporadic showers that did not dampen enthusiasm for the sights, sounds and scents of the holiday season, Vanessa Perez, the owner of Good Vibe Tribe, sold some of her hand-crafted air fresheners and scented beads to customers looking for aromas that provide calm and relaxation during a stressful season.

“This is a small business that I started in July. I wanted to do some crafting. And it just grew from there,” Perez said.

“The air fresheners can be hung in your car or any small space, and the aroma beads can be scented with any essential oils,” Perez said.

“I think scents are very important. They can soothe people. When you find a special scent that you really like, it makes you feel a certain way. It can be very relaxing. And, it can make you feel at home,” Perez said.

Perez said her small business has been surprisingly successful. “I am actually making some money,” she said, with a smile.

Jordan, Sophia and Jayden Hinojosa

A few tents away, the pretty young daughters of Studio 59 proprietor Adriana Hinojosa peddled their calorie-laden Christmas treats, ranging from cookies, brownies and cake-pops to delicious banana pudding cups topped with rich whipped cream. There may be method to their madness: customers can always work out at their mom’s fitness classes.

Fourteen-year old twins Jordan and Jayden Hinojosa, along with their 10-year old sister Sophia, pay for all the ingredients they use to make their seasonal concoctions. Their business, Angel Bakers, is run from their parents’ kitchen.

“We just like baking and doing it together. It’s fun,” Jordan said.

Studio 59 is an events center and gym where Adriana teaches Zumba and other fitness classes. Her husband Dago Hinojosa is an active partner in the business, which frequently sponsors “Pop Up” markets for small businesses in the East Aldine community. The Christmas market was an opportunity for her regular vendors to have a little holiday fun, Hinojosa said.

Vanessa Perez

“We just thought we’d stay open a little later, put up Christmas lights and add some music,” Hinojosa said.

“There’s nowhere really to shop out here. That’s why these vendors are here,” Hinojosa  added.

She strongly recommends one of her vendors, El Señor Creole, for good Christmas tamales. The tamales include traditional Hispanic flavors with a Louisiana twist, as the name of business implies, Hinojosa said.

El Señor Creole, which can be found on Facebook, is offering a special Christmas menu that includes fried turkey or spiral hams. The business is also offering its flavorful beef boudin tamales for $12 per dozen, or seafood boudin tamales for $20 per dozen.

The other vendors included Gloria’s Bowtique, featuring every size, color and shape of hair bows for little to big girls; Party Arty, by Angela Buentello, who sponsors art parties at patrons’ homes and sells paints, brushes and canvasses; Beebeautiful1, for cosmetics, nutrition and fashion jewelry, offered by Norma Castillo; and I Love Charms, which can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

— by Anne Marie Kilday