The Indy Mommy Market Offers Something for Everyone
When Rebekah Fleetwood’s oldest daughter was a baby, she felt inspired to start her own Etsy shop. She sold her creations at local craft fairs and markets where she befriended lots of different shop owners.
“We created this little community, and one day I got this idea in my head to start my own craft fair, but I wanted it to be geared towards kid and baby stuff,” says Fleetwood, a Westfield native who knows how much residents like to shop local.
In the spring of 2016, a month after giving birth to baby number two, Fleetwood put on her first Indy Mommy Market.
“I figured I’d start small and just include 10 or 15 shops,” Fleetwood says.
When she began accepting vendor applications, more than 100 people applied.
“I was blown away,” she says.
Ultimately, she whittled it down to 30 trendy shops and held the event in a church gymnasium. Once again, she underestimated the popularity of her idea when she anticipated 100 to 200 shoppers, and 600 showed. Community interest was evident, so she decided to do it again the following year.
“I wanted it to get bigger and better,” says Fleetwood, who asked her sister-in-law, Katie, and good friend, Brin, to work with her.
Now the three women put on the market twice a year, in the fall and spring. One September when all three ladies were due to give birth, they thought it best not to hold the market. Last spring, COVID-19 forced them to cancel, but they are looking forward to holding a socially distanced market on May 22 in the parking lot and large grassy area at Pennington Park Church in Fishers.
“Even though the crowds are bigger, it doesn’t feel like it because there’s so much room to spread out,” Fleetwood says.
Ironically, the pandemic has made their vendor list grow instead of shrink. While in the past they have averaged roughly 50 vendors, this year Fleetwood invited 75 stores to join.
“So many local businesses have suffered this year due to COVID-19, so I wanted to give these shops an opportunity to sell their merchandise,” Fleetwood says.
Therefore, this year the Indy Mommy Market will feature both their typical fare, which includes children’s clothing, decor, toys and sign makers, as well as women’s boutiques, jewelry, candles and more. In addition, they will have sweet and savory food trucks and coffee vendors on hand.
“We’ll have custom cookies, kettle corn and other goodies,” Fleetwood says.
In addition, they always partner with three local photographers in order to showcase their work and sign new clients.
“That’s a big hit since family photography is so big right now,” says Fleetwood, who has three children with her husband Jon – Lilia, 6, Graham, 4, and Hazel, 2.
What makes the market so special is the driving motivation to serve local shops. This is why they have so many repeat vendors and shoppers.
“Our main goal is not to bring in as many shoppers as we can, but rather to create a place for these shops to set up and let their items be seen,” Fleetwood says. “I want my shoppers and my shops to be happy.”
Fleetwood knows firsthand just how supportive Hamilton County moms are when it comes to shopping.
“They leave with bags and bags full of merchandise,” Fleetwood says. “They can’t carry anymore in their hands. It makes me so happy to know they are supporting local shops.”
In fact, she’s been told numerous times by shoppers that they’ve been contacted by their credit card companies after making a flurry of purchases at the market.
Fleetwood always receives rave reviews about how organized and well-run the market is. Fleetwood, a former kindergarten teacher, feels her former profession has served her well in preparing for this job.
“You really have to be organized with a bunch of crazy 5-year-olds running around,” she says with a chuckle. “I like to have all my ducks in a row.”
After the difficult year we have all endured, community members are thrilled to once again come spend their dollars at the Indy Mommy Market.
“People are telling us that they are so happy to finally have something to put on the calendar,” Fleetwood says.
Though this expanded version of the Indy Mommy Market arose out of a desire to help local vendors recover from a challenging year, Fleetwood is not opposed to keeping it this way if the response is positive.
“In the past, people have told me that they felt like they couldn’t come because they didn’t have kids,” says Fleetwood, who encourages everyone to bring their grandkids, aunts, friends and neighbors. “Now they have a reason to come since we’ll be selling all these other items. Our motto has always been, ‘This is a market for your littles.’ Now it’s a market for the littles of all ages – from newborn to 100.”