We're always looking to see what it's like to be a vendor at emerging craft markets. This week we have member April Laird of Smithy Jewelry talking about her experience at the new Downtown Los Angeles market Artists and Fleas.
Q: How did you hear about Artists and Fleas?
A: I’d heard of the Artists and Fleas market brand through a few fellow jewelers that vend at the weekly Brooklyn market in Williamsburg.
Q: Why did you decide to do this show and have you done it before?
A: I have visited the A&F show in Brooklyn a few times in the past and it had a great atmosphere. When I heard about the LA installment, I attended the first A&F in LA and really liked the space. The outdoor market locations of the Arts District are really starting to take ground in Downtown LA, and I think this show will be a strong front runner in that area.
Q: What's the application process like?
A: The daily fee for this show is $150. This is certainly not cheap for a brand new show. However, I believe the organizers add as much value as possible and will continue to heighten the brand recognition. The amount of promotion done and the strong pre-existing brand awareness for A&F makes for a higher jumping off point.
I submitted a concise application outlining my product, my social networking presence, and contact info; pretty standard stuff. Also, the coordinator, Mikayla, couldn’t be sweeter or more on top of things! I felt very genuinely welcomed as a vendor, not just because I was willing to pay the fee. I’ll be vending again on Sunday, July 20th.
Q: What was the atmosphere like? Who was there? What could you do?
A: There is a Dj booth and live music near the front entrance of the market, which were really good/inviting, and didn’t overpower any part of the market. It made for a nice relaxing atmosphere. Most of the vendors are currently jewelry and clothing based, but I think it will naturally open up to other goods.
There are still a few things I would like to see worked out too, as far as the activities offered. To my knowledge, the show plans to have more food and drink vendors, for instance. I only saw three total so far. That, paired with slightly better bathroom facilities would really benefit the show.
Q: What was the set-up like? Indoors/outdoors? Walls? Where was it?
A: Artists and Fleas LA is housed in an outdoor hanger in the Arts District of Downtown LA (647 Mateo St 90021). Most of the market is shaded, which is great for customers and venders alike. Under the hanger, booths are set up along corrugated metal walls on the outside aisles and clustered in a center aisle with tables and some pop ups. The front uncovered area of the market is reserved for larger goods, such as vintage reclaimed furniture, and home goods, etc while the back area houses any food trucks and vendors. The show will provide a pop up tent and tables for additional rental fees too.
Q: What kind of vendor would do well here or not do well here?
A: I can only speculate as to what may or may not do well at A&F, but the NYC markets are generally geared toward clothing and jewelry. Here in LA, there are a few decor vendors, such as concrete planters, vintage signage, and furniture, but I think it would benefit the market to have more paper goods, and fine art.
Q: What should people know when considering Artists and Fleas?
A: Regardless of their success in Manhattan and Brooklyn, this show is still very new in LA and is still building its brand. I would urge interested vendors to weigh the fee against what a decent market day looks like for their company before making any decisions to vend with A&F.
The major benefits are ample/free parking, free admission, strong organization, and market promotion. Other variables should be considered on a case by case basis, in my opinion.
Q: Anything else?
A: There were so many cute doggies! I am bringing mine next time. :)
Photos courtesy Artists & Fleas