September 03, 2022
After success with a handful of flea markets featuring feminist artists and crafters from Philadelphia and the surrounding region, event promoter Zissel Aronow — better known as House Cat — is opening a new retail shop and community space in the Bok Building.
Baby Tooth is a collaboration between House Cat and Homies Helping Homies, a mutual aid fund supporting food and household item distribution in Point Breeze, a predominantly Black community in the Southwest section of the city, whose residents often face a lack of access to basic necessities due to poverty.
While Feminist Flea only has a few pop-up markets each year, Baby Tooth will be open six days each week. Visitors at will be able to shop for the same handmade, sustainable art, jewelry, ceramics, records, and clothing from artists and creators from the Philadelphia area, while also supporting the mutual aid fund.
The space is also the studio of Corinne Dodenhoff Creative, a Philly-based graphic designer whose values of equity and aesthetics match Aronow's. Dodenhoff, a former educator at Moore College of Art and Design, will use her time at Baby Tooth to delve into in-person teaching and instruction.
"There's something special about being able to curate a space and share it," said Aronow. "Homies, Corinne, and others can use the shop for workshops and events, vendors can use it to try out new work they've been experimenting with. It's a space that's supporting people's passions across disciplines. When people have room to do something they love, that fulfills them, and that supports them financially, it bolsters the community they are a part of."
Baby Tooth will begin with 25 initial vendors, including illustrators, herbalists, zine creators, and fashion designers. Most of them have previously worked with Feminist Flea, a market created by and for people marginalized for their gender. Holly Jean Studios, who sold out at the last Feminist Flea market, will be creating custom hardwood shelving for the shop.
Aronow also selected a handful of new vendors to help open up the shop, including Kenni Field, a Black, nonbinary artist selling ash trays, pipes, and incense holders.
As part of the collaboration with Homies Helping Homies, Baby Tooth will also sell merchandise created by Aronow along with mutual aid co-founders Kevin Bass and Ant Adams. 5% of all sales at Baby Tooth, along with all proceeds from the limited edition merch sale, will be redistributed to the mutual aid effort as part of its bi-weekly donation process.
"We hope to utilize Baby Tooth to do more community events, lead workshops to share skills, have a space to organize, and sell merchandise to maintain our redistribution efforts," said Bass. "I'm excited to extend our connection and offer opportunities to community members that aren't primarily centered in food outreach, and to have some sustainable income for the next six months."
Since its start in 2018, Feminist Flea has hosted craft fairs with more than 500 vendors, and has donated more than $60,000 in additional proceeds to charitable efforts and mutual aid funds throughout Philly.
A full list of vendors can be found at Baby Tooth's official website ahead of the store's grand opening on Friday, Sept. 9.
Aronow and Baby Tooth will celebrate the shop's opening with a party on Sept. 9 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Bok Building, Space 1N. The first 50 people to show up to the grand opening party will have their pick of a mini cake from Shannon Ryan of Sunday Sours. The party will also feature tarot card readings from Keiko, the creator of vintage clothing brand Mumbo Studios.
Masks are required at the opening and in the shop in order to provide community safety, especially among those who are immunocompromised, disabled, and elderly.