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What I learned from running my own market

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. 

Comments (8)

  1. Jackie Withnall:
    Jan 03, 2018 at 08:55 AM

    I love this Market. Your eye for detail and attention to publicity is first class. I have met really lovely customers and traders. Thank you for all your support. X

  2. Kate Bohdanowicz:
    Jan 03, 2018 at 10:08 AM

    Thanks Jackie

    You were and always are welcome. Thanks for taking a punt at me when it all started.

    Kate X

  3. Hannah:
    Jan 03, 2018 at 12:55 PM

    Great blog post and refreshing with your honesty. I think when you do pull something off with all your blood and tears often you have to stand back and look at what you have achieved, and looks like a lot in the case. Well done hannah x

  4. Ludi - The Petalogist:
    Jan 03, 2018 at 03:15 PM

    You've done so well, Kate! You can be proud of yourself. I'm happy I could be a part of the market in 2017. Thank you for bringing me in. I'm looking forward to this year. :) xx

  5. Kate Bohdanowicz:
    Jan 03, 2018 at 03:28 PM

    Thank you Hannah. Same to you and your new business. We should never underestimate our achievements (easier said than done, of course).


  6. Kate Bohdanowicz:
    Jan 03, 2018 at 03:28 PM

    Thanks You Ludi. So pleased you have been part of it.

    Good luck in 2018.


  7. Johnny:
    Jan 05, 2018 at 08:01 PM

    I'm glad you'll be running this again this year. To my shame I didn't make it last year but will definitely make it this year. Congratulations on its success so far. I wish you continued success this year. x

  8. Kare :
    Apr 15, 2018 at 09:27 AM

    Hi Johnny

    I’m so sorry, I thought I’d replied to you! Thanks for your kind words and maybe see you this year.

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