Berlin Flohmärkte: Can Anyone Be An Independent Seller in Berlin?

Flea markets have made themselves integral to Berlin’s identity as a DIY hub. Any well-informed tourist will have Flohmärkt im Mauerpark on their list of must-see attractions, and any resident will have an obligatory flea market trip planned for the summer weekends, followed by an optional brunch!

Most of us go to enjoy the sights and sounds, check out what’s on offer, maybe find a vintage bargain or two, but last weekend, I finally experienced what it was like to be the one on the other side of the stall.

It started when a group of friends decided there was only way to end the spring-cleaning chapter of our Berlin lives. We each had bags and bags of clothes - old clothes, and new, unused clothes - basically enough clothes to have our own runway at Berlin Fashion week. So what could we do other than donate them or give them away on Free Your Stuff? Sell them at a flea market, of course!

I braved it to the cellar, pulling out the horded bags of old clothes that had been gathering dust for over a year now, and got to dividing. We tossed clothes into three piles: sell, donate, sell, throw, donate, sell, throw.

Actually getting a stall at the market (Kreuzboerg Flowmarkt @ Prinzessinenngärten in Moritzplatz) could be described as a bit of a race - usually artisans have pre-reserved their regular table, but for us ordinary sellers it’s a first come first serve rush on market day.

Luckily my wonderful friends had the good sense to get there pretty early. Queuing up at 8am, bags in hand, IKEA rail wobbling on the pebbles, they managed to get a pretty sweet spot complete with huge table and a nice view overlooking all the hustle of the market.

Folding, arranging, and hanging clothes took all the way from 8am until when the market really kicked off at 10am. We decided to keep it cheap and cheerful, one woman’s trash is another woman’s come-up, am I right Macklemore? Within the first hour we had already made enough to pay rent for the stall (€25 for 3m).

Photo by @louisevgbg

Pieces were flying off the table and the rack. We had priced items around €2 to put ourselves ahead of the competition, especially since the aim of the game was to purge ourselves of all the unnecessary things we’d collected over the years as a sort of physical detox. We left the apartment that morning with three huge suitcases all rammed with clothes and shoes, and by the end of the day, all had found new homes.

I think flea markets sum up what this city is all about, especially the market in the Prinzessinenngärten, where the communal garden brims with fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. And of course, the community feel of the market makes that 10-hour shift you’re pulling behind your stall worth it. Give me a full day working at a market stall over even half a day in an office.

The Kreuzboerg Flowmarkt is the “little brother” of the Maybachufer’s Nowkoelln Flowmarkt. Far less packed than Mauerpark but still with a huge variety of art, food, and second-hand shopping, both are well-worth a weekend trip.

By Shoshi Khaddour
Damascus born, London raised, Berlin based. Shoshi is a journalist with a focus on a range of social and political issues. A former broadcast journalist, her interests include food fairs, films, current affairs and space. She showcases day-to-day Berlin life on her Instagram and Blog.
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