Isabella Abbott | Features Editor
Sept. 15, 2022
Although the morning started off with gentle rain and clouds, flea market lovers were still fleeing to the Strip District for their favorite vintage items and handmade greeting cards.
The Neighborhood Flea, whose 2022 season started on May 8, had its second-to-last market on Sunday. Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month from May to October, the flea market features a variety of different tents, including ones with handmade jewelry pieces, patterned tote bags and Pittsburgh-themed paintings.
Walking through, patrons could see dozens of dogs walking around and small groups of college-aged students with vivid hair colors shopping for wall décor or trying to locate a vintage sweatshirt from their favorite sports team.
Although the market is located at The Stacks at 3 Crossings between 28th Street and Railroad Street in the Strip District, it’s easy to find due to the abundance of various food truck aromas and throwback music blasting over speakers.
Carlee Shreve, a first-time tent renter at The Neighborhood Flea and an undergraduate student at Chatham University, said the atmosphere at the market was thrilling.
“I like the aura,” Shreve said. “I can very much be myself when I’m here.”
Her business, Dragonflies & Lavender, is a woman-owned business featuring graphic illustrations available in stickers, small accessories and prints. At her table, market-goers can also find a year-long Pride Collection containing hand-drawn designs representing the meaning of “Love is Love.”
As a graphic design student, she’s able to put what she’s learned in the classroom into her business, which is what every college student strives to do early in their career.
“This is all my graphic illustration work,” Shreve said. “I get it made into T-shirts and prints, and stickers, keychains, magnets and then I sell them that way.”
Meghan McCormick, another vendor at the market, is excited to show shoppers what her do-it-yourself workshop is all about with her booth titled, “I wet my plants.”
“I’m introducing the world to our shop here,” McCormick said.
Her store, Creative D.I.Y. Workshop, is an instructor-led, do-it-yourself workshop that allows anyone, artist or not, to come and make a product of their choosing from scratch. The workshop even offers pre-made or make-it-yourself products, along with step-by-step instructions from teachers during the workshop period.
At the market, all shoppers had to do was walk into her greenery-designed and color-filled booth, where they could then pay to make their own unique potted plants. All of the needed tools were laid out and prepared for customers to use as well.
Willing customers can visit 535 Clever Road in McKees Rocks for classes and upcoming events. An upcoming event, the Bubbles & Bling jewelry container-making workshop, will happen on Sept. 23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Past the wide array of vintage clothing and handmade paintings, and next to the crepe food truck, market-goers could find a variety of artisan candles and skin care goods at Chez Lapin, an eco-friendly, cruelty-free and woman-owned company based in Pittsburgh.
Claire Landuyt, the owner of Chez Lapin, said although the rain was a factor in customers’ attendance, they still had a good turnout.
“I’d say we’ve had a good amount of customers,” Landuyt said. “Not as much as in years or in months past, which is partially due to weather, but [there’s] definitely decent traffic and nice, new customers.”
At her booth, the company strives to handcraft products that allow people to practice good self-care by making their high-quality skincare affordable. In addition, by asking customers to bring back their old candle jars for credit on their next order, they’re able to repurpose them and eliminate waste, showing that the company has also made strong efforts to reduce their carbon footprint in the world.
If any of these booths spark students’ interest, be sure to visit the Strip District for the Neighborhood Flea’s final Sunday market this season on Oct. 9. People can park in the Hive Parking Garage at the intersection of 28th Street and Railroad Street for $5 on flea day.