The popular Dallas shoppers' market called Flea Style has found a permanent home in Deep Ellum, and will open a retail storefront in a charming historical building on Commerce Street.
Owner Brittany Cobb, who founded the concept in 2009, says she's "giddy" about the space, and hopes to be open in June.
Meanwhile, she'll host another session of her twice-a-year pop-up on April 6-7 at Dallas Market Hall.
The market is a 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 Dallas and Houston. (Houston's event is April 21 at Silver Street Studios.)
Flea Style has been an evolving enterprise: from its early days as "Dallas Flea," a Dallas-themed market, to its 2016 transformation into a broader event called Flea Style encompassing vendors from beyond Dallas, to the founding of its online store.
But for local shoppers, nothing beats the access of a storefront. After much searching, Cobb found a home at 3009 Commerce St., 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.
"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," Cobb 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 storefront on Commerce — 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.
Formerly home to a company called Vogel-Bracken Printers Inc., the space came with antique desks, roll paper cutters, shelving units, shipping pallets, and other office fixtures, which Cobb will transform into display units, workshop tables, and clothes racks.
"We are giddy to breathe new life into these pieces," Cobb says on her beautifully written blog; you can tell she was once a fashion/lifestyles writer for the Dallas Morning News.
"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 7, from 9 am-5 pm, in the North Hall at Dallas Market Hall, 2200 N. Stemmons Fwy. Tickets are $5. A VIP shopping event is April 6, 5-9 pm, for $40. Tickets are here.