It’s a month and a half away from the Vintage Charlotte Winter Market and applications to be a vendor are now open. It feels like yesterday we were all standing in line waiting to get into Charlotte’s biggest vintage and handmade pop-up market ready to score the perfect vintage tee or discover the next handmade jewelry designer.
That Summer Market was held at a new location on Tryon Street this past July and was visited by more than 3,100 people. That’s 3,100+ potential new customers for some of Charlotte’s most hard-working and creative minds. The 80 vendors that were selected to sell at the summer market got a small space to showcase their collections and goods, and each space was like walking into a different world.
This Winter Market will be back at the Fillmore in November and similar to last year’s. Sixty-five of the area’s most talented handmade businesses and vintage collectors will come together in a one-stop-shop market just in time for holiday gift giving. The Fillmore’s support, cool atmosphere and friendly staff have a huge hand in bringing the market back to the Music Factory. Applications opened September 24 and close this Sunday (only a week and a half window to apply). That’s how big it’s gotten and how selective Vintage Charlotte has to be in the vendor selection process.
Most vendors selected are established small business owners, whether full-time or part-time, because the market and the sales volume that comes in and out are too big for hobbyists to handle. Vendors really have to have a solid stock of goods, a substantial social media presence and a well-branded image to even be considered.
I learned from Amy Herman, coordinator of Vintage Charlotte pop-up markets, that just because you’ve participated in the past doesn’t necessarily mean an instant spot in a future market. It’s the best of the best for these events, which can be promising for up and coming vendors who haven’t participated in the past. If you can bring a customer following and prove your worth to the market, then there’s always a chance to get a spot in this exclusive event. With that being said, there are certain categories that seem to be missing from the application list and Amy hopes to see (and has already seen) in the pot. Specifically ceramics and wall-hanging weavings. They may have been a part of a previous market, but there is definitely room for these categories to grow.
I think the success of the Vintage Charlotte Market centers around the sense of community it bring to Charlotte. These twice-yearly markets bring together a part of of city that is supportive, curious, and all-around fun. It brings together the creatives and the consumer, something that can be tough in a face-to-face setting. A lot of the Vintage Charlotte vendors have success selling online and in other stores, but these markets give an opportunity for the creatives to meet loyal, new, and potential customers alike. It’s a place to learn and appreciate vintage and handmade goods and thank the people who are willing to share their passion with us regular folk who don’t have a creative bone in our bodies.
For those of you who are dedicated attendees or plan to show up this time around, Amy let me know there’s “something up her sleeve” and a surprise toward the end of the year. I was antsy to know what that surprise would be, but she was holding strong in her secret. Feel free to go poke and prod her to get the secret out and make sure you share it with me when you do.