Tuesday, 18 December 2012

If you build it, they will come?

So what makes a good market and what does a good market need to ensure success? I've been prompted to write this post after witnessing a few flops in recent months and it's always a great shame for the sad looking traders who have given it a go. The sellers are important, but even with desirable products for sale, if you cannot attract the buyers then your market will have a short shelf life.  
Markets are so hot right now, and there are new and exciting ones popping up everywhere, but as a trader how do you decide which markets to say YES to? To avoid getting burned here's our trade-safe checklist which should assist you in choosing wisely. Read!

The I Love Markets Trade-Safe Checklist:

How long has the market been promoted for?
A good market organiser will announce the market date and start to invite stall holders way in advance of the actual market event. If the market organiser is established, maybe 4 weeks before acceptable, but usually i'd say at least 6-8 weeks is much safer!  

Does the market have a strong online presence?
Any serious event organiser will recongise the importance and value of the online world in promoting their markets. Check is there a Facebook Page, twitter, if so how many followers do they have? Have they posted the event on sites like I Love Markets?

Does the market offer something different?  
 For me a good and successful market offers not only excellent produce for sale but also an excellent market experience. Visiting markets is just as much about absorbing the market culture as much as it is about shopping. A market's "buzz" can influence and indulge you're shopper's hungry eye. Also, something different means people will naturally be interested in attending and the press more inclined to publicise it.

Where is the market located?
Achieving the right market chemistry is a hard task. It relies on having both amazing produce with enticing stall holders and also passing trade to make the market thrive.  
A successful market is a living and breathing entity and passing trade is the like the blood needed to keep it alive. Ideally the market needs to be situated either close to a tube, near a popular shopping area or some other reason why there is likely to be a naturally good footfall.

Who are the market organisers?
We're not suggesting you hire a private investigator but it won't harm you to ask a few questions. How long have they been running markets for? Did they used to sell at markets themselves? (if yes, you know they have some expereince and knowledge) Is this their first event or are they experienced in organising other types of events?

What do you get for your money?
If the market is new then it might be fair for the event organiser to offer you a special deal on stalls whilst they build it's popularity. Don't be afraid to barter especially if you're signing up for a few dates. Generally it's safer to see how the first one or two dates go before paying up for longer stints.

Who are the traders?
Don't be fooled by sales lines like "last few stalls remaining." You have the right to know how many traders are already signed up and if that turns out to be incorrect then you have a good claim to make in getting your money back!

Which other markets/events is it in competition with?
It's always worth checking what other markets are running on the same date, in the immediate area. Will this affect the footfall? 

We hope that this assists you. Don't let your descision feel like a gamble. Play-safe and trade-safe with this check list!
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Best wishes,
Katie Ingham

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