Online Entertainment Business graduate Devika Arora is the founder and creative head of the 420 Rooftop Flea Market, a bi-monthly bazaar held on a grassy rooftop in the heart of Calcutta, India. She developed the concept in 2011 during her final months in the program, looking for a way to blend her love of music, dance, design, and art into a local business venture.
In less than a year the Flea Market has become a popular destination for area residents – attracting a diverse lineup of artists, chefs, and other vendors. We recently spoke with Devika, who explained how the idea came together, what a typical event is like, and how the community has helped turn her seed of an idea into a success story.
Full Sail: How long after coming up with the idea were you able to open the Flea Market?
Devika Arora: 3 months. The first big event I hosted was called ‘420: Intro.’ We had 10 stall owners who sold local handmade items and organic products, while indie musicians performed on the unplugged stage. It was the perfect start.
FS: Can you describe what a typical event is like?
DA: We have three permanent fixtures – shopping stalls, a live performance stage, and a hangout area, but every event we host has a new theme. For ‘Dramarama’ we introduced stalls like hair braiding, airbrush tattooing, and face painting. Another one called ‘Back To Basics’ sold only organic items, recycled products, and vegan food.
FS: Have you gotten positive feedback from the community?
DA: The warmest response that a start up venture could wish for. Our first few gathered crowds of 200 to 400 people, and we have now grown to almost 4000 people at our last event. We have grown by a staggering rate, and the people of Calcutta have single-handedly made the Flea Market what it is thanks to their support.
FS: What’s been the most rewarding part of the success for you?
DA: The best feeling is going home after a long day and looking back at what you’ve created. When I think about all those young musicians who played on stage for the first time, or fashion design grads who finally had enough gumption to sell their clothes in a real world situation. That makes me very proud.