The sun is shining, the shop goods are packed and we're ready for market day! What's that? "Harry and eLe Lee"? "Harry and eLe Lee"? What, what, what the bleep! Yep, a late night rushed bunting job with my shop name on is mis-spelt. Argh!!! Some quick emergency sewing soon puts things right. Ok, so we're good to go!
With bags in tow we whizz round to a different bus stop. Why not? Nothing can go wrong right? Yep, you've guessed it, this is as predictable as a Hollywood movie. No buses for 15 minutes. What?! Ok, ok, so in the great scheme of things that's not too long to wait but we're late due to disaster sewing typo, so 15 minutes ain't good enough. Right, lets think...call a cab, cool, great. What's that? No cab for 20 minutes? What!!!!
Right, lets stop the whole "it's behind you" from happening. To the usual bus stop we go and now it's that happy ending moment. We get on a bus, we get there and set up our stall just in the nick of time. And so everything goes according to plan. Lots of shoppers, lots of sales and lots of lovely feedback. Right? No!
What happens next?
The light breeze we felt before leaving the flat picks up and for the next 8 hours it's a constant, never ending battle stopping all of my designs from flying off the table. NB I sell hankies (among other things), soft, light cotton hankies. Perfect for your nose but also perfect wind fodder. I spend more time retrieving my designs from the other side of the market and re-setting my table layout than actually selling. You'd be right with that image of a headless chicken. That was me.
As you can tell, it was a bit of a disaster BUT a very good lesson on how not to do an outdoor market. I actually learnt a great deal, so here are some top outdoor market tips:
1) Go prepared for all eventualities - wind, rain, shine!
2) Give yourself extra preparation time and double it.
3) Research the location and visit the market before (if you can). See what other traders are selling and what customers are buying. Ask yourself - is this the right market for me?
4) Ask a friend/partner/family member to help with
- transporting your goods/table props (remember there's not just your designs to carry, you've got food, drink, possibly a seat, scissors, string, tape etc for disaster situations)
- setting your stall up
- selling/minding your stall
If you're on your own however for part or all of it, get canny with packing techniques (boxes within boxes within a suitcase kind of thing) and luggage options. Also, get to know the stall owners next to you, so that they can not only mind your stall (loo/coffee breaks!) but also supply string, scissors etc (anything you've forgotten which would help those disaster situations) and above all else, if it's a quiet day, it's always nice to chat to someone. It will certainly keep you sane!
One last thing. Where are the pictures of the day you ask? Well, that 'light' breeze stopped me from leaving the table to set up a good photo shot. All part of the learning curve!
If you've been at a market recently and it didn't turn into a disaster movie, I would love to hear your top tips!
Adios for now folks!