Historically speaking, Jacksonville hasn’t exactly been known for being hip, trendy, or cutting-edge. Despite rebranding efforts over the decades from “The Bold New City of the South” to “Jax. It’s Easier Here,” that have ranged from overstatements to complete whiffs, we remain in a kind of up-and-coming limbo, as the region’s connection to popular culture is sustained currently by a talented NFL team and some good-natured lampooning courtesy of NBC’s “The Good Place.” Luckily, a new wave of creative and innovative individuals, both native and transplants, are poised to change that stigma.
From creatively themed nightlife to reimagined retail, new ideas are springing up all over town. Some of these endeavors are inspired by well-established movements in bigger cities. Still, the idea that anything they can do, we can do better (or, at least, we can do also) prevails, which is an exciting new outlook for the Bold City!
Following the success of long-running, multi-vendor market events like Riverside Arts Market and the Vagabond Flea, over the past couple of years many smaller, tighter knit markets with distinctive themes have emerged. These mini pop-up style markets, typically held in partnership with other businesses—a bar or small boutique—feature vendors selling vintage and handmade goods and have become destinations for an afternoon or evening of drinks, fun, fashion, and micro-consumerism.
Jenna Richey, mastermind behind one of the most popular pop-ups, dubs this scene, “the hustle culture.” Richey’s appropriately named Twerk and Shop, started as a creative spin on a typical Ladies Night at Downtown bar and music venue 1904. “I was asked to DJ one of the events, and I told them I wanted my ladies night to be a little bit different,” she said. “I wanted to include more ladies in a ladies night, and pop-ups are my thing. So I reached out to a few girls I knew who also did pop-ups, and they asked their friends, and it just became this big thing.”
This group is going to save the world. I watched my space morph into an insanely supportive hive for “PULP” ep preview by the very talented @earth2ten 🧡 hands down one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. These photos by @cre8jax perfectly capture the night. Just wowwwwwwwww 🍊
Vintage sellers such as Painted Whack and Poor Girl Vintage, and vendors of handmade goods like Aunt Gwen and House of Pale fill the dance floor at the now-monthly Twerk and Shop.
The urban core isn’t the only area of town riding the pop-up wave. Beachside, Atlantic Beach’s Hotel Palms hosts an ever-growing assortment of rad events from local boutique pop-ups and fashion shows to art exhibits and yoga classes in the hotel’s laid-back courtyard. In St. Augustine Vintage Moon Market, takes place on the last Sunday of every month, and features vintage and handmade goods, along with live music from local performers. With pop-ups continuing to emerge all over town, it seems as though the hustle culture is planting its foot firmly in the 904.
NATURAL BEAUTY APOTHECARY SHOPS
The natural health and beauty trend—closely related to the wellness movement—has been on the rise for several years, and the First Coast is catching on. Small, locally owned shops like Riverside’s Gloss Goods and St. Augustine’s The Rosy Cheek are changing the way locals think about the ingredients in their beauty regimen. Both shops are owned by young, health-conscious mothers, and almost exclusively carry products that are made with all-natural, organic, and often vegan ingredients.
When consumers buy from these stores, not only are they buying local, they can be confident that they are not dousing their hair and skin with toxic chemicals. Win, win! From coconut oil-based makeup, to sulfate-free hair care, to organic adaptogen powders and even beard oils for the dudes, these shops are representative of a changing consciousness among young folks regarding health and beauty.