Sunday, 28 October 2012

Indie Market Place, Brighton 12 August 2012

The Brighton Market we approached with some enthusiasm given many of our stallholders expressed a great interest in the area. We originally attempted to hire the Brighton Town Hall but abandoned that effort due to a general lack of interest from the Hall organisers and the spectacular cost of hire. From the beginning, Indie Market Place has always wanted to hire good venues but with an eye on cost because we want our stall holders to have a decent chance at making money.

We instead approached the Brighton Recreational Centre whom we found to be very co-operative and have a bright, cheerful venue with delightfully enthusiastic staff. We discovered as a result of the drop in the cost of the venue we were able to pass some of that on in terms of reduced stall fees.

But the challenge was marketing! Indie Market Place is reasonably well known in Box Hill but would it be well known in Brighton. Additionally with restrictions by the Brighton Council on our ability to place signs like we might at Box Hill, we realised early we'd have to hit the ground running.

Happily we had some unexpected help with the Age deciding to include us in their "What's on" section and it gave us the opportunity to showcase some of our legendary stall holders and introduce them to Brighton. We also managed to get some advertising in the Local Leader paper with our online advertising purchases, but the same old method which worked well in Box Hill was applied again...Yes, we printed 2,500 post card size promotional materials and wore out more shoe leather delivering them by hand.

Why not hire someone to do it? Well, we wanted to make sure they were delivered and we could not be sure that if we subcontracted someone else we wouldn't discover they threw them in the bin instead!

On the day, to our great surprise, it was quite busy, arguably our best market yet. As clients came in and purchased, we did notice that the advertisements in the Age and the hand delivered pamphlets seem to have been a major driver. We also discovered to our surprise the local Brightonians liked to try a range of foods and our friends at Grumbletumms seemed to do well, so well, when my husband went out to get his burger, they sold out and he had to have some wallaby sausage rolls instead, which he judged to be superb! We were worried about the Poffertjes lady who ended up packing up early, so hubby approached with some trepidation, only to find out the reason she was packing up was she ran out of mix and had basically sold out! The same happened with the Cupcakes and the Sausage Sizzle!!

But no market is a market without hiccups! Poor Jason from Jason Hart's Coffee Cart started wheeling his very heavy cart up the ramps and we discovered that we had trouble with opening the door! So Jason was wrestling this massive cart while a committee of us struggled to get it to open! But open it finally did, and then we could get the coffee on the go!! So we had the best coffee in town and the best food!

Sated, the clients wandered in and seemed to do a lot of buying. We had the sweet voice of Laura to soothe them and put them in the mood for buying!

We had the usual mix of outcomes from this market: some stall holders did spectacularly and others not so well. But measuring by the number of smiles on the tired faces of our stallholders, we think the result was probably not too bad. Certainly those who answered our little survey after seemed quite upbeat!

Hubby to his great disappointment, still managed not to get around to everyone but the people he spoke to seemed pretty happy overall.

Brighton is looking like a very friendly home for Indie Market Place!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Indie Market Place, June 23, 2012 Market

We arrived early in the morning to prepare for this market. It was a bitterly cold and overcast day, although our luck continued to hold and it didn't rain the entire time.

It was a very good market on the day with a good attendance rate bearing in mind it was freezing cold. Many times during the day, I wondered how our outdoor stalls were faring given the cold weather, and it would be fair to say, they probably didn't do as well as before.

We also took on board many of the excellent words of advice from our stall holders and friends from the last market, in particular, improved signage and attractions for kids. We put more signage out showing people how easy it was to find parking around the back of the hall and also we had a giant jumping castle set up which was very visible from the street.

Many of our indoor stallholders were pleased with the market, traffic was much better than it was for the April market and given the cold weather, and more depressing economic climate, it was a good result. However, I believe we can improve a lot on this and I will be working harder than ever to see if this cannot improve further.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of you who have gone to extraordinary lengths to help me promote this market. 

We also were spoiled with food choices this time; we had the 10/13th Box Hill Scout group fund raise with us with a Sausage Sizzle and it really is hard to describe how wonderfully delicious a simple barbequed sausage is in some bread with some sauce and some fragrant fried onions. But our exotic choices weren't limited with hot chips, spring rolls and our unique Aussie Food, supplied by GrumbleTumms, with such fantastic choices like crocodile, emu and kangaroo pies, burgers and even spring rolls! My husband got stuck into the crocodile burger and judged it the best burger he had ever tasted. As for me, I got stuck into the emu pie and while not normally a fan of pies, this pie was just sensational!

So a quick trip to Mr Quick Whip for soft serve or gelati and dessert is all sorted out. Of course, I did have to think of evening; but with Alberto's delicacies out the the front, I had the choice of sensational pasta's, richly gorgeous sauces and an array of pesto to suit my taste.  My choice? The Roast Potato Gnocci with a tub of Arrabiata Sauce and about the only regret I had was I didn't buy more....

Inside, the Coffee was hot and delightful, the cup cakes, absolutely superb (and addictive!) and the music created that serene, happy environment. A huge thank you to Gretta Ziller, Laura Rose Songbird Entertainment and Jeff for making our day and market so special!!

But looks can be deceiving; the market didn't run as smooth as it seemed. When we arrived, we discovered that Rotary had placed one of those huge mobile signs on the lawn advertising their market in July!! Fortunately, there wasn't a stall booked in that location! We will have to ensure communication between the Box Hill Town Hall management and us is improved so that doesn't happen again. 

On the other hand, searching for the silver lining, it seems to me, that we should probably do the same thing and have one of those signs up early. It's costly, but if it drives traffic to our stalls......

My husband planned to get around and meet everyone and discovered that instead he was helping sort out a bogged van which took some time to "unbog". Then he discovered that setting up the jumping castle shorted out the power to the food stalls outside, but fortunately Michael and the crew at Box Hill Town Hall were there and when they couldn't find out how to reset the shorted circuit breakers, they came up with an alternative solution and power was restored in a reasonable time to the food vans. Great job!! Finally he discovered a minor medical issue with a visitor to the Art Show which was running next door to the market, but in no time, that was sorted out, and the lady was safely helped to a car and taken home by her friends.

At the end of the day, there seemed to be a lot of happy people, which is a good sign for me and we do have a lot of interest in the August and to my surprise given it is early, the December Market.

But as I always say, not with empty phrases, but with sincerity; none of this would be possible without YOU. I can set up 1,000 markets, but only you, all of you, with your unique talents, great products (many hand made) and services can turn a droll market into that warm place that clients want to come to. I do believe when a client comes to a market and they're happy and feeling good, they are more prepared to open the purse.

So what are some of the lessons learned from this market? Well! More signage!!! We're building up a great inventory of signage as finances allow and these of course can be reused so it is money well spent. We will be also looking to find more coinage to see if we can't get some of those mobile signs out a bit earlier on that busy road. I will also be making sure that I have a better understanding of how much power outdoor stallholders need, so that I don't cause them that power shortage again and finally, I will be making sure that I find out stall holders preferences when it comes to the music. While we all loved the music, some stall holders found they were a little too close...

But the best lesson you all taught me? Even if it is a cold, overcast and breezy day, we can make our own sunshine!!