3 Vendors Share Their Thoughts on the Spring Flea Style Shows
Our spring shows are behind us, and even as we work to get the office reorganized, stash our props and restock our online store, we are planning the next ones. There are big changes afoot — and we know you’re going to love them. As part of our continued effort to learn and improve, we ask our vendors to tell us about their experiences with Flea Style. Here, the creatives behind Sabon Home, Blaine Bowen Jewelry and Hazie Sue, share why they participate, what they liked best and some fun things that happened along the way.
Sam Riahi / Sabon Home
Sam Riahi and her husband curate vintage and found decorative pieces in an eclectic array of styles. Think: Chinoiserie pottery, Southwestern blankets, French cookware and midcentury vases. They sell their collection online and joined the Flea Style family in the spring of 2016, when they participated in her first Flea Style show. “We were hooked!” Sam says. “It opened a door for us to take a direction with something that was just an idea at the time.”
Flea Style: Why did you participate in Flea Style and what was the spring show like for you?
Sam: What first drew me to Flea Style was the marketing. Having owned a chain of stores, I can relate to the marketing efforts and how much goes into appealing to your market. Flea Style does a phenomenal job! The hard work of the Flea Style team is noticed and much appreciated. I see the logistical and creative improvements with each show. The show always exceeds my expectations. One thing we learned this time around: We need a bigger booth!
FS: How does Flea Style compare to your other show experiences?
Sam: We work with one other vintage market show that runs like a franchise with independent “event promoters” for each city but under the umbrella and support of one company/name. We participate in six markets: Denton, McKinney, Glen Rose and Waxahachie. We do well at all of them, but we do best at Flea Style by far. From a design aesthetic, Flea Style appeals to me personally, making it so much fun!
FS: What was the most exciting or important thing that happened for you at the show?
Sam: The most exciting thing was to see how people respond to our vintage finds! My website and shop on Chairish.com both received a boost, which was nice, too! The most asked question was “Do you have a store?” I’ve been chewing on this. I know I don’t want a store, but I am considering partnering with someone for a space in a store where I don’t need to to be there all the time. We were also recruited at Flea Style by Dallas Market Center to participate in its home and gift show in June.
FS: How has Flea Style inspired you or helped your business grow?
Sam: Flea Style has given me the confidence to explore my creative side and learn who my customer is. Gaining a sense of direction is the biggest thing I am thankful for after attending the spring show. Having a clear path will help me grow our business and make it a success — and I thank Flea Style for this! I’m still on a high and my head is spinning with ideas.
Blaine Bowen / Blaine Bowen Jewelry
Blaine Bowen brought her eponymous jewelry line to Flea Style for the first time last fall. (She was also a panelist at our February Summit.) She says the fall show wasn’t just great local exposure for her brand but that it was also the most fun she’s ever had at a work-related event. And that’s why she decided to come back this spring!
FS: You sell at major trade shows yet still showcase at our event. What’s the benefit for your brand?
Blaine: We don’t offer our entire line in the Dallas area, so it’s a great opportunity to let everyone see everything in person. The exposure and response we get is amazing. The customers Flea Style attracts aren’t one-time buyers; they’re very loyal, which is key when you’re trying to grow a business. Flea Style curates vendors really well, so you aren’t seeing the same thing over and over. That’s important, because a lack of variety [negatively] affects both the business and the buyers.
FS: How did the spring Flea Style show compare to your previous show experiences?
Blaine: Flea Style just keeps getting better! As a small business, we have to be careful where we put our dollars, and the Flea Style team truly cares about helping and seeing small brands grow.
FS: What is your favorite part of being a vendor at Flea Style?
Blaine: Working with Brittany and her team and meeting other vendors and discovering new brands! I did quite a bit of shopping at this show and fell in love with so many new companies! I love that it brings likeminded creatives together and promotes our supporting one another rather than competing. That can be difficult at trade shows, so the relaxed atmosphere is so refreshing! It’s great to do something that is so fun while still being profitable.
Jackie Swain / Hazie Sue
Jackie Swain runs vintage-boutique-on-wheels Hazie Sue. Her truck is jampacked with dresses from the ’60s and ’70s (though they are now fewer, since we got done shopping!). Jackie attended the Flea Style Summit in February and Brittany visited her boutique on a trip to Canton. “After having that personal connection and getting to Brittany’s passion for what she does. I was beyond sold and knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be in the show,” she says.
FS: Did the show meet or exceed your expectations?
Jackie: Exceeded! I have participated in several shows, festivals and fleamarket type events, but the quality of Flea Style is beyond. Not only are you all constantly advertising and pushing your vendors, you offer a personal touch with your communication that is hard to find. As for the actual night and day of the show, I felt like I was part of some dreamy awesome eclectic vintage creative family. Everyone supported each other — and then the customers were right up my alley. It really did pull the crowd who loves to support unique small businesses! Major plus!
FS: What was the most exciting thing that happened for you at the show?
Jackie: Connections! Meeting people and other vendors and just getting to discuss small businesses. Also getting new customers and followers who have already purchased from me via Instagram since the show. I feel like Hazie Sue was put on a new level after attending Flea Style. It’s hard coming from East Texas, where people look at you like you are nuts because the vintage clothing trend has not taken off as well. So getting to operate in a fully understood atmosphere is something I will forever be grateful for.
Want to be a vendor at our fall show? Apply now!