Snowport Holiday Market recognizes Boston’s small businesses


Photo courtesy of Grace Comer

Kathryn Manning, deputy city editor

From Nov. 19, 2021 until Jan. 2, 2022, Boston’s Seaport neighborhood is holding Snowport, its annual winter village event. This is the third year that Snowport has been held; this year with the introduction of a European-style holiday market. The 2021 event includes a Christmas tree market, curling lanes and local vendors selling holiday-themed food and gifts. 

Located on Seaport Boulevard, the open-air market is decked out with a canopy of Christmas lights and a 54-foot tall Christmas tree, which was lit in a ceremony Dec. 3. It is free for all to enter.

The area features stalls for each vendor as well as a tented dining space. Here, customers can enjoy holiday-themed cocktails, handmade pizza and calzones from local restaurant Tuscan Kitchen’s outdoor booth, along with snacks and sweet treats from other food vendors. There is also a stack of faux presents for photo opportunities and an interactive chalkboard wall that invites visitors to write their winter wishes.

Many of the market’s vendors come from diverse backgrounds: over half of the businesses featured in the market are minority-owned or women-owned. Aslihan Albayrak is a partner of Beach House Towels, a company that creates luxury Turkish towels. Albayrak integrates her cultural heritage into her products. 

“This business is 10 years old,” Albayrak said. “I am from Turkey originally and these towels are something special in Turkey, so we tried to bring them here to America.”

For Imani McFarlane, chief designer and founder of Tafari Wraps, her small business is a family affair. She works together with her daughter to create and sell traditional African head wraps.

“I have to cut, stitch and design everything,” McFarlane said. “Coming from a couture background at a young age, I designed gowns for the Miss Universe pageants and I left corporate America in 2006 to start this business.” 

McFarlane’s work is a product of the prejudice she faced while working in the fashion industry. 

“I was working at a high-end design firm and I was constantly being discriminated against for my head wraps,” McFarlane said. “I was sent to a very well-known couple to be their interior designer, and the wife assumed I was the nanny because of my head wrap. Because of that, I wanted to teach people the beauty of hair wraps.”

Having a booth at Snowport’s holiday market is a way for these vendors to introduce their products to new audiences. Anita Karki is a salesperson at Raining Cats and Dogs, a company that makes apparel featuring different pet breeds.

“Business tends to be slower on the weekdays, but on the weekends it has been very good,” Karki said. 

Beach House Towels experienced similar success.

“Business is crazy right now,” Albayrak said. “The last three days we have had a ton of sales. I think that the community really likes the quality of our products.”

Customers who spoke with The News expressed support for the market. Olivia Curran of Brookline said she decided to come to the market when she saw it while grocery shopping nearby.

“It seemed like a good day to come out and it’s so pretty here. We got some waffles, which were amazing. I’m buying my mom a Christmas present here, probably from the cutting board booth,” Curran said.

Kyle Kelley of South End said that the market was a great place to spend time with family.

“My parents are visiting from northern Kentucky and we thought it would be a fun holiday activity,” Kelley said. “I love [Snowport], [but] I wish it was larger. It’s such a great space to hold a market in.”