The kidneys are still under investigation so I shall pause my woe-filled health blogs and focus on my market. Last year, I started Hoe St Market, a monthly event selling art, crafts, food and coffee in Walthamstow, London. This is what I learned.
1/ It’s a lot of responsibility and will cause you the occasional sleepless night.
2/ It’s easy to panic and book traders who aren’t right because you worry you’ll be left with an empty space. This can happen a lot in the early days when you’re struggling to find stallholders. You might feel obliged to book friends of friends who sell tat. Don’t do it.
3/ The pop-up gazebos don’t pop up easy enough for my liking.
4/ There is no ideal market weather (we were outside May-Oct). Too hot and you’re told everyone’s having a BBQ; too cold everyone’s staying at home; pleasant and mild, everyone’s gone for lunch/to the park/to visit their great aunt.
5/ No matter how much promotion you do – and I posted endlessly on social media, flyered homes and businesses, organised listings in local magazines and in my MP’s newsletter, people will tell you they’ve never heard of the market and say you ‘really should try and get the word out’.
6/ When everything is going wrong: you have two bad stalls (see number 2 for reasons why), the coffee van has broken down and an Arctic wind is keeping people away, your ex boss will turn up to see how your new venture is going.
7/ If a trader messes you around once, they will mess you around every time. It took me three months to have the confidence to get rid of one stallholder and when I gave another a second chance, it backfired. That person still owes me money.
8/ Don’t get complacent. After November’s market, which was a huge success, I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about the December market. It was after all the all-singing, all-dancing Christmas market. But when the day cometh, so did the snow. We couldn’t access the venue and it was called off.
9/ A hastily-rearranged market will not be as good as the bonanza you had planned and will cause you a lot of stress. However, by simply pulling it off six days later, you did a good job.
10/ Remember, it’s only a market. Will I continue in 2018? Hell yes.