Cleveland Holiday Flea - 1 Success, 1 Failure, 1 Tip, 1 Reflection

Last weekend's Cleveland Holiday Flea capped off my novice first year of flea market selling so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some of my learnings and reflect back on where this year started.

It's important to me that my booth and my Somethings represent my style, and look like a cohesive collection. So choosing a theme (and sticking to it!) was the best way for me to achieve the look I wanted. I started by choosing an overarching theme, and for this particular flea market it was really easy -- Vintage Christmas! I then decided on colors, patterns, textures, and details I could thread throughout. I put together a mood board to keep me on track as I bought and made things for the show. I have terrible self-control when it comes to thrifting, so before i would buy anything I would ask myself "Is this representative of what you have on the mood board?" If the answer wasn't "yes!" then my internal voice would try to convince me that I should still buy it anyway, and on a few occasions that voice was quite convincing and the reason I now have an unnecessary amount of Reader's Digest Books, but for the most part, the mood board helped keep me straight!

Mood Board - Inspiration
A portion of the final STBF collection shot by Suzuran Photography

Something to be Found Booth at Cleveland Holiday Flea

This is a mistake I continue to make over, and over, and over again. I hand out my business cards to everyone but fail to collect the information of my customers, interested buyers, and new friends. By failing to do this, here's some of the opportunities that I miss out on:
  • Sending out email blasts with special announcements, like when I (nervously) open an etsy shop in 2014 
  • Sending out a list of discounted items that didn't sell at the flea
  • Requesting that buyers send me pictures of there Somethings in their new home. I beg & plead with ask every customer to do this when they purchase, but by the time they get home and get it set up my business card is probably long gone.
  • Asking customers for feedback!  

Meeting and befriending the other vendors has been one of the best parts about getting involved with the Cleveland Flea. I've met so many interesting, funny, and talented people who share the same passion and live in the SAME CITY! That means we can invite each other to local shows, seminars, events, and gatherings -- we can go thrifting together (yay, Olivia!) and share our favorite hot spots -- we can seek assistance from one another on pricing, packaging, and selling online -- and best of all, we can be inspired by one another.

Olivia from ode{vintage} inspires me by staying true to who she is and only
selling things that represent her style. Her booth is always neat, organized,
clutter-free, and calming! 

Courtney from 23 Skidoo inspires me with her brand marketing. When you
 purchase a dress from her you become an official Skadette and are given
 two buttons, a patch and a little canvas tote. She also snail mail's you
a hand-written note! HAND-WRITTEN!

Remember last year when I attended the Cleveland Flea for the very first time (as a shopper and nervous creeper) and ended up on 19 Action News?  If not, quick cliff's note version is that I went to check out the flea in hopes that I could be a vendor there some day, but then saw how incredible these artisans were and felt like I was waaaay out of my league. So I removed my nervous creeper hat and put on my shopping hat, which eventually led me to the bathroom to try on a vintage dress... at the same time 19 Action News anchor, Dawn Kendrick was in there re-applying her make-up. 5 minutes later I was on camera in a vintage dress, with an unwashed messy hair bun, converse sneakers, and an adrenaline smile so wide you'd a thought I had plastic surgery!

After the interview, and before the adrenaline wore off, I decided to seize the moment and just go for it, to take the plunge and apply to be a vendor at the next flea.

And it was so worth it! Now four flea markets later and knowing that I've found one of my true passions, I am so thankful for that moment. Because of that, Ms. Dawn Kendrick holds a special place in my heart. I've kept in email communication with her over the months and it was such a great surprise to see her again at this last flea.

Dawn Kendrick - 19 Action News

A HUGE thanks to all my friends and family that were able to make it out to the Cleveland Fleas this year. Seeing your faces is always the BEST part of the day :)


  1. I loved this post, Katie! Such an awesome story :) I'll have too shoot and style my Something for an IG post soon!

    1. LOL - You definitely need to send a picture, Erica! That is such a great story. Gotta love my husband.

  2. This is so great, I enjoyed following your flea adventures and am so happy I was able to see it live. I honestly came up there to see you! I appreciate that you shared your experiences with us. You did such a wonderful job making your booth look cohesive and like a little pop-up shop. I absolutely LOVE your idea about a collab. I'm going to email you about that ASAP.

    1. Hi Dina! I passed out on the couch last night at 9pm and in a groggy state heading to bed at midnight I could have sworn I saw an email from you on my phone, but this morning it wasnt there. Was I possibly dreaming? Or did I accidentaly delete it from my phone?

  3. Congratulations on a great first year! You really are inspiring!

    1. Thanks Kush! And thanks for all your support and attendance at the fleas. How's Todd's Hockey stick tree coat doin?

  4. Love this post! You have done so many amazing things this year! Will send you pics of treasures you've found for me! :-)

  5. What a great post Katie! You're so thoughtful and this has definitely been an inspiration to me! So excited for Etsy 2014!!