Ryan Deuel, 33, drove two hours to come to Bo Diddley Plaza on Sunday morning. His purpose? The Florida Vintage Market.
The Florida Vintage Market, which brings together a collection of vendors selling thrift clothing, artwork, jewelry and other goods, held their monthly fair on Sunday. Deuel, the owner of Royal — a vintage clothing, custom sneaker and art company — was one of 32 vendors at the plaza.
Nathalie Kanda, the 34-year-old organizer of the event, said the Florida Vintage Market began in Orlando last October, was only introduced to Gainesville in January.
“We wanted to do something for the Gainesville community,” Kanda said. “Just kind of build up local businesses and work with makers and vintage collectors.”
While customers perused her artwork, Brittany Webber, 27, sat behind the table displaying her pieces. This is a common scene to Webber, a seven year veteran of marketplaces.
“I never get bored, between talking to people and selling art,” she said as she dipped her paintbrush into a bright orange paint before gently filling in the abstract shape on her canvas.
“I think it adds to the conversation piece when people walk up, because I love talking to people about artwork even if it’s not mine. It’s a good conversation starter,” Webber said.
Webber explained her favorite part of markets isn’t people buying her art, but rather her interactions with customers and attendees. In the past, she has given art away if a customer felt deeply attached upon seeing the piece.
“The fact that they love it so much is more valuable to me than something that’s monetary,” Webber said.
Drew Howard, 24, and Kevin Masaro, 25, said they have been vendors at between 50 to 100 markets. Together, the pair own Always True Lifestyle Co., a company they created 4 years ago. The pair make their own clothes, create art from thrift pieces and collaborate with local artists to create merchandise.
Howard said they named the business after his older brother, a rapper, musician and artist called Always True, who passed away eight years ago. The company lives on in the legacy of him and staying true to one’s self.
The duo said while selling thrift pieces and custom clothing at the market is rewarding, the real reason they attend is to promote their brand and get people interested in their business.
“We’re not here to try to make as much money as possible, we’re here more to meet as many people as possible, share the message, give them a sticker and show them what we’re all about,” Howard said.
Victoria Trieu, 21, was one of many locals to attend the event. Trieu had never been to a market before, but she plans to attend again as she enjoyed the atmosphere, the music and the people.
Trieu said she appreciated how unique the items sold at the market were. She preferred buying clothes in this setting as opposed to in a corporate chain, because of the individuality and sustainability of local businesses.
“It makes it really unique and a special experience because it’s not clothing that you can find anywhere else,” Trieu said.
The Florida Vintage Market will return to Bo Diddley Plaza on Nov. 10.