Yesterday I visited for the first time The Cleveland Flea – “part urban treasure hunt, part culinary adventure, part maker center.” Having never heard about this little gem of a market, I can easily say it’s one of Cleveland’s best kept secrets. I’ve been flea market shopping many times before, so I was expecting some sketchy guy selling bootlegged DVDs out of his trunk or knock-off designer purses or out-of-date Avon cosmetics (all true stories at our local flea market).
But I was pleasantly surprised at The CLE Flea.
They have a standard the vendors must meet and every vendor goes through a review before being approved to sell there. I really loved the emphasis on sustainability, whether intentional or not. There were so many homemade soaps, upcycled home decor, re-used vintage clothing, handmade jewelry, organic produce. Everyone’s displays and products where just oozing with creative originality and I could feel the authenticity and sincerity coming from the vendors. I also think it is smart that this flea market is only held once a month – it keeps the ideas fresh, the vendors and shoppers from getting burnt out and it gets people more excited to visit and spend money on small business owners and local artisans.
I was going just to check things out for the first time so I didn’t haven’t anything particular in mind to shop for. I walked away with a mini plant in a reused jar and a homemade coaster for my desk at work, a handmade hair bow for my daughter and homemade perfume. This was my favorite purchase – homemade perfume using essential oils and other natural ingredients with zero waste packaging in a reusable glass roll-on applicator – everything I love!
The next market is Saturday, October 12th on E.55th and St. Clair in Cleveland and you can bet I’ll be there (and so should you)!