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Tennessee artisans prepare for Porter Flea

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Attendees enjoy the Porter Flea festival in June 2011 at Marthon Music Works in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo courtesy of Porter Flea)
Indie crafters and artisans of all likes are set to unite this weekend for the third installment of Porter Flea at Marathon Music Works in Nashville.

Porter Flea is not your everyday flea market, as it focuses on the independent craft movement with an emphasis on sustainability and the support of artists and local business.

The modern handmade market began in 2011 with the help of three key individuals: Jessica Maloan, Brent Elrod and Katie Vance, along with East Nashville’s Friendly Arctic Printing and Design.

“I had traveled to several craft shows in different cities to sell my cards and prints and wondered why Nashville wasn’t offering something similar,” Maloan said in reference to the market’s inception. “We have TACA and American Artisan Festival, but I felt like we didn’t have a market for the indie craft movement. I knew a lot of talented artists and designers in town and thought that Nashville might be receptive to the idea.”

Maloan said she and Vance decided to start small to see if the community would be supportive of such an event.

“Our first market featured 30 local vendors and a few food trucks,” Maloan said. “Everything went better than we could’ve hoped. Attendance and sales were great, despite the hot weather. We then knew there was interest here, so we decided to plan our next event. We moved to a larger venue and our market doubled in size.”

In today’s tech savvy world, Porter Flea is a fine example that people will still search for local, handmade items and place strong weight on shopping local. It’s also a perfect blend of mixing traditional arts and crafts concepts with new ways to do business, such as Etsy shops and e-commerce.

Some of the vendors who will be on hand for this year’s event include Friendly Arctic, Holler Design, Sloe Gin Fizz and Modern Arks among many others. On the same note, goods will range in selection from apparel, artwork, posters, jewelry and furniture.

The market has been widely accepted by Middle Tennessee residents, as Maloan indicated, because one of the best parts of attending shows such as Porter Flea is that it lets attendees actually meet and talk with the artists.

It gives residents a new appreciation for the creative process and for their wares. Also, more money stays in the community when people buy from a local business, she said.

“When you spend $100 at a locally owned business, approximately $73 stays in your local economy,” Maloan said. “If you spend $100 at a national retailer, only $43 stays in your community. More small businesses mean more options. A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.”

With three years under the belt, the modern handmade market seeks to grow and look at its next steps for success.

“We want to continue to provide a place for up-and-coming artists and designers to promote their business and meet other makers in the community,” she said. “We’re not sure what the future of Porter Flea looks like, be it more frequent markets or an online store, but we will continue as long as the community continues its support for handmade goods and small businesses.”

The event will be held from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 16 at Marathon Music Works, located at 1402 Clinton St. in Nashville.

For more information on Porter Flea, visit porterflea.com.
Tagged under  Arts, Craft, Entertainment, Event, Festival, Nashville, Porter Flea, Tennessee

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