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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

Uplifting local queer businesses is important year-round; here are ways to do that. 

While there are a ton of queer-run businesses and queer artists in Philadelphia, they often get overlooked in favor of major corporations. On Saturday, September 10th, over 55 vendors from local queer businesses gathered at the Philly Queer Flea to sell their art and uplift other businesses as well.  

Crowds of people at Love City Brewing Company moved between artist stands as they flipped through art, clothing, and jewelry at Saturday’s Philly Queer Flea hosted by Ab Gibson and Alyssa Rose from Queer Candle Company.  

Ab Gibson, Co-organizer of the Philly Queer Flea, said, “It’s common to only shop with queer businesses during Pride month; we want to showcase that queer businesses and queer artists can be supported year-round.” This is the second year of the Philly Queer Flea, with 55 vendors and over 100 attendees at the event. In comparison to last year, which had about 14 vendors in attendance but around the same crowd pull.  

The parking lot of Love City Brewing Company located in Callowhill at 1023 Hamilton Street, was filled with vendor stands, tables of art prints, jewelry, and racks of clothing surrounding the artists while they talked to shoppers. Attendees and artists talked about the pieces available and about other events and issues within the queer community as local DJ, Solar Sounds played live music for the crowd.  

“Every time I go to the Philly Queer Flea I feel connected to my friends and fellow artists in the community,” said artist vendor Florian Spece of Florian Francis, a tufted arts shop. “Shopping locally instead of with big corporations helps to uplift queer businesses, giving the opportunity for folks like myself to see their businesses become a full reality.”  

Many vendors shared the same sentiment as Spece; they find that being able to have a safe space where they are given a chance to showcase their work helps them gain exposure as well as being able to connect with other members of the queer community while earning a profit. A few attendees and artists expressed how nice it was to be in a space that they knew was explicitly queer-friendly and that they felt safe at the Philly Queer Flea. 

Event attendee, Chelsea Cowit said, “It’s nice to go to an event and know I’ll be accepted, it doesn’t matter what my shirt says or if I’m wearing a Pride flag, I can just be unapologetically myself.” It’s important to many members of the LGBTQ+ community that they can be safe at events and that they can connect with other members of the community as well.  

Representation is just as important in the queer community as the connection between members is. Event attendee, Regina Crotser said, “There are lots of great queer artists; events like the Philly Queer Flea bring a huge sense of community to those artists. It’s important to celebrate the work they do so they can make a living through it.” Crotser believes that it is important to keep having events like the Philly Queer Flea so that artists have a chance to make a living doing what they love and representing the community they care about.  

The connection that the Philly Queer Flea seeks to encourage between members of the queer community became even more present as the event went on. Vendor Gabriel Echeverri of Wildcraft Prints said, “For me, The Philly Queer Flea is a great opportunity to show solidarity for and among queer artists in the Philly community.” Vendors and customers trade business information, fashion advice, and other recommendations for queer venues that provide a safe space like the Philly Queer Flea aims to. They trade information on queer events and stories about their own identities; the community begins to come alive and businesses continue to thrive.  

Focusing on the opportunities of exposure and collaboration between artists is just as important as focusing on the connection of the queer community at the event. Vendor Moss Wichrowski said, “Uplifting queer businesses is important because every artist deserves an opportunity to have their businesses supported; the Philly Queer Flea provides me with support as an artist and opportunities to showcase my work to a community I feel safe in.” 

In addition to all the shopping and solidarity at the Philly Queer Flea, the organizers have pushed a focus on giving back to the community. “The Philly Queer Flea has been pairing with a local reparations organization, Wealth Redistribution Group, to help earn funding for black people in the area and to contribute to the fight for reparations,”  said Gibson. The Wealth Redistribution Group had its own stand at the front entrance of the Love City lot, handing out flyers for their cause and educating shoppers about its purpose.  

Gibson added, “I started the Philly Queer Flea so that I could engage with the queer community and my fellow artists while also working and promoting my business. It’s important to make a safe space for queer businesses and make supporting marginalized communities a priority for shoppers.” To the organizers of the Philly Queer Flea, it’s great to have queer businesses uplifted but to be able to do that, touch base with their community, and make connections in that is the most important goal for them.  

For more information on the Philly Queer Flea contact: https://instagram.com/phillyqueerflea?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=  

And for more information on the Wealth Redistribution Group go to: https://instagram.com/wealthredistribution?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=  

Hi! I'm Giovanna. I'm from Philadelphia and I'm an English Major and Temple in my sophomore year. I love reading, writing, music, and crocheting. I'm really excited to be writing for Her Campus this year.