Crafting is more than a hobby, in my case. It is a habit I can’t kick and a lifestyle I can’t really afford. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it!…. besides the money it takes to fund all of the continuous new ideas and investments in stock.
The way I support my habit is through selling my work, both online and in person at markets and fairs. I have a lot of advice to give for those who are thinking about selling at a market, but for now I will give you a review about the widely popular PRFM or Punk Rock Flea Market, particularly in Philly. The most recent market that I attended as a vendor was on June 7, in Chinatown.
Overall, this was one of my most lucrative markets as a vendor. I also have to add that this was my first experience with PRFM.
The event opens it’s doors to shoppers at 11 am, and vendors were allowed to come set up as early as 7 am. I am not a morning person, so I ended up getting there around 9:30 am. The parking lot was directly next to the venue, but I was a little perturbed at the additional $10 charge to park. I had already paid $70 as an “Artisan & Crafter”, and didn’t expect to shell out more money for one day of a flea market.
Anyway, it was very close to the doors, and that was very important (I was unloading by myself), so it didn’t even close to ruin my day. When I walked through the doors to check in, they gave me a wrist band and then offered however many additional ones for those who might be helping me vend (I felt like a loser). The venue apparently has weekly flea markets, and has wooden tables set up all along the walls and walkways. It was big for an indoor flea market! The spot had two chairs and a 6 by 3 foot table set up with my name, waiting for me in the Artisan & Crafter section.
I definitely was glad to be in the separate area. It was basically a large additional room, with much more space for customers. We also were placed in front of a wall (instead of back to back with another vendor), which made me a little more comfortable in the end. Setting up was not hectic in any way, and I had enough room, although less than I am used to. The entire area was about 6 ft by 5 ft, and I am used to outdoor markets with upwards of 10 x 10′ of room. Your table is right up against your neighbor’s, so there’s not room for a free standing display.
The shoppers were lined up outside of the doors an hour before the event started! PRFM has a great reputation for unique and inexpensive finds in the thrift & flea section, and it attracts a lot of people! The admission fee is $3, and they receive a wristband. The crowd was of all ages, but mostly between 16 and 30 years old. There were a few middle-aged people sprinkled in there, a group of old girlfriends going out for a Sunday activity, a mom with her daughter and tagalong friends. There were a LOT of couples of all kinds. It wasn’t necessarily diverse in demographic, but it was a unique mixture of styles and tastes and an awesome people watching experience from my perspective.
The “punk” aspect of the title is a little misleading. There are definitely some more hardcore punk tables and vendors, but I would label it with “hipster” if I had to pick a stereotype. The clientele are looking for good quality, handpicked vintage items, or handmade goods that are unlike anything they have seen before. I think that is part of why this market was so successful for me.
My merchandise includes handmade cards, vintage book page prints, embellished flannels, a curated collection of vintage Levi jeans/cut offs, and of course my Resin Fruit Jewelry. I usually have more vintage clothing and shoes, but I couldn’t bring a fitting room or clothing rack, so I stuck with the basics.
In the end, I made well over my investment for renting the space. Everyone was there to buy buy buy because this market only happens 2 times a year, so most customers are prepared to purchase something. It’s looked forward to, for sure.
- A lot of foot traffic
- Publicized event with a lot of hype
- Friendly, excited vendors
- Customers prepared to spend money
- Very big venue
- Prepared staff, smoothly run
- Easy to make profit
- No air conditioning/air flow
- Expensive to participate as a vendor for a flea market
- No room for clothing racks/fitting rooms unless specifically request permission (6-7 months in advance)
- Small amount of space per vendor
- Vendor spots sell out FAST (1-2 days time of going on sale)
- Slightly overwhelming