Brooklyn Flea: Flagship Market of $30B Industry

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July 22 (Bloomberg) –- Brooklyn Flea Co-Founders Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby discuss the logistics of putting on a flea market, why vendors are flocking to them and how Brooklyn Flea differs from others. They speak on “Taking Stock.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Different from other flea markets?

We realized up front that to make something special we would have to curate the section -- selection of vendors.

When we announced in the fall of 2007 on my blog, we had within 48 hours 100 vendors respond.

We knew we were onto something.

We had hundreds and hundreds of vendors applying for the launch create -- launch.

We would look through and figure out what was best and limit the number of vendors in each category and try to create this perfect balance.

That was a novel approach.

We happened to be in the center of the creative world so we had all the stuff to pick from.

Eric denby, described the logistical challenges of putting on a fleamarket.

We were not junior fleamarket operators.

We had not assisted anyone who had run a fleamarket.

We had started from's catch -- from scratch.

We had gone to college.

Did anyone think you were crazy doing this?

I had a perfectly nice career as a journalist and speechwriter and consulting and that's her thing.

That was the straw.

My mother and family all raised in brooklyn not far from where i live now.

Jonathan was born and raised in new york.

I was writing speeches for the world president -- borough president of brooklyn.

We had this early since i'm a if you go back to the followed 2007, brooklyn was not an international brand.

We had an intuitive sense that there could be a gathering space going on and we had some sticks on the ground and cones and pylons all over the yard.

We went through a lot of iterations of how to organize the market.

Now we are a more of a well oiled sheen.

You also have a lot of participation.

Give us an idea of the scale.

300 vendors in the regular rotation.

We have a food market that we launched in 2011. the other fortuitous decision we made early on is to include food in the beginning in 2008 and the food became probably the most popular piece of the fleamarket in some ways and we spun it off in 2011. if you include the food vendors and fleamarket vendors we have 300 on any given weekend.

Almost all of whom are local and making stuff.

You have people who are dying to go.

Thank you very much.


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