Q&A with Brick City Design Market co-founder Meca McKinney

Meca McKinney is the co-founder of the Brick City Design Market along with Gizem Bacaz, owner of Seed Gallery downtown Newark. Our Q&A with Meca about what the project is, how it came to be, and her hopes for the venture:

What is the Brick City Design Market?

The Brick City Design Market is a weekly pop-up shop every Saturday at Seed Gallery showcasing the finest fashion, accessory, product and furniture designers in the tri-state area. There is an itinerary of fashion and beauty workshops, cooking demos, pampering services, and more all while the DJ spins and an art exhibit is shown.

What inspired the idea?

I actually had a recurring dream of bringing a market like the ones I experienced in Soho and the Meatpacking district to Newark, but couldn’t figure out in my dream how or where. I don’t like the cold weather, so replicating the outdoor markets I’d experienced in NYC wasn’t completely ideal. Gizem, the owner of Seed, was thinking of the same thing, but inside of her gallery. After a few messages back and forth on Facebook, The Brick City Design Market was born.

Why did you decide to bring this project to Newark?

Newark is the land of my birth. Although I left the area for over a decade, I always have found my way back even if it’s just professionally. It’s a shame that it’s a stone’s throw from one of the best cities in the world, and yet lacks so much opportunity for independent thinkers and creators. I hope to help change that.

Why did you choose Seed Gallery as the venue?

Seed Gallery chose me. Plus I just love Gizem!

What are your hopes for the marketplace?

I hope it becomes a mainstay for people to come and network with the creative class, collaborate, grow brands, and inspire one another for a long time to come.

How does the Vinyl Exchange factor in?

The Vinyl Exchange happens simultaneously as guest DJs spin and vinyl lovers exchange records. It’s a listening party that provides the backdrop for the Design Market.

How have you attracted so many artisans from outside of the immediate area?

As an designer myself, many of my friends and associates are designers. Plus, I lived in North Jersey – in Bergen and Essex Counties – and South Jersey, plus taught design in Philly and worked in NYC’s corporate fashion industry. I currently live in Hudson County where I’m earning my Masters in design and craft, so I have built many relationships within the 100 mile radius.

Meca is also the owner of Jypsea Leathergoods. Her handcrafted collection features handbags, accessories, home decor, and furnishings. Check out details for this Saturday’s Design Market here, and like Brick City Design Market on Facebook.

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