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It’s a unique idea: the belief in the power of people. This belief inspired Sonja Rasula’s brainchild and a movement that not only helps the local economy, but that brings people together.

The week’s Secret of SoCal is Unique LA Holiday Market.

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Last weekend, on December 5th and 6th, the eighth annual Unique LA Holiday Market was held at The Penthouse at California Market Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Unique LA is an event where local small businesses can sell their art and merchandise. Rasula’s idea originated when she wanted to shop for numerous people at one time without having to drive all over (something we all want this holiday season.) Unique LA had something for everyone.

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While riding the elevator up to the 13th floor, I had no idea what to expect; I read numerous positive reviews about Unique LA, but none of them had done due diligence. From the moment the elevators opened, my expectations were exceeded. After I paid the ten dollar entry fee, I couldn’t wait to explore.

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Vendors surrounded the perimeter of the penthouse, displaying their own flare. Although every vendor had amazing products, the three brands that stood out to me the most were ArtNWordz, Rebeleer, and Chez Gagné.

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ArtNWords specializes in turning pages torn from dictionaries into art. Each page featured a different image including everything from Aubrey Hepburn to Yoda to Harry Potter.

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Grant, owner of ArtNWords and a California Native, hummed pleasantly as he helped his co-owner, Micha, sort through boxes of pages. Those who passed by stopped to “oooh” and “ahh” in hopes that they’d find the perfect page. Each ArtNWordz page cost $12.

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Another vendor, Rebeleer, is run by a couple that believes in the power of technology… so much so that it is their main method for creating jewelry; 3D printing.

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Rebeleer crafts everything from 3D printed cat rings to 3D printed long necklaces. I purchased a 3D printed, brass, cat-shaped ring. Needless to say I have been wearing it every day since I purchased it. The cat ring was $39 and has yet to turn my finger green.

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Last but not least, I, Erica Angelina Dean, admit that I am a bit of a stationary junkie.There is no ten-step plan necessary when Chez Gagné Letterpress is involved. Without a doubt, Chez Gagné Letterpress was my favorite vendor.

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Their simplistic, sassy, and oh-so chic cards are the perfect way to say everything from “sorry I was being really bitchy” to “hey, I love you.” Prices of the cards start at $5.25. Needless to say, I spent the most time and money at this booth. I can’t wait to send out some of my holiday cards!

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Each of these unique venders added something so special to the mix at Unique LA. Attending this event allowed me to see a different side of small businesses. I can’t wait to attend the next Unique LA event. Find a Unique event near you! Unique hosts events in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and will be expanding to other cities in the upcoming years.

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Check back on Wednesday, December 16th, to read another holiday edition of Secret of SoCal.

And remember- Take Care of This Moment!

Happy Holidays!

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