While the festival season has been running dominant over many of the parks and recreational areas in the city, we tend to forget that there are a few markets happening on a weekly and monthly basis. --- You've got your Farmers Market over at Pioneer Park, your Park Silly making Park City silly for a day, and, of course, your Peoples Market at the Peace Gardens. But once a month, there's a special market taking up a certain street that's become one of the most popular in the city.
The Salty Streets Flea Market got its start back in the spring of 2010, taking over Kilby Court (the actual street the namesake venue calls home) with booths and vendors galore, all with cheaply priced daytime concerts and a skate ramp to display on. The market returns this holiday weekend on Sunday with a killer lineup and an impressive array of material for you to check out and snatch up. But before you head out, we sat down and chatted with the two founders behind the event to talk about its origins and the success they had last year, along with thoughts on other markets and what to expect on Sunday.
Audrey Gallegos and Karamea Puriri
Gavin: Hey, Karamea and Audrey! First off, how did the two of you first meet each other and become friends?
Karamea: We met through mutual friends last year when Audrey was home for a visit. We kept in touch and ended up talking almost everyday after she went back to San Fran, and have been friends ever since!
Gavin: Karamea, I know you have an MBA in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University. What made you choose Full Sail and what was their program like for you?
Karamea: Full Sail University is an amazing school. It’s degree-oriented, and you don’t have to worry about taking any of the general ed classes, like pottery or gym! ... not that there is anything wrong with that! As soon as I came across Full Sail and flew out there to visit the school, I knew it was the perfect school for me. I prefer hands-on learning and a busy-bee type of environment and that is exactly what I got. I had amazing teachers, straight from the entertainment industry, and gained experience that has continued to benefit me and assist me in the various projects and adventures I take on.
Gavin: Audrey, you're currently earning your degree at the U, but you've also got a diploma from the Blanche MacDonald Centre in Fashion Merchandising. What has it been like for you earning your degrees and learning the business end of things?
Audrey: Getting my degree was a big accomplishment, but I definitely believe getting experience in your field of work is the most important thing you can do to better yourself as a professional.
Gavin: How did the idea for the Salty Streets Flea Market come about?
Audrey: After talking so many times on the phone, and realizing that we both had this huge love for Salt Lake, we knew there was something more we could be doing that would give us a chance to get more involved in the community. Creating a place for people to come together while also providing us with experience to add to our resumes is what we were looking to accomplish. After tossing around a number of ideas -- taking pieces from what each of us have done in the past -- we came up with a marketing idea which eventually found its way into being dubbed a "flea market," it sounded great, so we ran with it!
Gavin: With all the other markets around like People, Farmers and Park Silly, what did you do with yours to separate it from the others?
Karamea: The SSFM gives vendors a chance to sell whatever they want; it doesn’t have to be strictly craft items or food. We’ve had everything from jewelry and crocheted goods to laser discs, stencil art, dollar records and more. Someone even sold off eggs and veggies from there own garden, while also selling T-shirts and other handmade clothing. It’s always a surprise. For the most part, we know what the vendors are bringing, but until the booths are set up and ready to go we never know what is going to be there! It’s also an affordable way for first-time vendors to test out the idea of selling at a market.
Gavin: What made you decide on Kilby Court for the location, and how was it approaching Lance and Will to hold the event there?
Audrey: Whether we are new or old to this city, Kilby Court has played a significant role in the music community. With Lance and Will being close friends of ours, we support everything they are a part of. By having the market at Kilby, it gives everyone a chance to "walk down memory lane." We’ve had past regulars of Kilby shows show up with their young kids and tell tales of when they were sitting in front of the stage and so-and-so was playing.
Karamea: When we came up with this idea, Lance had known for a few days that we were thinking of something we could do with Kilby. When we came to him with the idea, there was no question, they we’re equally interested in making it happen. We sat around courtyard imagining how it would play out. One month later, it was full of people. It just happened.
Gavin: What was the process like for you both getting vendors to come out with their goods?
Karamea: Finding vendors for SSFM was a bit of an experience in itself. When we initially started the market, we already had friends in mind that we knew had things they were making, or were vintage pickers and just needed a place to sell off their goods. Audrey found a few vendors through Etsy.com.
Audrey: Many vendors are folks who have things to sell but couldn’t find the right market or venue to do so, or couldn’t afford the fees. We started giving people our email address, and searching for vendors on our own. In three weeks time, we had created a list of over 25 vendors. Sometimes vendors seek us out, other times we are the ones doing the seeking -- it makes each month different and exciting.
Gavin: For those who may not know, explain how your flea market works for buying and trading.
Audrey: When someone thinks "flea market," they expect flea market prices or close to. This is something we stress to our vendors, because if their stuff is priced too high, it just won’t sell. Every vendor prices their goods according to their liking, and that’s just how it is. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bargain or even barter. We’ve heard all kinds of stories, from getting a dollar to 10 dollars off to trading a necklace for a record. Even some of the vendors do some trading between themselves.
