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September 19, 2017

At The Summit

Talking to the woman on top at Flea Style

Brittany Cobb is something of a marvel. A former journalist, she took her career in a radically different direction in 2009 when she founded Flea Style. The quarterly meet-up in Dallas and Houston brings together more than 300 artisans selling handmade, vintage, and one-of-a-kind finds. Now, there’s a full e-commerce site, a Fridays with Flea Style podcast, and a bi-annual Summit. Happening September 23, the full-day event (the third so far) promises panel discussions with accomplished creatives and brand-leaders, mentorship sessions, and a lot of fun. For more, we chatted with Cobb.

fleastyle4What inspired the Flea Style Summit?
About two years ago the thought hit me like a ton of bricks. At the time, I was thinking of ways to continue supporting the small business community without adding more shows. I’m a big believer that the shows have to be spaced throughout the year to create an urgency for people to shop and support the vendors. I was watching how other conferences like Yellow, Bloom, and Create & Cultivate inspire others and thought, we can do that! We have so many creative people to tap as panelists or join us as attendees. It was the natural next step.

 How long have you been planning the fall Summit?
Each Summit takes about six months to plan. This is the first time we have several panelists I’ve never met. I’m really eager to meet them during our private dinner the night before and bring them into the Flea Style family. We treat them to an amazing evening to break the ice, learn about each other, and create a comfort level for the next day on stage. Guests always comment on how comfortable and “real talk” our event is. I credit that to our friendly approach and atmosphere.

You have lined up some amazing panelists. Hate to make you play favorites, but is there someone you’re particularly excited about?
I’ve worked hard to create a mix that will mingle well, open up on stage, and most importantly, inspire others. I can’t wait to talk to every single person, but One Kings Lane creative director Jon Tutolo is one of my best friends, so I know he’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait for people to learn from his incredible life and career journey. I’m also pumped to interview Cammy Miller, co-founder of Show Me Your Mumu. She’s only 30 years old and has created such a cult brand. I want to know all of her tips and tricks!

Since its inception, you’ve also snagged some incredible guests on the Fridays with Flea Style podcast. What’s something you’ve learned from these conversations?
For one, there are so many amazing people out there doing amazing things! What strikes me the most is how alike we all are, regardless of professions or past experiences. Most of us want to live life to the fullest and achieve our personal version of a healthy work/life balance.

Speaking of work/life balance. You have a lot of irons in the fire. How do you do it?Balancing work and family is a struggle because I could work 24/7. I love to work and have finally come to grips with the fact that I can’t do it all. I’ve had to assemble my little army between childcare, employees, and family to create a cushion to keep me feeling balanced—most of the time. There are days I feel like I could’ve worked harder, been a better mom, or wife—but don’t we all?

What’s one thing you do every day that makes life better?
I take my kids to their schools and walk them to their classes every single day. I know this isn’t particularly medal-worthy, but it puts me at work at 9:30 a.m. when I could easily be at my desk at 8 a.m. to tackle my to-do list. I love singing with them in the car, walking with them hand-in-hand, and having special time with each of them. I arrive to work with very little “mom guilt” because I was present with them. I also have a margarita or martini every night with my husband as we talk through our days. I love this tradition. 

Do you have a motto?
It’s cliché, but I’ve always lived by the words, “work hard, play hard.” There are few qualities that I respect more than hard work, especially now that I’m a boss. That said, I also love to travel and have big fun with friends and family. My friend Paula Minnis (owner of GAIA) loves the Teddy Roosevelt quote “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” I’ve really tried to live that one this year when I feel overwhelmed.

What do you hope people will say after leaving the Summit?
We’ve had people leave and register their business with the state the following Monday. We’ve had people start a business afterward and join our shows that year as a vendor. We’ve had people take an idea—like a small pop-up market in East Texas—put it into action, and flourish. I want all of this magic to happen post-Summit. It’s exactly what we’re about!

What’s next?
A lot! We’re focused on growing our e-commerce platform and securing a Dallas brick-and-mortar right now. We want to support our vendors and shoppers more than four times a year at our Dallas and Houston shows.

The Details: The Flea Style Fall Summit takes place Saturday, September 23. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tickets range from $100 for students to $375 for VIPs. Click here for tickets and more info.