Carrie Nardini wants you to sell your stuff.
She started I Made It! Market in 2007 because, as a crafter herself, she knows that it’s difficult for artists to find a consistent place to sell their work.
And now she has launched her second venture, Neighborhood Flea.
“I was a crafter and have always been a crafter,” Nardini shares. “When I was in middle school and high school in Monroeville, I didn’t have access to studio arts programming so my mom would take me to Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. That’s where I learned everything from metalsmithing to working with clay.”
And she was encouraged to sell from that age on. “The Bead Mine in the Southside was one of my first outlets and from there I have always been looking for places that would carry the beads I made.”
Nardini went on to college at the University of Pittsburgh and started working at Tela Ropa in Oakland where she was responsible for sourcing and marketing beads while also making custom items for customers. She graduated with an MBA from Pitt’s Graduate School of Business and decided to help fellow entrepreneurs like herself find a way to market their craft.
The day that sparked I Made It! Market’s beginning was a craft fair at Carnegie Mellon University. Nardini met Assemble founder and fellow maker, Nina Marie Barbuto. She shared what she wanted to do—a pop up fair that would give crafters not only a consistent market but also engage neighborhoods and partner with different community groups to make the markets more vibrant.
Nina said, “Let’s do it.”
The first I Made It! Market launched at Garfield Artworks in 2007 and the second in Braddock shortly after that. Last year, there were over 20 I Made It! Market fairs in different neighborhoods.
Last month, Nardini launched her second venture, Neighborhood Flea, in the Strip District. The idea started two years ago when Stephanie Sheldon from Cleveland contacted Nardini to help her start an urban flea market. The pair launched the Cleveland Flea and started with 30 vendors. This year it has over 130.
Nardini decided it was time to bring it to Pittsburgh.
Neighborhood Flea gives entrepreneurs of all kinds a venue to sell their wares in a high-traffic area, giving them the Main St. opportunity that they couldn’t afford otherwise. While I Made It! Market focuses on handmade craft, Neighborhood Flea welcomes vendors selling everything from food to curated collections such as hard-to-find stuff your grandma used to have, like classic pyrex or milk glass and other vintage items. Last month’s first Neighborhood Flea featured 30 vendors. The next one is happening on Sunday August 24 with 40 entrepreneurs. Nardini predicts it will keep on growing.
“I wanted to create a fun pop up shop with surprises in a temporary neighborhood setting. You can shop and eat your way through the Flea from food vendors including locally crafted drinks like Natrona Bottling’s sodas.
“The idea is to create a community and dialogue of mutual support and respect. By offering regularly occurring events, shoppers can establish relationships with the sellers, helping to educate Pittsburghers about the options available to them through local makers and sellers.”
Neighborhood Flea is held every fourth Sunday of the month. The next two are scheduled August 24 and September 28 at 2300 Penn Avenue in the parking lot across Marty’s Market in the Strip District.
I Made It! Market is now accepting applications for its holiday market. The deadline is September 8.