|Mon Sept 3 2012 12:42:56|
SoWa Outdoor Market - Shopping Small, Shopping Local
By: Ina Steiner
You've likely heard of food trucks, which are restaurants on wheels seen in many cities these days, but have you heard of fashion trucks? Julia wrote about the trend for Newsflash last week, and I saw them for myself at an outdoor market on Sunday morning.
SoWa Open Market, located in the arts and media district in Boston's South End, is a farmers market, craft fair and vintage/antiques show all in one.
The farmers market features booths from around New England, including Pestos with Panache by Lauren, GimmieSpaghetti.com, Golden Rule Honey (they wrote the book on honey), Nobscot Artisan Cheese (nobscotcheese.com), Deborah's Spreadable Fruit (deborahskitchen.com) and lots and lots of veggies, as well as purveyors of coffee, bread and brownies.
All of the vendors encourage sampling, which added to the enjoyment, and it has a very small hometown feel.
Crafts & More
After prowling the food lot, it was off to the craft fair in another area, also outside. It was booth after booth of handmade items and art, and many of the proprietors also sold their wares on Etsy.
Anyone who goes to such shows won't be surprised to learn most vendors had Square readers so they could process credit card payments on their smart phones. (One artist had a PayAnywhere card reader but said she'd probably switch to PayPal's reader to consolidate her accounts and because she said she felt PayPal was safer.)
Rebecca of Sommer Crafts "rang up" my purchase with the Square card reader.
Along with the scores of food trucks were two "fashion trucks" (giving new meaning to mobile shopping). It was surprising how roomy they were inside - The Fashion Truck had two dressing rooms - Emily said she sources new clothing from New York and LA, and she recently shut her online store temporarily because she only has so much inventory to keep up with sales.
Lola's Urban Vintage truck had one dressing room. Nicoletta (Lola) said she shut her brick-and-mortar store in Allston due in part to the high rent. She sells on Etsy and on her own website, and SoWa was only her second event with the truck.
Both Emily and Lola said they did parties and special events as well as exhibiting outdoor markets, and Lola said she wanted to travel to other cities in the truck.
Seeing the fashion trucks made me wonder:
Antiques dealers use trucks and RVs to cart inventory to antiques fairs - and to sleep in overnight at multi-day shows - will we soon see them on city streets alongside food trucks and fashion trucks? And hosting special events and parties?
The SoWa Vintage Market is held inside every Sunday at 460C Harrison Avenue, a former warehouse that is charming inside - brick walls, plywood floors and big windows. The space was jam-packed with vintage/antique goodies, everything from vintage Coach purses, glassware, china, clothing, furniture and odds and ends.
I always enjoy shopping from small merchants and artisans, and SoWa gave me a chance to shop local, too. With fall in the air, it was easy to think about early Christmas shopping.
What trends are you seeing at the fairs and shows at which you attend/exhibit?