The first few years of Bodytonic’s tenure at The Bernard Shaw Bar were synonymous with their backyard Carboot Sales. They started out as a simple way to use a forgotten carpark and grew to become all-day mini festivals. After a hiatus of a few years, markets are once again a regular feature at The Bernard Shaw and what they may lack in cars, egg fights, mild danger and petting zoos they make up for with more stalls, great sellers and a weekly regularity you can count on.
We asked Benni, one of the founders of The Bernard Shaw Flea to tell us more.
Find out more about The Bernard Shaw Flea Market on fb.com/bernardshawfleamarket
Tell us a bit about yourselves. What are your backgrounds and how did you end up running The Bernard Shaw Flea?
My background is media and events – I’ve worked in RTÉ and in events/artist liaison for about 10 years or so. A while back I was doing a few markets, selling my wares to make some extra cash and really liked the buzz of the markets.
I already knew Erica (Head promoter at The Bernard Shaw) and I casually mentioned that I’d love to run a flea market myself and she pretty much offered up The Bernard Shaw right away! Initially I thought it would be a once off but the reaction was so good we decided to go monthly but pretty quickly that morphed into weekly after Trev (Bodytonic) convinced me of the potential that the market had! Here we are over a year later still having a great time and meeting great vendors every week.
Why a flea market? What makes The Bernard Shaw Flea different to others?
Every market has its own thing going on – for The Bernard Shaw Flea I think it’s the combination of the location and the people. We’re outdoors but covered and heated so all bases sorted for the unpredictable Irish weather, plus we have the Italian Cafe crew going inside the bar till 3pm serving amazing brunch and coffee and then The Big Blue Bus pizza crew in the beer garden from 3pm till late. And there’s a full bar. It means the market has everything really – and of course the great and varied vendors! We especially love getting in new traders to keep it really varied and different every week.
We always have a DJ outdoors in the market too and often there’s other things going on – for example last week the Annual Paint Jam was on out the back at the same time with street artists from around the country tagging and creating amazing pieces on the back walls. It means there’s often other things happening alongside the market itself so it’s a really nice place to pop in for a browse, pick up some bargains but also to stay and hang out, have a beer, some food and check out whatever else is going on – plus it’s child and dog friendly!
What challenges do you face running the flea? What do you wish you knew before starting?
I really love running the market, it can be hard work but you know what they say about when you love what you do! Obviously the challenge is getting in different, great vendors, week in-week out, especially when there’s lots of other great markets in Dublin happening every week too. But I think this means that if you’re running a market you need to up your game and that’s great for all the traders and vendors out there.
We always do lots of promotion for the market, run some competitions, think up some ideas for themed markets once a month to mix it up a little and we give our vendors a couple of free beers and some pizza and really try to keep a fun vibe going for them while they’re working all day.
What can we expect from you in the future?
We’ve just started doing themed markets once a month to keep the market fresh. During the summer we had a Comic & Sci Fi Flea which was amazing and really good fun and all the vendors did really well. So we’ll have another one of those before Xmas. We had a Night Market midweek in August which was great and really well attended. We’ll also have a Halloween themed flea with some surprises there and an Xmas Night Market in December – last year our Xmas Market Weekender was a great success so more of that this year ☺
I’ve also started Bespoke Markets which is a full solution event management company. We provide free pop up markets to people or companies who might want a market at their event or festival but don’t have the time or money to invest in organising the vendors, gazebos, tables and so on. So hopefully I’ll be busy with that too whilst running the weekly Bernard Shaw Market every Saturday!
Flea Market at Mauerpark
This market in Berlin is one of my favourites. I always try to make sure I’m staying over on the Sunday whenever I visit the city so I can pop along to this. There’s a great collection of professional traders as well as people doing apartment clear outs and selling their wares – and it’s right beside a lovely meadow and hill so when the sun comes out it’s a really nice festival type vibe. Great!
I think the Dublin flea is bloody brilliant so I felt I should show it some local support! On a sunny day when they can put up the extra gazebos are set up outside the indoor space the market is huge and you can get everything there from furniture to vintage clothes, antiques, collectibles and everything in between. A lovely way to spend a nice sunny Sunday afternoon – when we get them!
The Brooklyn Flea is obviously the Daddy! Over 100 vendors and a really great, huge space with massive variety and great craic.
This article has been produced in association with The Locals