Heartbreak tweet leads Keep Going brand to pop-up market launch
Keep Going Market Bridges the Student-Local Gap
The Keep Going Market connects SU students with local small businesses ranging from vintage to modern.
The Keep Going clothing brand came to be in 2022 as co-owner Mike O’Leary tweeted “Keep Going” daily to help recover from a tough breakup.
With Bianca Indelicato, an SU alum and O’Leary’s best friend, the two DJs combined an album release party with a brand launch.
Indelicato and O’Leary met habitually on Thursday mornings at Peaks Coffee Co., a coffee shop adjacent to the SU student apartment complex, The 505 on Walnut. Through their friendship with Peaks owner Kelsey Bender came the idea of hosting a collaborative market above their favorite local café.
During a weekly Thursday meeting, the two pitched the market idea to Bender, who suggested they hold the event at the courtyard of the building complex.
Indelicato recognized that there were already plenty of vintage clothing markets in the area. However, Keep Going Market, the collaborative marketplace event on September 24, would feature a combination of hand-picked businesses ranging from tattooing, jewelry, photobooths, coffee and baked goods, bringing a youthful twist to Syracuse markets.
The inspiration came from a market in Liverpool that the two attended in July.
“It was 90% vintage clothes, per usual, with a couple of knickknacks mixed in there,” O’Leary said. “Just another typical market.”
A few days later, Indelicato called up O’Leary and proposed they host their own.
O’Leary said Indelicato’s toxic trait is that she believes she can do anything.
“The flea market near the mall is great. It’s your typical flea market,” O’Leary said. “We wanted that, mixed with a New Age type of market — kind of mashing those two together.”
Both Indelicato and O’Leary were surprised by the turnout of the event. With an even student-to-local community ratio, Keep Going Market’s first edition bridged the gap between local businesses and the SU community.
“We didn’t even put it into perspective,” said Indelicato. “I didn’t even think about the students at first thought.”
Indelicato grew up in the Syracuse area and graduated from SU last year. She said she has always observed a disconnect between year-round Syracuse residents and college students. To Indelicato, one of the best parts of the event was seeing everybody coinciding.
Megan Rydzak, owner of Fat Cat Baking, a vegan pastry bakery and participant in the Keep Going Market, gets her business primarily through wholesale. Her bakery items are sold in many cafés throughout Syracuse, including on-campus at People’s Place inside Hendricks Chapel.
According to Rydzak, the only way for her to meet and interact with customers is through pop-up events like the Keep Going Market. She was pleased with the turnout and said that Fat Cat Baking has always had plans to target a broader range of SU students.
“It’s awesome,” Rydzak said. “My husband went to SU so it’s nice to see the evolution of students. They’re always so happy, so carefree, it’s nice to be around that energy.”
Kathy Vu, a jewelry artist and owner of 1709 Jewelz, launched her business in late August. She thought the Keep Going Market was the perfect opportunity to bring it to the Syracuse community.
Vu said Keep Going Market is the type of event she would like to go to as a consumer, so when she was offered a spot by Indelicato and O’Leary, she knew it would be the perfect fit.
After participating in the market, Vu noticed increased demand for her business and products.
“I have people DMing me, saying their friends got bracelets last weekend, asking where they can get one,” Vu said. “Now that’s cool.”
Vu knew The 505 on Walnut was a student-housing complex, but didn’t expect the success that came with it. “It was the perfect location,” she said.
The market organizers are still starstruck by the success of Keep Going Market and plan on hosting future events.
“It went great. So now, it’s like, ‘Where do we go from here?’ O’Leary said. “We’re going to have another one for sure.”