Gavin: You started the market up in May of last year. What did you think of the initial response, and how quickly did you know you'd be back for June?
Karamea: The night before the first market last year, there was a blizzard. The morning of, Kilby was full of water and it was freezing outside. We were terrified it just wouldn’t work out. Thanks to our amazing vendors, we pushed on and by 3 p.m. (just as Holy Water Buffalo started playing) the sun came out and the market was full of people. After that happened, we knew we had to keep going.
Gavin: How do you pick the musical acts who will appear each month, and how has it been incorporating a live venue show with the market?
Audrey: Having live music gives the market an awesome energy. We open up the big doors inside the venue and just let the music flow out into the street. We keep the music local, asking friends if they want to play and going through different bands we’ve seen before, find online, or see play at a show. Salt Lake and the surrounding cities have some amazing talent, and we want to give bands a chance to get their name out, while providing us with some great jams to listen to. Last year, a band canceled the morning of, and our friends son (age 14) has a little band with two of his other friends, so their parents went home, gathered up all their stuff, they borrowed an amp from Spell Talk, and played their first show ever at Kilby Court. It was awesome! If we can support someone by letting them play at the market, we are open to it.
Gavin: You've also brought in a skate ramp for local amateurs and pros to show off their skills. What inspired that move?
Karamea: The good ol’ ramp! We tossed that idea around for a few days with a friend of ours and thought we’d get one of those mobile ramps that get towed in and out. After talking it over with Lance, he decided he was just going to build one. Little did we know how big of a hit it would be. In three weeks time, he gathered a group of friends up and they managed to have the ramp done by the first market in May, and now it’s a permanent staple at Kilby. We hear people talking about coming or going down to the "Kilby Ramp," and it adds to the list of reasons of why people love that place. There’s been everyone from the big-time pros to the littlest of newbies on that ramp.
Gavin: You contributed a portion of the market to nonprofit organizations. What groups have you bring it for that section, and how has it worked out?
Audrey: So far, we’ve worked with The Kaberamaido Cooperative (previously The Empowerment Project), Cause For Paws, Hearts & Hands, and The Ah Mu Academy. Working with nonprofits has been a very positive experience. We have friends that are directly associated with these nonprofits and are doing volunteer work for others, and we thought it would be a good chance for them to share what they are doing, while also teaching others about them.
Gavin: This year, you started the market back up in June to a large and welcoming audience. What did you think of the response this year compared to last, and how does it feel knowing that people are now looking forward to the event every month?
Karamea: It’s actually really interesting to be sitting somewhere and overhear someone strike up a conversation with their friend about the flea market. That happened all winter long. So the excitement for this summer was even bigger, because people just kept talking about it. And even though we kicked it off the same day as the Pride festivities, we got an amazing response from the community. It’s a bit intimidating knowing that people look forward to this and talk about it. But it gives us the motivation to listen to what they are saying and make it the best possible thing for everyone involved.
Gavin: You've got the next event coming up on July 3rd. What have you got planned for this month?
Audrey: The Spins will be playing the market for the first time, as well as Mountain Hymns. Both great, local bands! We will have also live art, and Chase One2 will be spinning great tunes all day long.
Gavin: Are there any plans on your part to expand the market, or are you sticking to things as they are for this year?
Karamea: As of now, we will just keep going as is, making subtle changes along the way. In the future, we want to make it bigger, but we also want to continue having it at Kilby. So until we figure out how to do both of those things, the market will stay the way it is. It’s simple and has a close-knit feel, we want to keep that going for a while.
Gavin: Going local for a moment, what's your take on the other local markets, both good and bad?
Audrey: Having other markets around town is amazing. It really shows how big of a community we have and how much we support each other. There are a variety of markets, all different in their own way. It gives people a chance to get out of the house and venture around the city for a day. It would be great to see one big cross-promotion happen in the future between all the different Saturday and Sunday markets.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe they could improve on or add to bring out more people?
Karamea: That is something we are all working at. When you put on an event, you never know how many people will actually show up until the event is over. Marketing and advertising can only go so far. If the event is one that people talk about after it’s over and end up telling their friends about it, that’s when you know you’ve done something right. We also always want to expand the demographic and always welcome all types of people to the event.
Gavin: What can we expect from both of you and the market over the rest of the year?
Audrey: The market will continue to change every time. We are still in test mode, we are seeing what works and what doesn’t. Eventually, we’ll find our niche and run with it, but there will always be something to improve or add so that the market can continue to grow and progress.
Gavin: Aside the obvious, is there anything you'd like to promote or plug?
Karamea: The next flea, of course, July 3rd, 12-6 p.m., the official After Party at The Garage (sponsored by Red Bull!) 8PM, July 3rd. The Spins, Mountain Hymns, Lance, Will, and Kilby Court. SLUG Mag, Gavin’s Underground, all of our amazing vendors past, present, and future.
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