Some have overflowing closets. Some are experts at navigating estate or garage sales. Some just love vintage clothes. But all are looking to start local and community-friendly businesses.
Vendors from all over north central Florida traveled to Gainesville in early January to participate in the Florida Vintage Market. The festival, created in 2012, is a traveling community business opportunity in Orlando and Gainesville. Through applications to the event managers, local sellers have a chance to take part in a community-based event where they can recycle vintage or used clothes.
The Florida Vintage Market is home to over 60 vendors looking to find a way to make money and a name for their businesses. The next one is scheduled for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bo Diddley Plaza.
One business in particular, Dead Lady’s Closet, finds most of its inventory from a pretty peculiar place, according to its owner.
The owner of Dead Lady’s Closet, Heather Edelschick, 40, said she finds most of her items through estate sales. But it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic when Edelschick realized she could sell clothes she collected through her years of being a consumer.
“I’ve been shopping for vintage clothing since I was probably in middle school,” she said. “Then, COVID happened, I lost my corporate job, and I was going to estate sales because I was really bored. They were getting rid of stuff because nobody was coming out yet. So, I was buying clothes and putting them in my living room. My friends came over one night and ended up walking out with two hundred dollars in vintage clothing out of my living room.”
Because the Florida Vintage Market turns five this year, some of its vendors are just as new to the traveling market world as the event itself is. Much like Dead Lady’s Closet, other vendors are also new to the industry.
But the dead aren’t the market’s only donors. For the Ortiz twins, they simply just didn’t have enough closet space.
In addition to cleaning out closets, the brothers are looking to make some extra money. Angelo and Andre Ortiz, 35, are from Deland, Florida. They opened their own barbershop to do more in the world of vintage clothes.
“We collected so much that we filled up our closets, filled up our room,” Angelo Ortiz, said.
Most of the attendees at the Gainesville market were college students, due to the close proximity to the University of Florida’s main campus. The idea of being close to Gainesville was what originally attracted the Ortiz twins to the area.
“We found Gainesville, and it’s definitely a dope community,” Angelo said. “You know it’s right next to the college, it’s a young crowd, and what we do is definitely right up that alley.”
In addition to nostalgia, attendees were able to expand and entertain their style palettes.
One college student, Tav Ortiz, 23, (no relation to the Ortiz twins), found that going to vintage markets helped him find those unique clothes and styles he’d been looking for.
“I come to vintage markets because I’m looking for clothes I won’t find in a store,” he said. “And are not necessarily in style but I like the style of.”
Out of the majority of attendees, they had one thing in common: Many were newcomers to the vintage world.
The event manager of the Florida Vintage Market, Alex D’Element, 37, spoke very highly of the market’s growth. D’Element said the market moved to a bigger Gainesville location to make the event more accessible and welcoming for visitors.
With bi-weekly markets in Orlando and Gainesville, the Florida Vintage Market is looking to expand. D’Element said he hopes the events can be in four different cities per month.
“We’re working on expanding to other cities here in Florida,” D’Element said. “Not sure if we’re going out of Florida, but for now we have two cities we’re looking into. So instead of being a two-weekend thing, it could be an every weekend thing.”
Whether it’s buying or selling, the Florida Vintage Market is helping grow communal spirits all throughout Florida. And according to D’Element, the Florida Vintage Market could end up in a town near you.