jlink
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

She’s known as an insanely creative mastermind, a marketing genius who churns out uncharted—and extraordinarily successful—ideas. She’s also the founder and producer of the Brooklyn MRKT, a buzzing annual event that’s become a magnet for thousands of women across the tri-state area.

Who is Elisheva Perlman, and what drives her to produce the MRKT each year?

“The spirit,” she explained. “To see 150 talented women channeling their energies to businesses they love—and using those businesses to support Ohr Naava, a beloved women’s organization, it’s hugely inspiring.”

The MRKT, according to Elisheva, began in 2013 as a trendy retail event: a way to bring the area’s most popular vendors under one roof, while raising money for Ohr Naava. As time went by, Elisheva—and her team at the Anelis Group, the marketing firm that produces and markets the event—discovered that shoppers (and vendors) loved the event for yet another element: the palpable entrepreneurial spirit and vibes of connection and collaboration that formed a unique women’s bond.

“This is not about women’s lib or feminism—in fact, it’s the opposite,” Elisheva—a Flatbush native and avid entrepreneur—said. “What’s amazing is that each of these female vendors is a wife and mother too. Each fills a critical role at home, raising children and families, while maximizing their creative energies at work. And that’s a powerful message for our daughters: You can maintain your values and live a balanced life while pursuing a career you love.”

Over the years, numerous mothers have told Elisheva that they bring their newly graduated or just-out-of-sem daughters to the MRKT for more than just a new wardrobe: They want to open their eyes and allow them to step into a world where vibrant, committed Jewish women are immersed in businesses that invigorate them.

“It’s not just about leaving with a bunch of shopping bags,” one mother told her last year. “It’s about being in a room and seeing so many women who’ve found their voice and are able to express it. It’s about seeing fashion designers whose lines are chic and cosmopolitan—but tznius. It’s about realizing that you don’t have to compromise or sacrifice your spiritual growth, and you can dream big as a creative entrepreneur. There’s a whole world of options out there.”

This, Elisheva said, is what gives her the energy to undertake an event of this magnitude. Particularly as the mother of two school-age daughters, she feels privileged to be the conduit for such a message—a message she feels is critical in this generation.

This year, Elisheva is especially excited about the new venue: Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

“It’s hip, it’s close, it’s collaborative,” she said. “It has raw industrial decor, throbbing urban vibes and best of all—it’s only 20 minutes from Flatbush and 10 minutes from Boro Park.”

She also noted that the event is a full four weeks before Pesach, allowing attendees to shop in advance—and with peace of mind—well before the heavy preparations begin.

Shoppers who love action—non stop hustle and bustle—will love the MRKT. But those who appreciate exclusivity and quiet can also get their fix between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Sunday morning, when the event opens for “Exclusive Early Access” to shoppers who’ve purchased $99 packages or above.

Shoppers in this higher-level category will also get to choose from an array of free gifts: a gourmet dairy lunch from the Brooklyn Artisan Bakehouse and Fork + Bowl, Buttons & Bows ribbed beanie, Buttons & Bows keychain with charger, Driven Day Planner, Kim Kushner cookbook or leather-belted bag from Two 12 Fashion.

The convenience is another huge attraction: Elisheva shared that she frequently gets stopped in the street by people who point to their hat, wig, clothing and accessories, saying “I got this and this and this at the MRKT! I did all my shopping for the season in one day!”

But above all, she sids, the money spent on March 4 and 5 will be money well spent.

“Few organizations have made this kind of impact on this number of women,” Elisheva said. “Ohr Naava is there for every Jewish woman, whatever her background or needs.”

It’s a full-circle effect. Women shoppers come to support women entrepreneurs in an event that sustains a beloved women’s center—a place that continues to transform the lives of thousands.

“Women helping women—I believe this is where the siyata dishmaya comes from,” Elisheva summed up. “The MRKT is a massive event where we have experienced incredible beracha and success. We’re humbled by this circle of giving, and privileged to be a part of it.

By Malka Forster