The Ocean Park Merchants Mart might as well be dubbed LA’s Spitalfield Market. Located at 2411 Main Street in Santa Monica, the Ocean Park Merchant’s Mart has the air of a European marketplace, yet it’s just two blocks from the sunny Santa Monica beach. It is host to about twenty booths of both women and men’s apparel, as well as tons of jewelry, vintage and designer clothing, and even an Orangutan Republik boutique and info center.
The Merchants Mart is a colorful little gem among the rising corporate shops of Santa Monica. Brightly painted in yellow, green, and blue, complete with glittery bricks and the merchant’s boutique names spanning the top windows, the Ocean Park Merchant Mart certainly stands out on the already eclectic Main St. The building itself has an interesting local history: it was once the practice space of the Doors and the band themselves even lived in the old Ford warehouse for a short time.
One can easily become overwhelmed when walking into the Merchants Mart; the trick is to go in with enough time and to focus, focus, FOCUS! I, of course, learned the hard way and every time I went into a booth, I was distracted by a sale in the next booth over. This was easy, considering nearly every booth was having some sort of incredible sale.
More on the Ocean Park Merchants Mart after the jump.
It’s also really important to take each booth one at a time as they each have very distinct personalities. Nobody Jones, for example, is a very hip and affordable ‘from the office to play’ booth, while nearby HC has amazing vintage at steeper prices. At HC I came across a hot vintage 70s metallic purse, a la Lindsay Lohan, for $65 and vintage metallic cowboy boots for $98. Not bad if you have the money, but I am on a budget (and a timeline!). TOATOA is another booth that has stylish, easy to wear pieces at very economical prices, whereas Label King Outlet is more expensive, housing Ed Hardy t-shirts and jeans. And this is just scratching the surface!
With so much to choose from, so many great products and original designs, it was difficult to choose the booth in which I wanted to spend my budget of $25. The one booth that kept catching my eye was Neighborhood Backyard. Among the amazing sales and the already great prices I found two dresses to try on. The Merchants Mart has a strict bag policy; customers must check their bags at the counter before trying on clothing. Personally, I think it’s a ploy to make the customers walk by the fantastic jewelry the Merchants Mart offers. I was completely diverted from my clothes to the jewelry. There were sales everywhere! Focus. Focus. I have to focus. I picked out two sets of large glittery hoop earrings (one blue, one green) for only $3 each. Am I in heaven? These pieces would easily sell for at least $20 anywhere else. Girl loves a bargain!
I try on the dresses and naturally I love them both. I decide to go with the unique green summer dress with little brown flower and dot detail at the neck and pleating in the front and back. For only $20, this dress is a steal! As I’m checking out with my new dress and two new pairs of earrings, more jewelry catches my eye, as expected. The Ocean Park Merchants Mart is truly home to some amazing up and coming jewelry designers with exceptionally low prices. Original, unique designs go for roughly $25 and go on sale for as little as $3.
Overall I loved my experience at the Ocean Park Merchants Mart and look forward to visiting them in the future, there is truthfully something for everyone.
RATING$: out of $$$$