Sophomore Chloe Chow sells hand-painted tote bags and original art at Evanston Made Maker’s Market


Photo courtesy of Chloe Chow

A tote bag that Chloe Chow designed and hand-painted. Chow sold her tote bags at the Evanston Made Maker’s Market on Sept. 4.

April Li, Reporter


Weinberg sophomore Chloe Chow used tote bags as her canvas at the Evanston Made Maker’s Market.

The Maker’s Market, which runs monthly from May to October, is held in an outdoor parking garage and features goods handmade by Chicago area artists. Painter and sketcher Chow, who makes art “on (her) own for fun” and posts it on her Instagram, said she attended the event earlier in the summer and became interested in selling her own creations there.

“I’ve always wanted to sell my art in some way so I thought it would be a good way to get started,” Chow said. “I use tote bags everyday, so I was like, I could buy some tote bags online and paint on them.”

Chow also sold original gouache, acrylic and oil paintings at the Sept. 4. Maker’s Market. She said she decided to focus on selling hand-painted tote bags because she wanted to make products she could “mass produce.”

Chow took to Twitter to inform her designs, asking her followers what they’d want to have on a tote bag. From those responses, she created six digital designs and then solicited feedback on which art people liked the most. Chow painted the three most popular designs onto 24 tote bags.

Chow said several people messaged her on Twitter to buy her tote bags, while others attended the market to buy directly from her booth.

Chow’s method of selling versions of original art on different products is called “product merchandising,” something Evanston Made founder and executive director Lisa Degliantoni said she encourages artists to do.

“If she puts (her art) on a tote bag she’s not only supplying someone with a usable product, but she is taking the show on the road by having an object where someone’s like, ‘What’s that bag? Who made that?’” Degliantoni said. “It’s almost like free marketing for her work.”

Degliantoni said encouraging young artists to market their products is one of Evanston Made’s goals, which Chow said she’s appreciative of.

Weinberg sophomore Anika Kaushikkar, Chow’s friend, was one of her customers. Kaushikkar said she chose a landscape design depicting a sun over hills.

“It was nice to have something that I could use and that was pretty,” said Kaushikkar, who also praised Chow’s art. “I really like how she captures people’s faces and their emotions — it’s the little things.”

Chow sold enough of her paintings and tote bags to surpass the cost of her materials. She said she enjoyed her experience at the Maker’s Market and would like to sell her art again in the future.

Degliantoni expressed her gratitude to Chloe for contributing to Evanston Made’s mission of connecting creatives with a larger community.

“I’m really grateful for people like Chloe because she makes Evanston Made fun to do,” Degliantoni said. “We want more Chloes.”

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