‘As long as people keep coming’: Marketplace increases draw, builds tradition

Grace Kosch (left), owner of Whānau Inspired, offers “free smells” to all who come across her booth during the weekend GypsyMoon Marketplace Christmas event. The marketplace featured vendors, live music and visits with Santa Claus.

Eleanor Tolbert

Barns are usually a place for horses, dirt and hard labor. At GypsyMoon Marketplace, a barn is a spot for handmade crafts, live music and holiday fun.

Whitnee Mosley, co-creator of GypsyMoon Marketplace, a bi-annual barn sale, said it all began in the fall of 2015. She and her mother-in-law Angie Mosley founded the marketplace after deciding to host a barn sale in their family-owned stables, Highland Stables, which also serves as a wedding venue.

Whitnee Mosley said her mother-in-law has always been passionate about event planning and decorating, which made the marketplace a special pursuit.

“It was her dream to host one,” Whitnee Mosley said. “We talked 30 vendors into trusting and believing in us and made it happen.”

In the barn, each vendor is designated a stall. They set up their merchandise both inside and outside the stall and choose a checkout spot.

The marketplace hosted its annual Christmas event from Thursday to Saturday this year, making way for a number of Christmas-themed booths fit with fake snow, Santa statues and prop evergreen trees.

A stage for live music was set up at one end of the barn, and there were seats for people to take a break from shopping and listen. Food trucks and drink stands with different items like festive fruit tea, fried green tomatoes and Coke cakes were situated outside.

When the marketplace first started, Whitnee and Angie Mosley contacted vendors through social media. They found the businesses they wanted through Facebook, Whitnee Mosley said.

As the marketplace has become more and more popular, however, the businesses now come to them. Whitnee Mosley said she and Angie sift through several thousand vendor applications before events.

“It is a huge application process,” Whitnee Mosley said. “We try to find home décor, handmade and vintage items and just anything unique.”

One vendor fitting this description is Recycled Reads. Owned by WKU alums Mason and Bethany Matthews, Recycled Reads takes vintage books and turns them into art pieces for decorating a home.

Recycled Reads has sold at every GypsyMoon Marketplace sale since its beginning, Mason Matthews said. Of all the shows Recycled Reads goes to, this is its best show of the year.

“This is our most successful show,” Mason Matthews said. “GypsyMoon draws the biggest crowd because people travel from other states to be here.”

Besides the success, he said he loves this show because of the atmosphere. Being from Glasgow, he feels a connection with this community and the love it has for his art.

“The biggest compliment is when people say they came just to see us,” Mason Matthews said. “It really warms our hearts.”

Whitnee Mosley said attendance at marketplace events has only grown. Its first show brought about 2,500 people, and now, onto its ninth show, attendance extends to 4,000-5,000 people per weekend.

A portion of the profit made off each show goes to Life’s Better Together, a charity which provides financial assistance to families with a member battling ongoing illness. So far, the marketplace has donated around $30,000.

Alea Luckett, a junior from Louisville, said she really enjoyed her experience at GypsyMoon Marketplace. This was the first year she attended.

“I can’t believe I’ve never been,” Luckett said. “I had heard a lot about it before, so I decided this year to come see what all the hype was about.”

She said she was impressed by what the vendors had to offer. A lot of the items were things she had never seen before or common items with a unique twist.

“There was a lot of cool stuff,” Luckett said. “One booth had the framed patents, and another had magnetic states to hang your keys on. I just have never seen anything like it.”

Now that she’s had this experience, she said she cannot wait to come back. This year she brought along her friends from home, and next year she’s hoping to bring along her mom.

Whitnee Mosley said she hopes the marketplace will continue on for many years. Not only will it help to keep the farm alive, but it is a bonding experience for her whole family. She said they try to learn from each show how to make the next better.

“We really want to keep the tradition alive,” Whitnee Mosley said. “As long as people keep coming, we’ll keep having it.”

GypsyMoon Marketplace is located at 1301 B Hunts Lane and will next open in April. It can be contacted online at its website, gypsymoonmarketplace.com, and Facebook page.

Get more stories like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for Life on Top, the Herald’s lifestyle-based newsletter, at wkuherald.com/newsletter.

Features reporter Eleanor Tolbert can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on social media at @ellietolbert.