In Conversation With The Women Who Brought About Kochi's First Flea Market - On Flea.k

In Conversation With The Women Who Brought About Kochi's First Flea Market - On Flea.k

  • 17 Jan 2017
  • Fathima AbdulKader
  • Features

Walk down a street with a friend or two enjoying the fresh air and the open market appeal,  look up at the fairy lights as it gets dark, listen to the talented musicians playing, chuckle at the jokes from a comic on the stage, indulge in the best of food and best of all, look through an array of products on display from vendors of all imaginable categories from your own locality.

If this sounds like a perfect weekend scenario, you are a soul that needs a flea market in their life. Well luckily for Kochiites, one that rightly fits the bill is popping up on 4th and 5th February 2017 at Cochin Gymkhana, Kadavantra. Kochi Onflea.k is the first flea market to hit the city and has already garnered a lot of interest from the city dwellers. Bhavya Babu Mathew, Anz Elizabeth Esho and Leah Rachel Abraham, who are family friends worked to bring this venture around. Wtzupkochi caught up with the ladies to know more about the story behind Kochi Onflea.k, the story till now and their path forward.

How did the idea of a flea market start off?

I had gone to Delhi to Dilli Haath and the whole atmosphere – open air, fairy lights, promoting culture and everything inspired me so much that I wanted something similar to happen in Kochi as well. While Bangalore has Kitsch Mandi or Sunday Soul Sante, Kochi still doesn’t have something similar, even with all the entrepreneurs that are here. We are hoping that Onflea.k would fill that gap.

An image from Kitsch Mandi, Banglore

How long has the works for Onflea.k been going on?
I had my trip to Delhi in October and since December me and Anz and Leah have been meeting up every other day after coming back and we got working soon after. For the last month or so, we have been talking to sponsors and vendors and have gotten things sorted out.

Talking about sorting things out,your logo is pretty interesting. How did that come about?
We wanted something very traditional and rooted in kerala and obviously thought of an elephant in all it's glory - with a "nettipattam". But being a flea market, we thinked up something a little more contemperory and then the origami elephant was created. 

It has just been a few weeks since you went public about the event and how has the response been since then?

We launched our page one or two weeks back and the response that has been pouring in has been amazing. I don’t think anyone had any idea about the amount of people that were looking out for something like this to happen in Kochi. There are so many dancers, music bands and of course business people who are based out of home who reached out to us after hearing about Onflea.k. We came across boutiques, soap, bath and body product makers, as well as people who do stationery, wall art and more that we didn’t even know existed in kochi. 

What are the things you are looking forward to most about the event?

I am excited to see the whole thing, about how the work that we have put in will be received. We are looking at people from different walks of life with different interests to be there at the event. The usual crowd at events in Kochi are based solely on shopping. We have music bands, stand up comedians, and even a rap group all geared up to entertain the crowd at Onflea.k. The event will be hel at Cochin Gymkhana club from 11 am to 8 pm. We are going to create a beautiful ambience with fairy lights that will come on once the sun has goes down. We are hoping whoever comes to the event will leave with an experience they will cherish.

How do you plan on taking On Flea.k ahead?

We are planning on doing this every six months, and then slowly expanding to other cities in Kerala. This time our concept is based on women empowerment and 90% of our stalls are women oriented. From our part we have given some stalls for women from low income groups and Bhodhini is helping us this time. We are hoping that in the future we can take up another relevant cause and do something along the same line.

With over 40 vendors including handmade soap brand The FIG, fashion brands like Jugalnbhandhi, handmade details such as Leena George’s Décor items, numerous home bakers and cafes and of course the indispensable part of Kochi – it’s many independent musicians, On Flea.k is an event that will be the first of it's kind for Kochiites. 

Words by: Fathima Abdul Kader

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