Last Sunday I held a stall at the Christmas Makers Market in the Freemason’s Hall on Park St in Bristol and so I thought I’d give it a little review. Whenever I look at selling at a new market I’m always eager to hear how other designers found it first but it’s often hard to find out so I thought I’d share my experience in the hope it might benefit others.
The venue was in a great spot right in the centre of Bristol and on Park St which, if you’re unfamiliar with Bristol, is a great spot for gift shopping with lots of unique independent shops around. It was on a Sunday which was well planned as on-street parking in the area is free on Sundays to encourage people to shop locally. Unfortunately I had expected the market to get a lot busier but the weather had been extremely windy and rainy all day so that probably didn’t help. Although things did get off to a good start by 1pm there were a lot less people around which meant I didn’t have as successful a day as I’d hoped for. There was also a £2 entry fee which I’m always a little dubious of how many people that may or may not put off especially if they are just passers by and it’s difficult to see in.
The event was very well planned by Annie Hawksley with plenty of time given to unload and set-up and a nice broad selection of stalls. The majority were handmade crafts but they were also a few food based stalls and handmade soaps and toiletries. Although it’s a lovely grand old building I did feel the lack of natural light and old fashioned decor not the most flattering setting for artisan wares but it did at least mean there was lots of space all across one floor. I really enjoyed seeing the work of other Bristol designers I hadn’t come across before and it’s always interesting to exchange experiences and hear how others have set up their businesses. I particularly enjoyed getting to know my neighbours Aly Dalrymple and Emma of Curious Beasties who also both create beautiful work using textiles so check them out!
This was the first event I’d done since launching my new collection so it was great to hear how much customers liked my new designs, particularly the giclée prints so I think there may be more of those to come eventually. I’m not sure if I’d do this event again, perhaps only if the entrance fee was dropped. These things always seem to be somewhat down to luck however and there was a very high quality of work.
My next two Christmas markets will both be with Made In Bristol in Colston Hall on December 5th and 12th so fingers crossed they go well and come along if you’re in Bristol!