By Katie Day
The spring Flea, which took place Saturday, April 21, offered shoppers a winding line of over 70 venders, showcasing everything from vintage jewelry to handmade furniture and more.
The Dallas Flea is the result of the hard work and vision of Southern Methodist University alumna Brittany Edwards Cobb.
Cobb grew up in California, flea market shopping with her mom, and after moving to Dallas, she knew it was something the city needed.
“I love that style of shopping — finding something unique from a local artist or collector — and I wanted to bring that experience to Dallas,” she says.
Unlike most flea markets, the Dallas Flea is completely indoors. Cobb says this has been key to the event’s success given the unpredictable Texas weather.
All the vendors are Texas-based and go far beyond vintage finds and handmade wares to include music and food as well.
Cobb graduated with a degree in journalism and has worked as a writer and editor, specializing in fashion and interior design. She turned to the connections she forged during her years as a journalist to make this dream a reality.
“I’ve met many talented Texas artisans, and thought I had the tools to try it out after years of accumulating contacts,” she says.
Grace Davis, an SMU senior, visiting the Flea for the first time with her dad and sister, says she enjoyed browsing through the clothing and jewelry designs. But her father was the real winner at the end of the day.
“My dad loves shopping for vintage things as decorations for his house and office,” Davis says. “He ended up buying three really cool matted pictures of vintage American landmarks, like the old ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign.”
The event has continued to draw a crowd each quarter since its debut in 2009. The Dallas Flea was even named Best New Event by D magazine in 2010.
SMU junior Shelby Foster interned for Cobb during the summer of 2011 and was along for the ride when Cobb planned last fall’s Flea.
Foster say she got a first-hand look at exactly what it takes to organize the event.
“Brittany is truly a multi-tasker, so as an intern, I had to be, too,” says Foster. “I kept all the different vendors’ information and application forms organized in the office.”
Cobb says planning a Dallas Flea takes the full three months from the application send-out to the day the doors finally open.
With a long list of trusted vendors, finding talent isn’t a problem. But there are plenty of other challenges.
“The more challenging part is keeping the show fresh, which means rejecting longtime booths and even friends, at times,” Cobb says.
The South Side on Lamar location allows only around 75 booths for potential vendors, and Cobb says mapping out the floor plan can be tricky. However, the venue brings a look and feel that is well worth the effort.
“It was very important to me to have a space that felt a little gritty — flea-market-esque,” she says.
Cobb says she is always looking for fun ways to promote the event and get people in the door to support the talented vendors inside.
As for her favorite vendor, she says she loves them all but was especially excited about some new talent the Flea welcomed during this season’s event.
“I really like Back Alley Furniture. He’s an SMU grad. And Taylor Custer, another SMU grad,” she says. “And I scored some amazing costume jewelry at BRS associates.”
Foster says working with Cobb was a pleasure and believes she has created something unique and valuable for the city of Dallas.
“The Dallas Flea truly is a cool event that Dallas desperately needed,” says Foster. “Brittany has created a great place for local artists to come together to sell and showcase their work.”