If you looked up the definition of the term Botanica, your search results would show you that it’s defined as a small store that sells herbal and traditional remedies. That definition doesn’t come close to scratching the surface of what Botanica Galactica truly is.
Botanica Galactica, 719 S. 5th St., is a shop that hosts a variety of local brands and specializes in all sorts of things such as vintage clothing to local skincare products.
The store space itself is charming and welcoming. It also plays a role in gathering the community through wellness and art. One of the ways that’s achieved is by hosting a night market.
Mariyam Nayeri, the owner of Botanica Galactica, says her love for markets originated from her grandparents being avid collectors.
“We would often spend time at 7 Mile Fair, it’s not far from here,” said Nayeri. “Selling my grandmothers’ jewelry and cooking ware collection and my grandfathers’ baseball cards and it was really embedded in our lives.”
Botanica Galactica hosted the Bota Gala Night Market at the Zocalo Food Park. As visitors walk in they are greeted with the wonderful smells from the food trucks. The atmosphere is vibrant from the people and the music brought it back to the ’90s with DJ Nikki La Bomba and DJ Romke.
The central focus within the market were the vendors throughout the space. Nayeri says the market was a way to celebrate entrepreneurs.
“It’s a space where people can come together, meet new people, connect with old friends and just celebrate,” said Nayeri.
Here are some of the vendors that were present at Bota Gala Night Market
Fanana Banana is an organization that aims to shine a spotlight on Muslim artists in Milwaukee. Some of the artists that have been highlighted from Fanana Banana art graphic designers, painters and poets.
Mila Hakim, co-founder of Fanana Banana, said it was her first time at the market but still felt included within the space.
“I love how it’s cozy enough for you to talk to people and meet with people but it’s large to walk around and just enjoy the experience without feeling lost or feeling like you’re out here on your own, kind of thing so I love it,” said Hakim.
Check out Fanana Banana’s Instagram page.
Conxa Apparel is a street and lifestyle apparel company. Taylor Herrada, co-owner of Conxa Apparel, said they started the company because they felt there was a lack of Latino representation within the retail industry.
“I’ve seen a bunch of Latina businesses opening up but there is a lack of representation for men as well,” said Herrada. “So just making sure we are inclusive of men, women, non-binary, children, that they can be able to represent their memories from their childhood and feel good about what they are wearing.”
Check out Conxa Apparel’s online shop.
Rumaneh is a local, traditonal and organic skincare line that is inspired by Palestinian remedies and heritage.
The brand name, Rumaneh, is the Arabic translation of pomegranate. Bisan Muna, the owner of Rumaneh, said the name is meant to honor her grandparents’ garden.
Check out Rumaneh’s online shop.
Made By a Sunflower Soul
Made by a Sunflower Soul is a brand created by Brianna Richmond specializing in local, handmade high vibrational healing adornments.
“I specialize in making wire wrap pieces,” said Richmond. “As I create, I create in a meditative state so everything always has its own different little flavor to it and always turns out different.”
Check out Made by a Sunflower Soul’s Instagram page.
I personally have a great love for markets. There is something special about gravitating toward an uncommon, beautiful item and meeting the person who created it. Maybe even taking that item home and allowing it to become part of your story. The Bota Gala Night Market and even Botanica Galactica, in general, is a way that our city can collaborate and be apart of something.