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Streets of Vintage Flea Market: Small business haven

Fiona Aulenta
At the Seaside Sunday Market, there are racks of jewelry for sale. The necklaces and earrings are handmade and carefully crafted with aqua and lapis lazuli gemstones sourced from Pakistan, which is home to many unique varieties of minerals and stones.

With the cool breeze and the ocean view, local vendors of Ventura County went down to the Ventura Boardwalk on Oct. 8, 2023 to set up for the Seaside Sunday Flea Market, hosted by Streets of Vintage Flea Market. Small businesses got to show off their creative skills, setting up shops of all different types including clothing, jewelry and handcrafted products.

Laura Brandle’s Sanctuary Goods displays her vintage belts and bags alongside a rack of sweaters, jackets and more. (Fiona Aulenta)

Seaside Sunday Flea Market is held on the second Sunday of every month from 12 to 5 p.m. Jose Seledon, one of the owners of Streets of Vintage Flea Market and also the shop owner of Hey! Friends describes that the market is for vendors to come, show and sell their wares along the Ventura Boardwalk. Seledon states, “We found this location about a year ago to be able to be suitable for us to be successful for the vendors and then us as a host here on the boardwalk.”

Being a business owner himself, Seledon can relate to the experiences of the other sellers at the market. He originally opened his first vintage shop in 2017 in Oxnard, moving to new locations as his business grew, and eventually landing on their brand new shop in the Pacific View Mall in Ventura in 2023, called Hey! Friends. The flea market first opened in a parking lot where Seledon’s shop was open years back, and now it has expanded to the operation it is now.

Owner of Sanctuary Goods, Laura Brandle, rearranges her locally sourced vintage clothing on display at the Seaside Sunday Markets. (Fiona Aulenta)

One of the vendors at the market, Sanctuary Goods, is a vintage repurpose clothing market, run by Laura Brandle. Focusing on the fashion market, Brandle’s products closely relate to the aesthetics of Ventura, describing it as a bohemian feel, yet still appealing to modern trends. With the Seaside Sunday Flea Market being her first larger gig, Brandle expresses her excitement and love for being able to do something she loves in a community like Ventura.

What really connected Brandle to her work was her love for fashion. “I’ve worked in the fashion industry, like my whole life, and really had a distaste for fast fashion and what it’s doing for our planet and really wanted to be able to still access trends but make it more friendly for the planet and the environment.” Brandle enjoys giving consumers affordable and accessible fashion, while still selling clothes people enjoy and want to wear.

Candles, smudge sticks, spell kits and more, all made by the small business Two Witchy Deez, perfectly compliment the beginning of the fall season. (Fiona Aulenta)

Along with Sanctuary Goods, another newer brand name at the market was Divinely Gaia. Run by Mackenzie Swope, Divinely Gaia is a jewelry based shop, focusing more on natural materials and gold luxury. The meaning behind Divinely Gaia sprouted from Swope’s love for the earth. With Gaia being the Greek goddess of the Earth who divinely expresses goddess-like qualities, Swope felt the name would represent her passion the most. She describes her slogan to be “from the earth,” as her shop focuses more on raw materials such as fresh water pearls or natural stones.

Created by Carla Buffa, breathtaking pieces of jewelry from Silver N Stone were displayed in the center of the Ventura boardwalk. (Fiona Aulenta)

Swope first got into her business after being introduced to the craft of jewelry making from a friend of hers. She mentions, “We started our businesses around the same time and she [her friend] […] was making jewelry one day at her house and I was like, that looks so much […] fun.” She then adds how much she has enjoyed being able to pursue something that she is passionate about, noting, “It’s very freeing, you know, just giving yourself that creative freedom just to make whatever I want.” Swope hopes to grow more as an entrepreneur and how being at an event such as the Seaside Sunday Flea Market will benefit her in the long run by helping her gain more business experience.

Events like the Seaside Sunday Flea Market are important to boost the creative community around and within Ventura. Tourists and locals thrive in areas like the beach or Downtown Ventura, so it was the perfect chance for sellers to present their brand and create new connections. The Streets of Vintage Flea market gave the opportunity for many to display their own personal uniqueness and style.

Fiona Aulenta
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About the Contributors
Bailey Basurto
Bailey Basurto, Reporter
"You can't blame yourself, you just have to blame Mercury, cause it's just hella in retrograde." - Taylor Swift
Fiona Aulenta
Fiona Aulenta, Videographer
“I make bad decisions frequently. They're fun.” - SZA

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