The Folk Market Makes Its Debut at AvantGarden

This Sunday marked the first Folk Market at AvantGarden, which will be a monthly event held on the third Sunday of each month. The Folk Market is the brain child of Brittany Bly who also created Pop Shop Houston. Each month, Bly will coordinate with 20 or so vendors to bring their goods to the parking lot of the Westheimer bar and art venue.

Bly, who is a crafter herself, wanted to make sure that The Folk Market matched the DIY sensibility of Pop Shop. All vendors must be indies, meaning no chains stores. While the inaugural Folk Market was comprised of sellers specifically from Houston and the surrounding areas, Bly isn't making that a requirement.

"Out of towners are welcome," Bly says, "they just have to be independent sellers."

Of the vendors on hand at the first Folk Market, the goods being sold ran the gamut. Many sold handcrafted items, such as Jamie Chatterton's 1+2=Love table. Chatterton takes comic book playing cards, Sesame Street cards, Care Bear playing cards and any other vintage playing card she can get her hands on and turns them into notebooks through a process of hand binding. They were fun to peruse through. My only fear is that the books are too cool to want to write in.

Maria Martinez, who is also from Texas, was on hand selling her all natural lip glosses. The gloss is made of only organic ingredients including shea butter, almond oil and natural waxes. I glopped some on after her persistent helper talked me into it and six hours later my red stained lips were just as dark as when I first applied. Plus, they didn't feel dried out like a regular lipstick does. Sold. The fact that Martinez has developed this gloss through good old trial and error, makes it that much more appealing.

Much Love Leather's Andy and Parker sat behind their table hawking their exquisite handmade leather wallets, satchels and more. They described to me that they buy the leather in long strips and oftentimes the ends are all crooked, because they came off of a an animal. On occasion they will use the leather's imperfections to enhance one of their designs as showcased by a lovely bag they had on display. ML Leather is based out of the Woodlands but much of their business is done online. Venturing out into craft marketplaces is new for them and something they have been getting good response to.

A craft market in Houston wouldn't be complete without Urban Izzy, the boutique on wheels. Urban Izzy has been getting lots of press love lately as it is an ingenious idea. Just like a food truck, the boutique drives around to different locations and sets up shop wherever it may be. Shoppers can follow UI's location on its website to keep up with the store on wheels. The shop sells local artisans' goodies as well as a nice selection of hand picked items that owner Sarah scouts out and purchases for the shop. I was forced to buy a handmade purse mirror because it was awesome and had a picture of a toy triceratops on the front. Rather than taking my money, Sarah told me that the artist who made the mirror, Tiny Deer Studio, was also selling at the market and she would make more money if I bought from her direct. Umm... you are the nicest person ever.

While Bly was very pleased with the day's turnout, she has big plans for her Pop Up Shop including a huge event on May 11 and 12 that will include more than 50 vendors. As of now Bly has not nailed down the exact location but she did throw out George R. Brown just to get a feel for the scope of the event.

Until then, go check out next month's Folk Market at AvantGarden and be warned, most vendors take credit cards so you'll wind up spending way too much money.

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Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig