The popular shoppers' market called Flea Style returns to Houston for a spring event that will take over arts and event complex Silver Street Studios for one day on April 21, with more than 120 vendors offering art, furniture, paper goods, fashion, jewelry, kids items, men's products, and dog gear.
Flea Style is a Dallas-based shopping event and hipster paradise, specializing in handmade, vintage, and one-of-a-kind fashion and home goods from artisans and small businesses, and takes place twice a year, in Houston and Dallas.
It has been an evolving enterprise. It started out as "Dallas Flea," a Dallas-themed market, before transforming in 2016 into a broader event called Flea Style that encompassed vendors from beyond Dallas. It also has an online store.
For some shoppers, nothing beats the access of a storefront. Founder Brittany Cobb is opening a store in Dallas' Deep Ellum, in a former printing business that had been in business for decades.
Conventional wisdom regarding retail is that it's shrinking, not getting bigger. But what Flea Style does is unique and it continues to field a growing audience, Cobb says.
"You hear all these horror stories about how Amazon is the future and nobody wants to shop, but we're providing a product you can't buy anywhere else," she says. "We don't have competition. Our tagline is 'handmade, vintage, one-of-a-kind,' and our vendors have to hit one of those three things. If you come to our show, you'll find things you'd never see at a mall."
She also favors objects that are reasonably priced. "We're big on affordability," she says. "With only a few exceptions, our goal is nothing over $100."
The merchandise is all lifestyle-related, with a casual-chic hippie vibe: all perfectly faded jeans and macrame sweaters and slouchy canvas bags.
There are culinary items like hand-carved wooden spoons, lighting, textiles, pillows, art prints, furniture — "anything you put in your home," she says. "We have jewelry, clothing — from kids stuff to vintage clothing — cowboy boots, belts, all vintage or handmade. And then beyond that, all the fun little categories like pet collars and apothecary items and hand-painted cards for $4. That booth sells out every time."
Cobb seeks out the mom-and-pops, the hobbyists doing what they love on the side, the finds that are not sold anywhere else.
"In this world, there's a new business popping up every day," she says. "And a lot of our vendors are collectors, so they never have the same items every time. That's why every show we do is so newsworthy."
The Dallas storefront — with its exposed brick walls, concrete floors, and painting-chipped ceiling tiles — is a perfect fit with Flea Style's recycled aesthetic. Most of the space will be dedicated to retail, but they're also building a studio/event space where they'll host classes and make it available for birthday parties, art camps, and other community activities.
"It's a building from 1897, and in an area of town that I want to support and help its further revitalization," she says.
Flea Style takes place April 21, from 9 am-5 pm, at Silver Studios, at 2000 Edwards St. Tickets are $5. Tickets are here.