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Meet Rosey williams of Indie Flea

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rosey Williams.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rosey. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I was born in Saint Petersburg Florida and grew up downtown in the midst of my parent’s vintage shop. I eventually opened my own vintage store in 2011 and started hosting vendors and friends on the sidewalk to attract business to my shop and help them sell their art and wares. At that time, the only type of market that existed in the area where farmer’s markets.

I found there was a desperate need for a different type of market that was suited for creatives and artists, so Indie Flea was born. Our list of vendors went from 10 to 100 in a matter of a year. Over the next few years, we kept our monthly market in St. Pete which now hosts 100+ vendors and started experimenting with other pop-ups in town, working with several community businesses and partners.

In 2015 we expanded to Tampa, where we now host a huge monthly market at Armature Works, and then later that year to Gainesville. This year we branched out to Miami and have plans to pop up in Brevard North Carolina and New Orleans!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have been many challenges I’ve been faced with while building my company. In the beginning, I had issues with permitting and regulations with the city. Since we were pioneering the industry, many of the permits I needed did not exist. I was faced with a lot of adversity, and it took several years to figure out logistical issues from trial and error.

My company also grew very fast, so each year I’ve dealt with different types of financial growing pains. Our biggest challenge so far, however, has been the effects from gentrification. There are developers from out of state who use the momentum that we bring to an area to their advantage, buy the land around us and then make it impossible for us to continue business due to rising rent and greed.

It’s a constant challenge for me to try and keep our consistency while being pushed out of neighborhoods due to soulless developments.

Please tell us about Indie Flea.
From the beginning, I’ve always stayed true to our mission which is to provide a platform for small businesses and creatives to sell their work. My team and I are constantly working from a vendor perspective and trying our best to create a good experience from the application to the day of and beyond.

Many refer to Indie Flea as an incubator of creatives, meaning we help to launch a product, business, idea, brand. In return, we are connecting these businesses to the community and to customers. Many of our vendors that started in 2011 are still vendors today. Some of them have gone on to have storefronts and some just vend as a full-time job

Our communication with vendors and relationship is something that I value and think sets us apart from other markets. We’ve also done a lot with making our market more eco-friendly and sustainable, being the first market in Tampa Bay to adopt the ocean-friendly and zero waste models by banning single-use plastics.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and the least?
Miami is one of my favorite cities. We recently had a pop up with the opening of the Citadel, and it was a huge success. We brought in makers from all over the state and even out of state.

I have a great relationship with Prism Creative Group and hope to be back in Miami for a collab soon! I love the energy and vibrancy that makes up Miami.

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