There are many ups and downs to being a market trader. The ups being you get to meet some great people and the downs being the unpredictable British weather!
The reason I started up The Forgotten Toy Shop on a market stall was simply because of costs. You only have to pay for your pitch, there are no rates or utility bills like what you get with being in a shop. I would love to have a shop, a place that I could call The Forgotten Toy Shop and one day I hope I can achieve this. Don't get me wrong I do love being a market trader, the banter that I have with my fellow traders is brilliant. We cheer one another up when they day is going bad, we help each other out when we need that desperate toilet break!! Being out in the fresh air and the sun in the summertime is great. Also being a market trader means you are out in the street amongst the footfall of the people in the town. I stand on Melton Mowbray Market on a Tuesday and Saturday. The Tuesday market is always busy as this is the main market day for the town. As well as the town general market running the cattle market is also on and this brings the tourists to the town.
I get a lot of great comments about my stall, mainly about what I sell. So many people stop and look at my stock and walk away with a big smile on their faces (and sometimes they also buy something). I also get comments on how well presented my stall looks and that is a real compliment as it takes a while to set up each week. Now that is one of the downsides to being a market trader, you have to pack and unpack all your stock and set up your display each time you stand on a market. If I was in a shop then it would be a case of walking through the door in the morning, turning on the lights and away you go and then of an evening just simply switch off and walk away.
Then we get on to the weather. I myself am not just a fair weather person. I am happy to stand in most weather but unfortunately for my stock mostly having cardboard packaging it does not like the wet weather and my stock not being ten tonne weights does not like the wind!! So when we get the bad weather I cannot stand at the market :( Which means missing trade and having to rely on the website to generate orders. Again if I had a shop then weather conditions would not be a factor to my trading (apart from customers not coming out in bad weather). Then there is the whole clothing issue in the winter. I put so many layers on I look like the michielen man!!!
The final thing I find with being a market trader, some people still have this attitude that markets are for finding that cheap bargain, that you can haggle with the trader to get the best price. My market stall is my shop and my prices are the prices that I need to sell the stock at. I can't haggle with you or slash my prices. I am a small independent business trying to earn a living. You wouldn't go into a shop and try and haggle with the sales assistant.
So there you have it, being a market trader having its ups and downs. I wouldn't want to leave the market but then I would love to have a shop, where there is so much more I could do.... This is where my 5 year plan begins!!