I am really pleased to be able to present this guest post from Lesley Beeton who not only took photographs are stallholder's work at the 7 June Godalming Bazaar, but attended the event as a customer. It certainly contains food for thought for both me and the stallholders who took part and it is a timely reminder for stallholders taking part in any event. Thank you Lesley for a very interesting guest post.
The Godalming Bazaar – a customer review
Hundreds of people visited the indoor Godalming Bazaar on Saturday 7th June. The rainy morning kept some shoppers away, but those who braved the damped conditions were greeted with food and crafty delights. These are some of my favourites.
JoJo from Artyfacial did a great job, keeping children occupied with face-painting, whilst Julia from Glutton and Glee provided a pop-up café for that much-needed cup of coffee and a sit-down. Stallholders included Melanie Capper from Melanie’s Garden, a natural skincare range, Kevin Gorton, a local artist and musician who hand-paints scenes of Godalming on everyday items, and Dawn Hart of local home-industry knitting enterprise Stone Pit Crafts. Crafts and gifts on sale varied from beautiful oil paintings on canvas by Jan Windle, to delightful glass products by Hot Glass. There were plenty of hand-sewn items for sale, many to delight younger shoppers, such as customised bags by Made By Lorraine, and the gorgeous tooth-fairy pillows made by Lauren Broughton of Love Sew Sweet. Acorn to Oak provided a little bit of peace and quiet with reiki massage and crystal therapy. Jewellery, re-incarnated plastic bags and fascinating items by Juraj, the blacksmith, added to the mix. There were foodie highlights too, in the visual splendour of the macaroons by Pinch of This and the Chai Tea and Perfect Curry kits.
I do however, have some observations (as a customer), which I hope will provide constructive criticism for both the organisers and stall holders. Remember, you want to sell, and I want to buy.
Firstly, although slightly up on last time, a footfall of 50 an hour, or 2 visitors for each stand, seems a bit low. I wondered if a Town Crier out and about in town would be better than someone trying to hand out leaflets. If you are going to hand out leaflets, what about numbering them and having a ‘Lucky Number’ draw each half hour, with a different stall holder putting up a small prize each time. The poster boards at the door were not visible. The banner poster was not effective. Bunting might make people look twice.
There should be a unique selling point for the market - something that local people will look forward to each time. Jugglers and knife throwers (or balloon artists and face painters) are too gimmicky for a luxury market. I spent a minimum of £10 at each stall I bought from, most were £12.50 starting point. That's not cheap (nor should it be) but the market should promote itself as something special.
The first door (opposite Stone Pit Crafts) should have been open. It would have created a better flow of people, and more welcoming on entry. A large map of who's who would be nice. Stall holders need badges to identify themselves. Many were not very friendly. One even had ear phones in!
I really don't like the borough hall as a venue. It was difficult for stall holders to display on one table top, with nowhere to put a banner or hanging items behind them. This meant that buyers always look down, instead of up and out at eye-level, making eye-contact with sellers. The noise in the room is unbearable. There is nowhere for it to go. I had to work really hard to engage the stall holders in conversation, even when I had my purse open and money hanging out. The exceptions were Melanie’s Garden, Peru Project and the local Godalming hand-painted coaster artist. They wanted to tell me about their work, and they were interesting to talk to.
I didn't like having the food court stuck away. More people would have bought a coffee on the way in/out if it had been part of the main event.
Well, that’s enough feedback. Good luck with the next market on Saturday 6th September. May it be happy and successful, with lots of sales.
Note: I took photos of, and talked to every stallholder. If anyone wants to talk to me directly about ways of improving the marketability of their stall, or get a high res photo, please let Jill Spain know. No charge.
Monster face-painting by JoJo of Artyfacial
Yummy macaroons by a Pinch of This
Kevin Gorton, local artist and musician
Tooth fairy cushions by Love Sew Sweet
Melanie Capper, Melanie's Garden
Dawn Hart, Stone Pit Crafts
Oil paintings on canvas by Jan Windle
Unique blacksmith art by JAJ BBQ and Blacksmith Products