kitsch mandi is a fair that happens every few months in bangalore, and the first one was this past sunday. artisans set up stalls around the grounds of pebble, and visitors can wander through the stalls, enjoy some beer or a glass of wine, and snack on various items.
i had a fantastic time and got to meet some really cool vendors from bangalore and from around india. i definitely spent more money than i should have [i really don’t need two new pairs of earrings], but i like supporting small businesses and am happy with all of my purchases.
in the end i walked away with a gorgeous silk stole designed by johanna [i’ve been lusting after one for ages], one pair of silver earrings, one pair of earrings made out of reused bottle caps, a postcard and a bookmark from sunny eyes & starry skies, and a fantastic bottle repurposed as a lamp from kitsch bits.
i also took stock of other collections and made a little wishlist for future fairs. some of my favourites included:
- the bookmarks and coasters and clutches [and really everything!] from art you like it.
- the laptop covers from clovve.
- the canvas tote bags from dukaan.
- the bangalore prints from kappansky.
- the designs of graphicurry [there’s an elvis postage stamp one].
another thing i like about kitsch mandi is that you can get some good deals. many of the items are pretty reasonably priced to begin with – especially for being handmade – but a lot of the vendors discount their items when they sell here. most of their business takes place online, so when they sell at pop-up shops and fairs they will bring their prices down. i am already building a few purchases into my budget for next month.
as you can see, events like this are like catnip for me — i love walking around and chatting with the vendors and collecting various knick-knacks along the way. we had a great time, but i do have a few tips and tricks to keep in mind for future visits:
- bring cash. there is no atm at pebble, and although there was an online payment provider, the network was pretty slow. i had to find the guys, who had a small wifi network set up for the payments, but it still took a lot longer than necessary to get my transaction to go through. hit up the atm before you head over so you can avoid the hassle. [ps – you can pay for drinks with a debit or credit card]
- go early. the mandi goes from 1-11pm, but after 4pm it’s so crowded that it’s difficult to maneuver. we went around 1.45 and left at 5, but after about 3.30 i felt like i was stepping on people every time i turned around. [also note: live music begins around 6pm. if you want to see the acts, finish your shopping beforehand]
- wear comfortable shoes. most of the area is flat, but there are a few rocky bits where you’ll have to step carefully. we saw a few girls in heels who either took them off or came close to tripping multiple times.
- take a loop. this is always my rule of thumb with fairs of this kind. it goes in a circle, so take one loop, chatting with the vendors, finding out what they have to offer, and asking after prices of items you are interested in. once you’ve seen what everyone has and have figured out what you actually want to buy, do a second loop and pick those things up.
- shop first, eat later. the food is near the entrance / exit, so finish up your shopping and lounging, and then grab a snack before you head out. once you’re in the food area, it’s pretty difficult to get back into the main area.
- grab those business cards. cindy and i collected a stack from the vendors we really liked, so that we can get in touch with them on our own or at least keep an eye on their facebook pages for more announcements. many of them only sell online or at these kinds of fairs, so sometimes you have to do a little stalking to track down something you really like.
the next kitsch mandi is yet to be scheduled, but they generally happen every 6-8 weeks, give or take. follow their facebook page for event updates so that you’ll know when the next one is happening.