Over the course of two decades, Randolph Street Market (1341 W. Randolph St.) has become a major hub for sourcing vintage and antique selects from hundreds of vendors like This Old Book, Vintage Raw and African Village. Adored by top interiors talents such as Nate Berkus, Brianne Bishop, Anthony Michael and more, the West Loop event is a mainstay in the city’s design scene. In honor of its 20th anniversary, founder and executive producer Sally Schwartz fills us in on the market’s growth, its impact on the community and what the next 20 years will look like.
Chicago designer Brianne Bishop incorporates a brass pot sourced from Randolph Street Market into one of her projects.
How has Randolph Street Market evolved over the past 20 years?
Providing niche vintage and antiques dealers with a mass-appeal market in the heart of Chicago has been our goal since day one. We have some of the best pickers in the biz on our roster. Since its inception in 2003, the market has evolved by adding more original and vintage global goods and antiques from textiles and artifacts to functional furnishings from around the globe.
Interiors firm PROjECT also turns to RSM for curated selects.
How are you celebrating the anniversary?
We are continuing our Tastemakers Choice for Charity initiative, in which editors, style influencers and members of the Chicago interior design community tag market items they love for a local charity [past charities have included Project Onward, PAWS and Chicago House]. Ten percent of those sales go directly to that weekend’s spotlight charity. This year we will be giving away five 20th anniversary Treasure Hunters packages on Instagram, too. Each will include a hotel stay plus breakfast, lunch and dinner in the West Loop—and a vintage gift from RSM.
RSM founder and executive producer Sally Schwartz.
How has Randolph Street Market impacted the local design community?
Being able to consistently source quality pieces is one of the reasons why interior designers love RSM. The pandemic had left interior designers waiting in queues for everything from furniture and upholstery fabrics to art and area rugs, which negatively impacted budgets and timelines industry-wide for home projects. More than ever, they have had to turn to American makers and antiques vendors to fill in the gaps. Buying pre-loved pieces also helps build a more conscious and sustainable future for interior design. We are aware that vintage shopping is not an end-all solution to overconsumption, but it’s about doing our part by focusing on full-circle retail.
The market is packed with eclectic selects big and small.
How important has the support from local designers been to Randolph Street Market’s success?
We’re so fortunate to have gained support from local designers who are now members of our Designer Advisory Board. It’s overwhelming in a good way. Their support by attending each market and incorporating the pieces they find within their projects has legitimized the quality of our vendors and established the credibility of the market within the design community. They demonstrate how to work carefully chosen vintage pieces into more minimalist environments and give their non-designer audience some great out-of-the-box decorating ideas. It’s an incredible feeling to be backed by such talented individuals.
Beads from RSM in a Brianne Bishop-designed space
What’s been the most rewarding part of your role as founder and executive producer?
I get thrills seeing people making new memories at RSM. I love match-making vendors with customers, vendors with other vendors, and customers with other customers. And most of all, the whole event is a visual feast for me—it’s always changing and there’s so much color, texture and intrigue.
A plethora of eye-popping patterns at RSM
What can we expect next from Randolph Street Market?
Art, antiques, vintage, decor, fashion, jewelry… You never know what you’re going to find on a Randolph Street Market treasure hunt. It’s a lively event series for the whole family—and that’s the magic that we hope will keep people coming back for the next 20 years! Our future plans are hard to share as I believe the future is now, so I am constantly tweaking the event from the placement of dealers and customer experience to the messaging and marketing. My goal is always to convert new prospects and those who have never shopped at a vintage flea market into rabid fans and loyal customers of Randolph Street Market.
Donna Mondi adds character to an interiors project with this bronze sculpture from RSM.