Twice a year Vintage Charlotte Market (VTGCLT) host a giant pop-up with more than 80 vendors selling the best vintage and homemade items, from ceramics to clothing. And the next market is on April 27 at Camp North End.
The event was founded in 2012 by Amy Herman (a photographer/artist by trade) and it’s ballooned into one of the biggest and best markets in Charlotte with vendors from all around the region, food trucks and more. Amy told us she started VTGCLT after moving here from Chicago, where should would sell vintage items at huge markets.
“When I moved to Charlotte, I was really wanting to find something like that,” she told the Agenda. “But I couldn’t find one, so I started one.”
The first market had 17 vendors; 800 people showed up. “To me,” Amy said, “it demonstrated the need, or at least the want, here for this type of market.”
What to expect: You’re going to be able to find clothing, furniture, apothecaries, ceramics, paper goods, baked goods, paintings and all kinds of vintage and handmade goods. There are 82 vendors for the spring market — 25 of them are new to VTGCLT — and half are selling vintage goods, half are selling handmade products. Amy said the items are “super varied” and “range dramatically.”
What the founder says: Every item being sold has some sort of story. “After market, people will post about what they’ve purchased,” Amy said. “And so many times people will post something like ‘I had to buy this because my grandparents used to have this. I got so nostalgic looking at it.’ Like vintage Christmas stuff is huge because people associate it with family.” She also loves seeing people wearing clothing they bought at the market on Instagram.
Amy also occasionally hears the market is targeted toward a specific type of person, but that isn’t the case. “There’s truly something for everyone,” she said. “I’ve never heard of anyone coming and not at least seeing something they liked.”
Being a vendor: Amy told the Agenda that only about a third of those who apply to be a vendor snag a spot — it’s incredibly competitive. For one thing, space is limited, but Amy also cares a lot about the quality of the goods being sold at VTGCLT, so she has to be selective.
What longtime customers love: Keren Kurti-Alexander has been going for five years and said to expect the best vendors the area has to offer.
“What makes this market different is community,” she said. “Not only will you find one of a kind buys, but it’s a place to connect directly with local artists and makers. Since all the vendors are from our region, when you support them, you get to directly support our creative economy.”
Pam Stowe has never missed a VTGCLT market. She goes for the clothes and tchotchkes.
“It’s so fun to see what Amy pulls together,” Pam said. “Every single one is an improvement from the one before it. I think it’s so cool to interact with and meet the person who made whatever you’re buying — to know who made it or what it means, it makes it very special.”
Be prepared for a big crowd: Up to 4,000 people are expected to stop by, so Pam recommends showing up around 15 minutes early to get a spot in line.
Go with a plan: Pam and Amy both suggest snagging an early bird ticket if you’re shopping for a specific item, especially for vintage (for example, if you really want a one-of-a-kind vintage arm chair). And Pam and Keren told me they like to do a lap around the perimeter first, and they’ll either put things that catch their eye on hold or buy it right away.
“There’s two ways to shop,” Pam said. “If you know what you want to buy, you can go early, take the lap, put the things you like on hold for a few minutes, and then go back and buy the things you really want after seeing it all. Or, if you’re not on the hunt, go later in the day when it’s not as crowded, walk around leisurely, and just kind of enjoy the atmosphere.”
Food and drink: You’ll have Birdsong Brewing, King of Pops, OooWee BBQ and The Dumpling Lady on site. Pam told us there’s always a bar, too. “They’ve got great bloody marys and mimosas,” she said. “So it can really be a party if you want it to.”
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; early bird entry is 10 a.m.
Cost: $2 general admission, $7 to shop an hour early
More events: Looking for more things to do in Charlotte? Here’s a full calendar of the 80+ hottest events coming up in our city.