When Katrina Galian and Gigi Willoughby met through a mutual friend, they soon realized they both shared a common love of thrifting and sustainability. In the age of fast fashion where last season’s trends end up quickly discarded for this season’s latest and greatest, both started Instagram side businesses based around finding new homes for used looks.
When Galian and Willoughby brought those businesses to a large local pop-up market however, they noticed that men ran most of the vendor booths and the market’s selection of vintage clothes followed suit. The experience inspired the friends to create a market of their own, and Queens’ Market was born. The market series, which just concluded its second show, is based solely around women-led pop-ups and takes place at local Dallas businesses like Vector Brewing and Four Corners Brewing Company.
“We just feature women-led businesses, and we try to do everything we can to support those businesses with marketing, a place to set up a pop-up, anything that they really need,” Willoughby said.
The idea took off before the two even hosted their first market, with a huge response from the local community.
“I was surprised at how many people were interested in applying for our very first market,” Galian said of the initial Queens’ Market on May 20. “We had a surplus of applications, which meant that we were able to kind of pick and choose who we could bring in because we didn’t want to have people selling the same thing. We wanted a good variety of different types of vendors.”
As a result, each Queens’ Market includes a variety of fun and fashionable goods and artisan products, from clothing and jewelry to handmade crafts and décor across its 35 to 40 vendors.
By the second Queens’ Market on June 17, the pair already had 88 applicants in total and a growing waitlist to go along with a sizable social media following.
“I really didn’t think we were gonna grow that fast, but there has been a lack of women-led pop-up markets here in the DFW metroplex and we’re just happy to be one of the first to participate in that,” Willoughby said.
Even with the fast success and the growing pains that come with creating an entire business from scratch, Willoughby and Galian are still friends through it all too.
“I feel like Kat is just such an amazing person…just because her strengths and the things that she’s amazing at makes up for my weaknesses and vice versa too,” Willoughby, who designs and manages the Queens’ Market social media, said. She added that they feel comfortable enough to both be able to ask one another for help and bounce ideas around when needed, while still being able to disagree if necessary.
“Honestly, I feel like it brought us closer because now we just have so much to talk about all the time,” Galian, who schedules the vendors and heads up the logistics aspects of the markets, said. “(Willoughby) is really great to work with, and she’s really good at graphic design.”
Now, the friends are already looking to capitalize on the early success of their working relationship by expanding the Queens’ Market concept in the coming months. After a scheduled break in July, Willoughby explained that they hope to host two Queens’ Markets in August and possibly expand into mini pop-up markets of 12 to 18 vendors focused on more specific niche product categories as well.
“We love the entrepreneurial spirit of women because they’re amazing,” Willoughby said of the friends’ market.
For the latest on Queens’ Market, check out their Instagram page here.