Friday, 31 August 2012

Market Musings

We had a nice day out at the Environment Fair in Carshalton on Bank Holiday Monday. I mean, give me a field, a bar and some live music and I'm likely to be as happy as a pig in poop anyway, but fairs and festivals also provide me with the chance to do a little hustling of various kinds. So I handed out some cards, metaphorically donning and doffing several of my work-hats in the course of the day (Yes, like most self-employed people, I have cards for several different clients...) but I spent a fair percentage of the time asking various stallholders if they'd ever considered trading at a market I sometimes stall out at.

It's this one: Merton Abbey Mills and it's one of the nicer environments to take yourself to: decent places to eat and drink nearby (and a Sainsburys if you are feeling budgety rather than indulgent), historic setting, my beloved River Wandle flowing past. Etc.

(photo lifted from the MAM facebook page)

At the moment, it's a little quiet and could do with more customers and, more importantly, a few more stalls. And I just wanted to say that I thoroughly approve of the way they are going about the business of acquiring more new traders. Some markets would do pretty much anything not to have a vacant stall about the place, so they scrabble around madly encouraging new traders no matter what the traders sell. With the predictable result that what was once an arts and crafts market turns into a car boot sale; first there's a deluge of been-there-seen-that imported hippy tat and dope-smoking implements, then in come the dodgy DVD sellers and the five-lighters-for-a-pound merchants and the whole thing collapses under its own weight of boredom.

But this isn't what's happening here. The management at Merton Abbey Mills offers reasonably-priced stalls to people who are selling interesting or good-standard artsy-craftsy or vintage-type stuff but, more importantly, if you make what you are selling yourself and it's interesting and of a good standard, you get a free pitch.
Luckily, what I do counts as make-your-own, as of course it should. Yes I purchase blank badge components and blank fridge magnets and use a computer to create stuff, but I wouldn't put myself in the same category as those people who buy How To Do Craft magazines with bits on and faithfully copy the designs suggested.

The other Hard Work bit I do in preparation involves picking over each stock category and dividing it into Clean and Smutty.

As you might imagine, this can sometimes take a while. But now I've learned to stick the badges on five different smaller pinboards according to theme, it's getting slightly quicker.

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