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Meet Natalie Nagengast & Derek De Vette of The Market Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Nagengast & Derek De Vette.

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like.
NATALIE: What started as a hobby visiting markets around the world turned into a passion. I started my first Market for Makers in 2015. We’ve created explosive growth and are now in multiple cities.  These comprise handmade makers, boutiques, vintage and unique items that you can’t find in stores. We help over 1,000 small businesses like these grow their companies every year.

DEREK: I was doing PR and events in the corporate space—corner office, direct report to the CEO, private planes, the whole shebang.  But it sorely lacked artistic and creative fulfillment. So I took the plunge and launched my PR & events agency under In Red We Trust (I’m a Ginger). Word got out and I landed high profile festivals with the Harley-Davidson Love Ride, Jay Leno, Foo Fighters; massive street fairs, Oscar nominee fundraisers, Hollywood galas, etc.  I was elated by the creativity and freedom. So I took those experiences and began creating my own events. From that dream, The Market Group was born.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
NATALIE: I’ve found that each obstacle has only pushed me forward, in the moment it seems as if it’s a struggle, but each “struggle” has always pushed in the right direction. I’m a firm believer in the things that aren’t supposed to be in your life, don’t stick. When you’re optimistic and positive in your attitude and life, those negativities can’t help but drop away.

DEREK: There is no such thing as smooth roads in the events biz. I would say winding or adventurous. But that’s the fun part. The bottom line is events and markets are hard work. You have to love it. If you love it, then the struggles and challenges are a part of the adventure and what make you feel alive as a human. As much as I may complain when there are two billion targets to juggle to pull of an event, I do best when I’m slightly out of my comfort zone. It means I’m learning, stretching, expanding.

Tell us about your business/company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc.
DEREK: Natalie and I have a rich background in music festivals, events and makers’ markets. We are uniquely matched in that we both specialize in transforming city nooks and outdoor large spaces into full blown experiences.

We’re currently plotting outdoor movie screenings for thousands of people; indoor markets in funky factories and large scale pop ups around LA.  But our next and immediate event is the Fountain Outdoor Market in East Hollywood. That neighborhood and area needs some TLC; yet it has tremendous potential to be the next Los Feliz, Franklin Village or Silver Lake.   This is what LA is all about. Transformation. Taking little areas, improving them, and creating Easter eggs or jewels that locals can be proud of.

NATALIE: We bring local communities, makers and artists together. With Fountain Outdoor Market—or any market we put on—we aim to forge the relationship between independent artists and their future loyal customers. My life is makers markets. I’ve put on over 60 to date. But revitalizing struggling communities and retail developments is my passion. These markets have a positive impact and over time revitalize neighborhoods and local economies.

What sets you apart from others?
NATALIE: Derek brings the community and entertainment element to the table. He lives for bigger than life unexpected experiences. But I notice he also searches out the tiniest ones. Things like free valet parking if you support our artisans; or healthy spa water while you’re waiting for your car. Those unexpected little touches that make people sneak a surprise smile and come back again.

DEREK: A big part of what sets us apart from others—especially on the markets—is Natalie’s personality. She’s visited indoor and outdoor markets as far away as London, Paris, Florence, Hong Kong, Xian and Beijing. She draws from these experiences to design our street fairs. She also has incredible taste and carefully curates each and every artisan from vintage, fashion, art, home décor and design to the final cut who make up in our market. She LOVES finding, highlighting and helping these small businesses. You can’t learn that in college. It comes from her unique background and personality. And that is a strong differentiator for us.

What are you most proud of as a company?
NATALIE: I’m most proud of neighborhood revitalization.

DEREK: I’m most proud of creating community out of nothing. I LOVE bringing people together. We’re surrounded by a deafening assault of digital white noise. So it’s important to me that as a culture we get outside, make new friends and enjoy ourselves as humankind.

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
NATALIE: 6 years old in Indiana—my mom taught us business by getting a group of childhood friends to plant a pumpkin patch. Over months of work from planting, weeding, and even the challenge of teenagers going on a “smashing pumpkins” spree for a few hours, we learned from a young age what it takes to be successful. Thank god for the extra planting, as our pumpkins were a huge hit at our school fall festival.

DEREK: 7 years old in Canada—I was flying down a steep hill on my tricked out Big Wheel. My parents’ generation was absurdly carefree when it came to safety. So there I was in the MIDDLE of the street with no helmet, legs off the pedals for maximum speed, red hair flying in the wind with not a worry in the world. Somehow my mom saw the moment and captured it on film (yes film) right as I zoomed by.

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