Treasure Island Flea Market Brings Color to The Bay

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Sabine Herrmann’s pillows capture a wide variety of natural plants that grow locally.

Margaret Ross and Sarah Rockwood, Staff Writers

Food trucks, designers, artists, and consignment companies unite in the middle of the San Francisco bay on the last weekend of every month for the Treasure Island Flea Market. The New York-style market features a full bar, a fresh farmers’ market, live music, and free parking, all for only a $3 admission fee.
People from all over the Bay Area are attracted to the market for the more than 300 unique vendors alongside a breathtaking view of San Francisco. From stay-at-home moms crafting jewelry for fun, to bakers trying to make it big, the flea market offers an affordable stage for Bay Area entrepreneurs of all types.
The diversity of shopowners and products creates a vibrant environment for shopping and spending time.  “The market is a lot of my favorite things together,” junior Andrew Lewis said. “If I ever need a unique gift, I will definitely go to the market.”
Mirador investigated the unique vendors who make the Treasure Island Flea Market so special.
Stay-at-home mom Kaili Monsef uses her company Wailea Jewelry sales at the flea market to express herself, while still focusing on parenting.
“I just like to get out here and talk stories with some people. I’ve been making stuff since I was younger than you guys, and then once I became a mom, I didn’t want to go to work. I wanted to be able to stay home with [my daughter], and work wouldn’t allow me to do that. This is what I do when she’s sleeping. I can have my own thing. It’s just a good way to maintain your self identity while you’re also a mother of kids,” Monsef said.
From dainty necklaces to elegant bracelets, Monsef’s creative pastime has grown into a profitable career. Monsef’s products can also be found on her Etsy shop.

Artist Sabine Herrmann launched her nature-inspired pillow business, Plantillo, by transferring photographs of plants onto pillows that are almost identical to the original vegetation. Following her passion for photography, Herrmann finds her photo material around her neighborhood and hand makes her products.
“I live in Berkeley and when I go on walks, I’ll bring my camera and take pictures of all kinds of things.  I’ve used agave flowers that grow in front of the North Berkeley library.  I’ll then buy my fabric custom printed and hand sew the pillow myself,” Herrmann said.
For a special gift, Herrmann’s pillows can be found at Etsy, an online marketplace featuring handmade items, as well as Gorgeous and Green, a boutique located on College Avenue. New to the Treasure Island Flea Market, Herrmann hopes that it will help increase her sales.
“I don’t think many people know Etsy or go by the store I sell at, so this is a just a great way to get my name out.  I’ve been getting good feedback, even if the pillows are a little pricy.”

Cookie entrepreneur Marlo Gertz, owner of Marlo’s Bake Shop, sells her famous twice-baked cookies online and at the flea market.
“The flea market has exposed me to people who otherwise would not have known my brand.  People get to come and taste the product, get the card and visit me later on the website, so it’s definitely increased sales and increased brand awareness,” Gertz said.
Gertz produces only two flavors of her famous biscotti: The Original, a sweet blend of walnuts, chocolate covered raisins, and dark chocolate chips, and The Midnight Marlo, a luscious fusion of Italian espresso, cocoa, and semi-sweet chocolate.
“Marlo’s biscotti is really good. I would definitely go to the market to buy it,” junior Delaney Levine said.
Gertz, a Treasure Island vendor since March, has been able to pursue her goal to share her unique, handmade cookies with a minimal Eco-footprint through the Treasure Island Flea Market.