Demo Day winners setup shop at Downtown Detroit Markets

The Downtown Detroit Markets have returned to Cadillac Square, creating more opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Funded by Bedrock LLC, and the Quicken Loans Community Fund, the Downtown Detroit Markets will run from November 13-January 1, featuring 18 businesses that are all Detroit-based.

New this year, is the Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day glass hut, which features four past winners of the annual pitch contest: edible cookie dough maker Detroit Dough; Healthy Roots Dolls, which teaches girls of color self-love through education, diversity, and positive representation. Tea maker Eli Tea; and bakery Good Cakes and Bakes.

The Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day Market was setup to provide former winners the opportunity to offer their products as part of the Quicken Loans Community Fund’s continued investment into the entrepreneurship community in Detroit.

“This season, we will be working with an eclectic mix of small businesses offering products that truly have something for everyone to enjoy,” said Francesca George, Bedrock’s Director of Experience. “The Downtown Detroit Markets have proven themselves to be a successful platform for local entrepreneurs to test out the downtown retail scene and we know this season will be the best one yet. As downtown Detroit continues to establish itself as a retail and entertainment destination, Bedrock stays committed to developing innovative ways to support local talent while creating unique experiences in the city.”

Yelitsa Jean-Charles (right) sells her “Zoe” doll bundle for $89.99. PHOTO: Branden Hunter

Yelitsa Jean-Charles is the CEO and founder of Healthy Roots Dolls, a toy company that creates dolls and storybooks that teach natural hair care to young girls of color. She won the $100,000 prize in the START category at Detroit Demo Day 2019 and another $25,000 for the People’s Choice Award. Her “Zoe Doll Bundle” will be sold at the Detroit Demo Day Market, which includes an 18 inch Healthy Roots Zoe doll, a curl care kit, and a kids “My Black Is Beautiful” t-shirt for $89.99.

“We designed this doll in such a way that is more than just painting a doll brown,” said Jean-Charles. “We created an educational play experience around hair. Her hair is unique fiber full of curl power and it can be styled just like your real hair, and you can wash and braid it.”

Healthy Roots Dolls has been making a name for it itself nationally, but being new to Detroit, Jean-Charles is excited to showcase her product to shoppers at the Downtown Detroit Markets.

“This will be a great opportunity to introduce Zoe to more people within the Detroit area and to get a jump on the holiday sales,” Jean-Charles said. “Toy sales is a big deal for us here, because more toys are sold during the holiday season.”

Detroit Dough is no stranger to downtown Detroit. The Detroit-based cookie dough maker, which was founded in 2017 by co-founders Autumn Kyles and siblings Victoria and Daniel A. Washington, has been a part of a number of initiatives downtown through Bedrock. The trio won a $200,000 investment at Detroit Demo Day 2019, as well as the $25,000 People’s Choice award.

Detroit Dough co-founders Victoria Washington, Autumn Kyles, and Daniel A. Washington. PHOTO: Branden Hunter

This year has been a busy year for Detroit Dough, including landing sales contracts with MJR Theaters, Emagine Entertainment, the Michigan Science Center, and Michigan Stadium. But the Downtown Detroit Markets offers the brand something it has always wanted: a brick and mortar space.

“In 2017 when we started this journey, we always wanted a retail space,” said Washington. “When we found out that the Downtown Detroit Markets were going to be accessible to Demo Day winners, we jumped on the opportunity. We feel this is going to give us the best opportunity to learn how things are going to go regarding our retail future.”

Good Cakes and Bakes (GCB) and Eli Tea were both winners at the inaugural Detroit Demo Day in 2017. GCB owner April Anderson won a $200,000 investment and Eli Majid Tea owner Eli took home a $100,000 investment.

April Anderson and Eli Majid. PHOTO: Branden Hunter

Anderson’s flagship store is along the Livernois Avenue of Fashion. She was a part of the first group of business owners to participate in the Downtown Detroit Markets in 2017 and views this time around as a sweet opportunity to improve her business.

“It was a great learning lesson to be here before, to know which type of products I should and shouldn’t have,” said Anderson. “It allowed me to change my business model and this time around will give us an opportunity to meet new people and introduce new products like our new cakes jars.”

The Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day Market is full of sweets, but Eli Tea offers a product that is healthier during the holidays. Majid previously had a pop-up shop in the Shinola Hotel, but feels the Cadillac Square location will open doors for a new customer base, being in the heart of downtown near Campus Martius Park.

“My goal here is for us to have lines going out the door,” said Majid, who is a botanist by trade. “We will have innovative products here, like hot herbal tea on the weekends, and golden chai, which is a ginger latte.”

The Quicken Loans Detroit Demo Day Market in Cadillac Square. PHOTO: Branden Hunter

The Cadillac Lodge will also be returning, where festive drinks and snacks will be served, along with smores kits for the outdoor fire pits. The lodge will have capacity for vendors to pop up and showcase goods and will be open through January 26.

COVER PHOTO: Yelitsa Jean-Charles (left) and Lauren Taylor (right).

Downtown Detroit Markets dates and hours of operation:

  • Monday and Tuesday: closed
  • Wednesday and Thursday: 11-8 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 11-10 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11-7 p.m.

Cadillac Lodge:

  • Monday and Tuesday: closed for private events
  • Wednesday: 4-9 p.m.
  • Thursday and Friday:  4-11 p.m.
  • Saturday: 11-midnight
  • Sunday: 11-10 p.m.

Here the rest of the vendors listed by Bedrock and the Quicken Loans Community Fund:

  • Awanya: Ethnic textiles, couture and home décor made sustainably with hand-dyed fabric from West Africa.
  • Detroit Dough: Pre-packaged edible cookie dough made in a multitude of flavors.
  • Detroit Fiber Works: Located on the Livernois Avenue of Fashion in northwest Detroit, it sells fiber artwork made by Detroit artists.
  • Dutton Farm Market: Bath and body care products made by adults with developmental disabilities.
  • Eli Tea: Ethically sourced loose-leaf tea accompanied with specialty tea pots and gift sets.
  • Ferosh Chick: Lifestyle clothing brand curated with modern boho fashion and young contemporary styles committed to quality, uniqueness and affordability.
  • Good Cakes & Bakes: Gourmet baked goods made with local and organic ingredients.
  • Healthy Roots Dolls: Dolls created to empower young girls by representing the beauty in diversity.
  • Inkcourage: Temporary tattoos, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, buttons and stickers that feature words of encouragement.
  • Karalyn Street: Stylish and effortless handmade jewelry for the everyday busy woman.
  • Lush Yummies Pie Co.: Maker of butter- and fruit-filled pie cups and cookies.
  • Makamashi: Handcrafted home goods imported from Morocco including pillows, rugs, wicker baskets, lampshades, ceramic bowls, cotton towels and more.
  • Mongers’ Provisions: A collection of artisan cheeses, cured meats, locally made jam and craft chocolate bars.
  • SMPLFD: A streetwear brand that sells accessories, clothing and other merchandise.
  • The Vintage Wick: Candles made with vegan wax and displayed in vintage glassware, as well as incense.
  • Wild Little Fawns: Clothing and accessories for parents and children.
  • 3Dogs1Cat: A pet product retailer with clothing, collars, toys, snacks and more.
  • One more tenant is being finalized.

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