Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrice Curedale.
Patrice, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Known as one of LA’s top sources for vintage, Topanga Vintage Market has been junking along for 5 years on the LA flea market circuit. The open air market, which we founded in 2012, is seen as a social gathering for sellers and shoppers to come together for a special love of vintage and antique treasures.
When we launched we knew we were entering a very competitive industry, with other LA markets having been around for decades. But after our very first show, we knew we had found a sweet spot. We blend humor and fun with our vendor family and loyal shopper base. It seems like a successful business model that will allow us to sustain longevity in the marketplace.
Lori Rotblatt and I met when our sons were in kindergarten together at Topanga Elementary. Our mutual love of estate sales and thrifting prompted us to try selling, looking for ways to earn a living and still have time for the kids. We saw almost immediately that the Valley needed its own market, and with Lori’s entrepreneurial background and my marketing and event planning skills, everything came together and Topanga Vintage Market was born.
The show began at Westfield Promenade mall on Topanga Canyon Blvd, perfect for a Valley event! But we soon outgrew that parking lot and we moved to Pierce College, where it as thrived ever since.
There are so many great vintage and antique sellers in Los Angeles, supported by the Rosebowl, Long Beach, PCC and now us. Plus, we have our own “Topanga only” vendors and artisans that keep the show unique and fresh every month. It’s great being able to help hundreds of micro-businesses make money, and to see the happy grins of the customers with their flea market finds.
The market features over 180 booths, with merchandise ranging from vintage and antiques to artisan goods and up-cycled creations. Equipped with food trucks and live entertainment at every show, shoppers of all ages can enjoy a unique block party atmosphere the fourth Sunday of every month.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest struggle we faced was due to our quick success! The first show was a big hit. We had an entrance, but with thousands of shoppers flowing into Westfield’s parking lot from several directions, we quickly had to open two more entries! Luckily, we had several friends and lots of family on hand and they stepped in. After a year of working with Westfield it became clear that the Promenade parking lot was too small to contain our growing market, so we called Pierce College and were very happy that the administration was open to having Topanga Vintage Market there.
Fortunately, our sellers and shoppers came with us!
Please tell us about Topanga Vintage Market.
Topanga Vintage Market is LA’s 4th Sunday flea market for vintage, antiques and artisan goods. It’s in the big north parking lot at Pierce College, and we have hundreds of different vendors on our list, with about 180 attending on any given month. Many of the sellers sell every month and have a regular spot that they treat like their little shop that is only open this one day a month. And they have their regular customers, too!
It’s a treasure hunt full of thousands of objects. Our job is to make sure the market is full of high quality vintage and antique dealers with a variety of goods, from jewelry and fashion to furniture and automobilia. That’s what makes a good market – classic antiques, rocknroll T-shirts & vinyl, and on trend mid-century masterworks, mixed with loads of the unexpected. To do this Lori and I visit other shows and invite vendors we like, and we now get lots of referrals from our regulars, which is the greatest compliment. When someone calls and says “I met Mary at PCC and she said I should sell at your show.” I know we’re doing a good job.
We are known as the fun and laid back flea. It’s partly due to size – we are small but mighty! But it’s also something Lori and I try to achieve in little ways at the show. We have funny sticker tickets that say things like “Hoarder With Order” or “Vintage Vixen” (over 150 different ones!), and we have fun contests like the “instavintage” instagram photo contest where the winner gets $20 in Vintage Bucks to spend (it looks like monopoly money stamped with our logo.)
But the thing that sets us apart, and that we hear often, is that we’re nice. Yup. Vendors compliment us on taking care to get them the spot they need. Customers tell us “the vendors are really nice here,” too. The funnest thing about running the show is the camaraderie of the flea marketeers. So when we hear Topanga Vintage Market is nice, that’s what makes us proudest.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I come from a family of 5 kids born within 8 years. One of our traditions was to go to Chinatown in Philadelphia just before Christmas. I think my parents figured it was one place they could afford to feed us all and where we could climb around the giant red booth without causing too much of a ruckus. I remember very clearly that after the wonton soup and walnut chicken were done, we’d all troop across the street to a tiny, dark shop full of Chinese treasures. It was exciting to be shopping at night. The glass case was dusty but full of amazing handmade toys and fans and bits of jade. We each got to pick something out. I still have that little charm bracelet. I think that’s where my vintage life began.
- Entry is only $3, and kids 12 and under are free. Veterans and Military families are forever free.
- Address: Pierce College, Mason Entrance
Victory Blvd at Mason Ave.
Woodland Hills, CA 91306
- Website: http://www.topangavintagemarket.com
- Phone: 310-422-1844
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/topanga_vintage_market
- Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/topangavintagemarket
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/TopangaVintage
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/topanga-vintage-market-woodland-hills
- Other: http://www.pinterest.com/topangavintage/
Aunt Vicki’s Attic