The Trinity Bellwoods Flea
The Trinity Bellwoods Flea has quickly become our favourite monthly pop-up shopping experience. With a Shop-Local focus and an ever-changing landscape of talented designers and artisans, the market is a great place to meet new people and find delightful must-have items. As much as we hate to admit it, our minds are already drifting towards holiday shopping, and this event is a one-stop shopping experience to avoid the shopping nightmare this season.
We had a few minutes to sit down with the woman behind the flea, Felicia, who also designs a heavenly line of deliciously scented eco-friendly soy candles called Citchen Candle Co. (our homes are full of them!).
What has been your goal/focus with The Trinity Bellwoods Flea?
I have always seen it from three different perspectives: How the vendors saw and needed the market, how the customers saw the market, and how the market fit the community.
My ongoing goal is to keep the market affordable for vendors as well as to provide them with exposure and promotion. I wanted The Trinity Bellwoods Flea to be a stepping stone for vendors and artisans, a place where no matter what your business goals are, the market would serve your purpose. For some, starting out [here gets] their feet wet, allowing them to try out products and learn from other vendors. For others it is a tool to build their brand and gain exposure, or a space where they can reconnect with their customer base.
From a customer perspective, it is always my goal to keep them engaged and encourage them to shop local which I do by keeping the vendors fresh and interesting. It’s all about giving people what they want which can sometimes be as simple as expanding on a certain category. The great thing about The Trinity Bellwoods Flea being local is we get great dialogue with our customers. They aren’t afraid to express what they would like to see more of.
From a community aspect, we stay true to the ideal that communities thrive when they co-exist and interact in a positive way with other communities. The shop and support local movement is really big right now and receiving a lot of support. If we can use that support to bring more traffic to the Dundas West Community and promote shopping local beyond the market, that’s great. We also use the market as an opportunity to support local charities.
We are essentially a community of artists, vendors, and creative talent and are fortunate enough to be receiving a lot of community support.
Your events are so well-curated. There is a fantastic range of designers that are all local. It’s a great opportunity for people to discover and connect with designers in their area. How do you select and curate your events so well?
Thank you! The vendors typically approach me, although I do from time-to-time seek out niche vendors and products. I curate the market in the same way someone would curate a retail store. I figure out what customers want to see at different times of the year and curate based off that. I do stick to one key word: Variety. I select vendors based on what customers are buying and what they are looking for. This gives them the variety they like to see and vendors the opportunity to interact with a broad spectrum of customers. My job is to keep the balance and that seems to be working well so far.
I’ve noticed that your monthly events also have a charity component to them as well. I love to see people giving back to their community. Tell me how you brought that aspect of our community into the event.
Through our own community support, we have a the opportunity to use that support to help others in our community that are in need. At the upcoming market, we are collecting hats, socks, gloves, and men’s pants [sizes 32, 34, 36] to donate to some of the men’s shelters in the city.
What would have been the good of all our attention and buzz with The Trinity Bellwoods Flea if we couldn’t do something further and better, something that engages the public and gets them involved with those in our community that need a bit of a helping hand. You will notice over the next few months that the organizations and groups we are supporting are a bit off the beaten path, an intentional choice to help get resources to those who need it most.
What is one of the biggest pieces of advice that you think all designers need to hear?
Vision and image.
Figure out what the vision for your product and brand is, and run with it. Stick to it and make it your signature. If your brand and vision is dark and off-beat, own it and commit to it. When you have a clear brand image and vision, it makes buyers, retail owners, writers, and bloggers have an easier time connecting with you. It helps us figure out who you are, what your brand is, and who is going to buy it. Once you have a defined vision and image, you will attract the kind of customers, retailers, and press who are interested in your products.
One quote that has resonated with me, is “Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.” I like that phrase because it is honest and true. If you want to be seen, you have to make yourself visible. You could have the best products and designs in the world, but what good is that if no one sees it.
The Trinity Bellwoods Flea is happening this upcoming Saturday, October 17th from 11 am – 6 pm. Pop by Studio Bar (824 Dundas Street West, Toronto) for a fantastic shop and some cocktail specialities from the bar.