Handmade jewelry, local art, vintage clothes and live performances are some of the many gems to be found at Floozy Flea, local Tucson market.
University of Arizona student May Downs once sold a hot pink shirt at her online thrift business, Saint Misfit, that said “little floozy homewrecker” on the front. That very shirt served as an inspiration for naming Floozy Flea, a thriving artisan market, curated by Downs.
On Jan. 22, an estimated 200 people attended the fourth-ever Floozy Flea market, with 17 vendors selling a variety of products such as art, clothing and jewelry. There were also six live performers, including solo acts and bands.
Downs started her entrepreneurial track in 2016 with her Etsy shop, Vintage Thriftique. She eventually rebranded to the current Saint Misfit, which features vintage, thrifted and handmade pieces of clothing and jewelry.
“I was one of the first few people who started thrifting in middle school, because mom wouldn’t buy me fancy clothes from PacSun. People thought I was some sort of magician for wearing mom jeans back then,” Downs said.
Besides running her own personal small business, Downs is now the cultivator of Floozy Flea, which brings together local artists and businesses. As for vendors, Downs wants Floozy Flea to feature queer, BIPOC, women-owned and disabled-owned businesses.
“I prioritize those applications so that they can have a space,” Downs said.
Performer and vendor Rowan Snider recently had her live-reading poetry debut and sold prints of her artwork at Floozy Flea.
“It’s been a really easy way for me to get out and showcase my art," Snide said. "I’m familiar with the environment, and it’s a comfortable setting. I’m not at all anxious about what’s going on.”
Floozy Flea is a curated community. Each table is full of unique merchandise, and Downs said everyone at the flea market is committed to making it a welcoming and artistic space.
“It is a place to hang out at, not just something to go to and shop for 10 minutes then leave,” Downs said.
Pulari Kartha is another recent performer and vendor at the market.
“I feel like Floozy Flea gave me a space to be more artistically creative because I don’t think I would have ever performed if I didn’t have a space that I felt comfortable," Kartha said.
Before the last Floozy Flea event, Downs printed out 80 flyers and handed them out to people around the University of Arizona campus and local businesses.
“There's so much admiration there for [Downs]. There are not lots of people who organize events who are as inclusive and down to earth as [Downs]. The way she is able to just hand people flyers, she's able to just go up to random strangers,” Kartha said.
Downs hopes to continue to grow her audience, and continue exposing her vendors to more customers. The next Floozy Flea should be sometime in March. However, the best way to keep updated with the latest news, dates and information is via Instagram @floozyflea or @maybugss.
Follow Maayan Cohen on Twitter