Mx Becki Skhel Credit: Katharine Worrell

Queer Emporium holds its first Valentine’s Day market to showcase crafts

The Royal Arcade event offered a safe space in which to celebrate LGBTQ+ community talent

THE Queer Emporium has hosted its first ever Valentine’s Day Market as a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to network, share their merchandise and celebrate local talent. 

It is important to create opportunities”

Yan White, Owner of Queer Emporium

The small event took place in the Royal Arcade in Cardiff city centre, and had a real community atmosphere as local vendors mingled among the stalls sharing what they had made. 

Wardrobe Stall at the Queer Emporium Valentine’s Day market. Credit: Katharine Worrell

Queer Emporium founder and owner, Yan White, said their own experience of running a small business made them empathetic with those wishing to make a name for themselves. 

“It is important to create opportunities in the community. It is really difficult to get small businesses off the ground,” they said.

Chatting to the vendors, it was clear that the effort put into creating a hub for creative professionals to mingle was worthwhile. 

“The Queer Emporium are doing such amazing stuff and are creating safe spaces in Cardiff,” said Paisley Randell, owner of Morning Assembly jewellery business. 

“You belong in the communities you feel you do,” said Becki Skhel, a local artist. 

Mx Becki Skhel and her stall at the Royal Arcade. Credit: Katharine Worrell

Mx Skhel explained their identity was part of what inspired them to create.They had always found a sense of catharsis in their art but decided to make it a full time job after becoming disabled in 2020.

The message of their work, told through paintings of broken glass, was that no-one is alone and there is always hope. 

“Sometimes there are invisible eyes to queerness. I am non-binary and bisexual but married to a man. I still belong.” 

Another business owner, Leia, described her business ,The Wardrobe, as the “home of subtle pride”. She explained that some of the rainbow coloured pride merchandise can make people feel like a target whereas what she wanted was subtle, inside references to the community.

Leia, owner of The Wardrobe Jewellery stand (right), and friend. Credit: Katharine Worrell

This is the second market Queer Emporium has hosted, with the first taking place over Christmas. Their next event is a guided tour of Cardiff taking place on Sunday, February 11 that celebrates LGBTQ+ history month.