Three Insights from Third + Bird, From a Marketer’s Perspective

In Blog, Entrepreneurship, Starting a small business by Lionel JohnstonLeave a Comment

Third + Bird, wrapped up its 10th season and by all accounts, it was a huge success. It was incredible to see so many small business owners, collectively sharing their passion for their products.

Third + Bird is Winnipeg’s largest urban market. Hosting curated events that provide fun and inspiring gathering places for artisans + shoppers to meaningfully connect. Third + Bird Markets give spotlight to small businesses who are pushing the independent makers industry through modern design, fresh ideas + creative branding. We strive for personal connection with those we serve and work with – because local makers and their product matter to us, and we believe they matter to you. We pride ourselves on creating a unique shopping experience filled with inspiring visuals, food + drink, live music and infectious energy!

Looking at Third + Bird through a marketer’s eyes, I was impressed. I’ll keep this short, but here are some thoughts that stuck with me:
  1. Design matters: I was compelled to ask some folks in the know, what Third + Bird does for quality control. It turns out, they have a strict approval process but they also have orientation for their vendors to set their expectations. I was really impressed by the quality of the displays. Regardless of the product, the displays were well-thought out, and uniquely relevant to the specific business.
  2. Established businesses raise the bar: To be successful and to add value to the Third + Bird experience, companies don’t need to be national brands. However, every vendor I spoke with had an established brand and product. They all seemed like independent, viable businesses, that one was confident that if they wanted more products from that supplier they would be able to.  Wolseley Kombucha
  3. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: There were many businesses that I’m sure are successful in their own right, but, the collective energy and atmosphere at the market seemed far greater than the sum of the individual vendors. The relationship between the vendors and the market goers was strikingly different than many markets I’ve been to and dramatically different than the typical trade show. Vendors were engaging and welcoming and shoppers were excited to venture into the booths and check out the products first hand. In many selling situations like this, it is common for the vendor to be sitting in their booth just waiting for the bell to ring or else they are so in your face that they scare you off. That wasn’t the case at Third + Bird. I can confidently say that it was the most comfortable and energizing market that I have visited.
Takeaways for small business owners:
  1. Take time to think through how your business, your products, and your brand are being presented. It matters.
  2. Put things in place that help validate your business, such as a solid website, customer testimonials, and a strong social media presence, and ensure that the entire customer experience is cohesive.
  3. Find ways to partner with other businesses that compliment your business or have similar customers. Think about it, there is a reason why auto malls and shopping malls exist. Yes, your competitors are there but because of the sheer amount of selection it draws in a much larger crowd.
Here were some of my favourites vendors, though there was really something for everyone:
  1. Capital K Distillery: Their dill pickle vodka packs a punch and is a sure winner for any Caeser lovers on your holiday list.Capital K Distillery
  2. Green Carrot Juice C0.: Their cold-pressed juice and gingerbread protein balls were perfect to give us the fuel we needed to power through the market.

3. Huron Woodwork: They had full-sized wooden growth charts and many other great gift ideas.


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4. Cloverdale Forge: I think I could have bought one of everything from them. They had the coolest fire pokers with little hands on the ends of them. Some hands stated hang-loose, ASL for I love you, and some had just the middle finger up but were quickly sold out!

5. Baltic Bros. I picked up some mulled wine spices that will be perfect for some holiday libations.

6. Floral Fixx: They are located on Kenaston by Scurfield and are my ‘go to’ for flowers. Their shop is great and the quality of their flowers is by far the best I have experienced.

7. Clay Soap: Offers unique soap with the goal of making you feel as clean as jumping in a cold lake.

8. Wolseley Kombucha: Their Pomegranate Limeade Kombucha was delicious and as you can see by the picture above, they were part of the cutest and friendliest vendors we met.

All in all, Third + Bird was a great event. It was personally rewarding to see so many entrepreneurs passionately promoting their products and their vision for their businesses. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this year’s event a success. To learn more about Third + Bird, please go to

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