Shortly after bringing L.A. another cool weekly bazaar (which is on hiatus along with every other IRL shopping event), the folks behind Odd Market have quickly whipped up a social distancing-friendly antidote to our weekend flea market withdrawal. L.A. Event Company co-founder and organizer Phillip Dane will launch a virtual pop-up event starting Saturday, April 4 — and the Zoom-powered happening will be shoppable from anywhere in the world.
The Virtual Odd Market's inaugural fair will bring 30 vendors under one digital roof — so those craving al fresco retail therapy can log on from their laptop, smartphone, or tablet from the comfort of their own backyard (or couch!) Attendees can see the lineup in the main lobby, then browse individual booths and video chat with each vendor. To shop, guests can add items from different vendors to a single cart and check out in one transaction, and their items will be shipped free. And just like Odd Market's IRL fleas, live musical performances will also be in the mix.
Dane tells UncoverLA that the e-marketplace already has the support of Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu, whose district includes Sherman Oaks, Hollywood, Hancock Park, and Miracle Mile, to name a few). "The day the events were shut down, I realized the ramifications on our business and those pop-up vendors and then the country's small businesses," says Dane.
He continues: "Aside from the 'we are all in it together,' small business is the backbone of this economy and vital to the integrity of society. Human beings inherently want to help their fellow human. Shopping online is great, but limited. There's no human connection, and in a time when that is being craved more with each passing day, the Virtual Odd Market will solve many problems."
Interested in selling? Vendors can book a virtual booth on Odd Market's website for three days ($50), seven days ($125), or 30 days ($275). The company will collect a 20% commission fee and payments are distributed every two weeks via Paypal. Sellers can also sign up to be featured in a 30-minute "Meet the Maker" Q&A.
Many makers and small business owners that Dane works with regularly are "scared; it's bad enough losing the ability to sell at the events, but many are either holding onto day jobs by a thread or they've been let go already. Not to mention isolation and no connection with the customers in which many look forward to on a weekly, if not daily, basis."