Island Market is a brand story that started with a simple idea that came to mind staying at home during lockdown period. During the lockdown I saw the difficulties the people and community were going through with many people losing jobs, small businesses unable to open physical stores and losing sales, the community stuck at home and missing out on how life used to be pre-covid. This is when I thought that we need to somehow bring back the smiles of all these people by doing a fun activity and remind them that no matter, life goes on! With this simple notion, I decided it would be a great initiative to have a market place opportunity to many small business ventures which have been affected by the pandemic and also have a carnival atmosphere for the general community to enjoy life once again. These were the thoughts of the founder of Island Market, Mrs. Nisreen Dissanayake.
The first vendor market was initiated under the name ‘Weekend Bazaar at 570’ back in 6th February 2021. The event was organized in an open environment with canopies shading the vendor stalls at a prominent location in Colpetty (570/3 Galle Road, Colombo-03) with access from both the Galle Road and Marine Drive. Starting with 18 stalls and all home business vendors selling unique products such as handy craft, wooden household items, cloths, bags, organic spices, wooden toys and many scrumptious food stalls. The event drew over 300 people from all age groups and it was indeed a joyous occasion for everyone. Drawing confidence from the 1st event, another Bazaar was organized during 3rd April 2021 alongside the ‘Avurudu and Ramdan celebrations’. This time with over 50 stalls and generating a crowd of around 500 people with DJ music playing in the background in a carnival atmosphere. Both events were conducted under strict covid-19 health guidelines for the safety of vendors and all attendees.
The ‘Weekend Bazaar at 570’ was later rebranded as the ‘Island Market’ to make the brand feel more closer to the event objective of focusing on Home based business vendors with promoting local products made in Sri Lanka. The 1st event after rebranding as Island Market themed ‘Holiday Boutique’ was a fund raising project organized along with the Bohra Community with the total proceedings of the event being used for upliftment of families affected by the pandemic and held on the 4th of December 2021 at the same premises. The event had almost 45 stalls from many local brands covering a range of products with super discounts for the Season. We were honoured to have Mrs. Kasturi Selvaraj (First lady CEO Hemas PLC) as Special guest of honour participating in the event which encouraged the vendors. The event drew a large crowd well over 700 people.
The next Island Market edition themed as the ‘Valentine Edition’ is a pre-valentine sale. The event will have around 35 stalls from many local brands. The event will be having many new products apart from the regular food, homeware, plants & accessories, etc. Many of the vendors will be offering ‘valentine themed items’ which would be ideal gift items to present to your loved ones. The Island Market is offering free spaces for vendors who are with disabilities and this time has partnered with Swashakthi Foundation of Persons with Disability and Sahanaya – National Council for Mental Health and their Gorakana Residential Facility in Panadura. The event will be held on the 12th of February 2022 from 11am to 9pm, located at 570/3 Marine Drive, Colombo -03. Drop by to experience a unique valentines shopping experience and to help our local vendors.