Fancy a bag embellished with a Tetrapak cover or batuas made from old saris? These and many such innovative products made from recycled and upcycled material were up for sale at Second To None’s first flea market held last weekend.
“Many products have a longer shelf life than we imagine. The idea is to give them a new lease of life,” says Anupama Gummaraju, a former IT-firm employee who founded Second To None around a month ago. After quitting her job, she discussed the idea of selling recycled products with like-minded people and Second To None, the forum for that, was born. The idea was also to encourage people to reuse instead of living by the “always buy new” practice, she says.
At the market held at New Jaaga, the space on KH Road to nurture innovative endeavours, vendors could display their products for an hour, after which they had to make way for the next seller. In case they had unsold items, they could return after a few hours and reclaim a table or space for another hour. Being the first of its kind, the two-day flea market marketed through Facebook did not employ any filtering criteria and was open to all. Jute bags starting at Rs 50 were a hit, as were second-hand books, shoes, clothes, CD racks and DVDs, which also attracted a sizeable number of buyers. “I bought frames which had jazz instruments, being a jazz fan.. I picked up the frames for Rs 100 each — a good bargain,” says Sudhakar D, a software designer.
The emphasis was also on eco-friendly products. The Belaku Trust, an eco-conscious NGO, had several recycled paper exhibits, including gift boxes, note pads, tags and eye-catching paper bead chains made from magazine paper. Recycled paper or treated and bonded paper was a common medium for several exhibits. The Diya Foundation, a vocational centre for the differently-abled that empowers mentally-challenged adults through vocational training, had an assortment of eco-friendly papier-mâché items. At the foundation, the physically challenged members hone the skills of the mentally challenged. “Around 50 per cent of the running costs are met by the sale of various products that are made and packaged in-house,” says Sarah Santamaria, chief executive officer, Diya Foundation. The market also had pain-relieving balms marketed under the label Granny Gregs which combined natural ingredients like beeswax, cocoa butter, essential oils and marigold petal extract. These products were at the exhibition courtesy the non-profit trust A Hundred Hands.
The market was also a forum of sorts for environmental activists. So there was a team from Daily Dump explaining composting at home, and others on the benefits of veganism and on managing waste efficiently in communities.
Gummaraju and her two co-organisers were elated with the response. “It was great for a start. Many people came, bought and sold things, which was what we wanted. The forum where experts spoke about efficient waste management, composting, and veganism were also a success. This is an important part of the awareness on environmental issues which we also want to focus on,” she says.
More such flea markets by Second To None are definitely on the cards, though the organisers have not yet decided on the details. But their experience from organising the first could see the event taking place for a day instead of two, and giving half-a-day slots to vendors instead of hourly ones.