Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Love your local market! :-)

Renting a market stall is a fantastic way for budding entrepreneurs to have a retail space without the cost and risk of renting a commercial premises. As part of Love Your Local Market fortnight we tried out a stall on Morpeth Market.  For those who aren't familiar with it, Morpeth is a beautiful little town in the picturesque Northumberland countryside, the kind of location it is a pleasure to pass a day in.  Though I went into it not really expecting much in terms of sales, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and have now become a regular trader.
Although the e-commerce revolution has made starting your own business far easier in so many ways, it is also an incredibly competitive platform. Trying to stand out from the crowd in search engine results is nigh on impossible without big coroporations' budgets to pay to get you to the top of the results list for any search, even vaguely, related to your products. At a market stall however, meeting your customers face to face, them seeing for themselves and being able to touch the merchandise are great selling tools.  Added to that getting instant feedback 'I love that design but it would be better if it was longer/ shorter/ brighter/ paler etc etc' is something you're unlikely to get from your website, if it's not what they want the majority of online customers will simply close the tab and look on another site rather than bother to explain why it's not quite what they're looking for.
I also learnt quickly that making a market stall work is all about having something for everyone.  It's all well and good having a target market for my own line of babywear, the sort of people who are interested in the fact you use organic cotton and manufacture in Britain ...and are willing to pay the little extra necessary for the afore mentioned.  However on a market you will get a wide range of tastes and budgets and it is better to buy stock in to be able to cater for as wide a range as possible than to stick rigidly to your ideology and not sell anything; as my partner never tires of telling me, 'a queue makes a queue' - i.e. if a couple of people are browsing round your stall or better still buying something, others will be drawn to you to see what they're missing out on.

For more information on my first week at Morpeth Market see this article by Sanderson Arcade
and for more information on Morpeth in general and it's Wednesday and Farmer's markets see our facebook or twitter @IMieiCherubini pages or go to Northumberland County Council's websiteor the 'More in Morpeth' website and finally, if Morpeth is too far to travel, to find out about markets near you see the Love Your Local Market website.

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