Meet 3 of the artists selling candles, home decor and more at Mountain View’s MOMENT Marketplace

MOMENT Marketplace is a pop-up retail shop at Google Visitor Experience showcasing work by local small businesses and artists. Courtesy MOMENT.

At the new Google Visitor Experience, which opened at the company’s Gradient Canopy campus in Mountain View in October, you can, as you might expect, check out the Google Store, full of the latest tech products and branded Google merch. But nearby, tucked next to a cafe and community space, is a quite different type of store. Here, quirky, handmade art, home decor, skin care products, jewelry and much more are on display – from scented candles to crochet keychains. 

This is the MOMENT Marketplace pop-up shop, showcasing the work of more than 75 Bay Area indie makers with a theme that changes every three months. The pop-up is curated and operated by the team behind San Jose Made (SJMADE), which has a long history of working with artists and small businesses (the MOMENT brand also operates several micro-retailer projects in San Jose.)

Featured now is the Clay & Craft Pop-up Shop, highlighting clay-based goods as well as other products featuring “natural and Earth elements,” which will be up through April 22, according to MOMENT project coordinator Audrey Yeung.

Read on to meet a few of the makers featured at the MOMENT Marketplace right now.

Light & Flicker is based in Redwood City and is inspired by “everything cozy.” Courtesy Light & Flicker.

‘Everything cozy’: Light & Flicker

Light & Flicker, the Redwood City brand producing handmade scented candles and soaps, “was created out of everything cozy,” said co-founder Melissa Cortez.

“My husband (Ian Harvey) and I are probably the biggest introverts you’ll ever meet. We spend a lot of time at home.” Her favorite activity, she said, is to curl up with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate or coffee, with a candle flickering nearby. 

Cortez’s interest in making her own candles coincided with a desire to make her lifestyle more eco-friendly, including carefully looking up the ingredients of the products she consumes. She was dismayed to learn that many of the candles she’d been burning contained elements she wasn’t comfortable with. 

“I want to know what I’m breathing inside my body,” she recalled thinking. Cortez, who worked as a nurse for 13 years, decided that her concerns meant taking things into her own hands, literally.

“We started creating our own candles for fun, then we started giving them away to friends and family,” she recalled. In 2018, the couple participated in a craft fair at the Ecology Center in Berkeley and have been going strong since, frequently selling at pop-ups and markets as well as in several Bay Area retail shops, including MOMENT Marketplace.

“We use non-toxic, kid-friendly and pet-friendly phthalate-free fragrance oils and essential oils,” she said of Light & Flicker’s candles, which are made from soy wax. “Our jars are recycled jars as well. I work with a company that does the recycling.” 

The candles come in more than 50 scents, catering to a range of preferences.

“Everyone is different. Some people like really musky scents, some people like woodsy, some people like fruity. Only a few people like hyper-floral candles but we make them,” she said. 

The cereal and milk option “smells like Froot Loops,” while the pineapple slush scent is evocative of a Dole Whip from Disneyland. And the tomato leaf candle “sells out in every farmers market,” she said. Her personal favorite is also their bestseller – sea salt and jasmine. “It also depends where we are selling,” she said. “In Mountain View, that area loves white tea.” 

The products are still made at home in Redwood City, although they’ve upgraded the space as the business has grown.

“It started in the kitchen. When it got bigger we had to move to where we could convert one room into a studio,” she said (they’ve also expanded into making cold process soaps.) Their family has evolved too, as they’re now expecting their first child.

“Our business is growing – and our relationship – and I’m sharing it with all the people we do markets with, and our customers,” she said. “I feel like they’re my family now. The sense of community is there.” 

Instagram: @lightandflicker.

Midnight Cottage Co.’s aesthetic is “witchy, cottage-core.” Courtesy Midnight Cottage Co.

‘Mushrooms and moons’: Midnight Cottage Co.

Melissa Szwec-Rowland, the maker behind Midnight Cottage Co., describes her work as having a “witchy, cottage-core” aesthetic with natural elements and celestial vibes.

“Mushrooms and moons,” she said of some of her most popular designs, which are also among her favorites to make. “People love those.” 

At the MOMENT pop-up shop, visitors can check out her whimsical home decor items, such as ceramic trinket trays and wooden wall hangings. The resin-shined creations feature cosmic motifs like lunar phases and twinkling stars, as well as charming forest scenes complete with colorful toadstools, moss and pressed leaves.

Melissa Rowland is the founder of Midnight Cottage Co. Courtesy Melissa Rowland.

Szwec-Rowland has “always been a creative type, ever since I was little,” she said. She studied fashion design, then found a long career working for the Bay Area retailer Therapy, including as its visual merchandiser. For a bit, she switched gears and worked in e-commerce (an experience that proved useful once she set up her own business), but in the early part of the pandemic, after being laid off, she decided to follow her heart and focus on her own brand.

“I just figured it was the perfect time to start doing something I love,” she said, and she’s been running Midnight Cottage Co. out of her San Jose home since. She began doing pop-ups and craft shows with San Jose Made, and when she was offered the Clay & Craft slot, “of course I had to say yes,” she said. 

The opportunity to be included at the Google retail location means, “there’s a lot of chances people will see my work and say, ‘I wonder what else she has?’” she said. (Just recently she launched her newest collection, called Enchanted Garden.) “I’m hoping they’ll have another theme that will allow me to be a part of it again because it’s been pretty great so far.” 

Instagram: @midnight_cottage_co.

Erin Salazar’s one-stroke floral painting adorns everything from vinyl records to jewelry. Courtesy Erin Salazar.

‘Unabashedly feminine’: Little Shop of Florals

Erin Salazar’s “unabashedly feminine” work – stylized, colorful florals, often against bold black backgrounds, hand-painted on candles, earrings and even vinyl records – immediately stands out amongst the MOMENT Marketplace offerings, with each piece one of a kind.

“My work in that context revolves around this particular type of folk painting called one-stroke floral painting, a technique that is largely used in the decorative arts” (such as on bowls, plates and other decorated utilitarian objects), said Salazar, who is also a muralist. She paints with awareness of and appreciation for the generations of uncredited female artisans who came before her.

“Women’s work has not historically been valued in the way men’s has,” she noted, so for her, “the essence of the work is rooted in paying homage to the anonymous women who helped define visual culture through the decorative arts.”

The technique also helps her keep up an active painting practice even when life gets hectic. In addition to being a working artist, Salazar is the executive director of the San Jose-based arts nonprofit Local Color (which, among many other endeavors, hosts community art-making experiences at the Google Visitor Experience).

Artist Erin Salazar is a painter and leader of Local Color, an arts nonprofit. Courtesy Erin Salazar.

“I just like to paint a whole lot,” she said, but since she’s extremely busy, “I need something that goes fast, that’s rewarding immediately.” 

She sees the “little commodifiable goods” she makes for spaces like MOMENT Marketplace under the name Little Shop of Florals as creating “an entry point into seeing my bigger, more expressive studio and gallery-related work,” she said. 

“It’s been really wonderful to watch our businesses grow at the same point,” she said of San Jose Made and Local Color, “doing the good work of keeping the creative community going.” 


MOMENT Marketplace (at Google Visitor Experience),  2000 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View; Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Instagram: @momentpopup.