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Unlocking Summer 2020

Two weeks ago I received THE email I thought I'd been waiting for... or had I?

It began: Dear Market Stall Holder We will be introducing a phased return for the market... The previous evening I read that The Sherborne Independent Market would be returning on 21st June.

Woaah! It felt too soon, is it a teeny bit of agoraphobia, making excuses to avoid braving new ground?

But one big fat week later, the first couple of Markets have been and gone, with (I am told) mindful lay out, respectful trading and hardly any punters, thus making distancing easy for now. So with this news, and a vastly reduced death toll, I can see my return to Market just on the horizon.

Most of my co-marketers have barely limped through lockdown with sporadic internet sales, and many fell through Boris's financial net so were all DYING to get trading again for our self esteem if not the bank balance. That said, I'm going to wait a bit longer for Bridport Market, not least because our pitch fee's are full price but the footfall will be vastly reduced for some time, so it makes no commercial sense to race into it!

Instead I'm easing myself in with with a couple of 'destination' markets rather than 'Street' markets.

My first in four long months will be the aforementioned Sherborne Independent Market. This fledgling Market promises to be a healthy monthly event in a great demographic, so that one's IN!

So now I need to think about my 'Post Lockdown' look! It feels like a new beginning so I need to look again at what I do and how I do it, but with fresh eyes, rather than just the way things have evolved.

1st: Housework. I've been using my van once a week for the local Farm shop deliveries over lockdown so, gazebo, rails and half the stock that usually lives in it has been holidaying in the garage. Getting in and out of there has been my own Lockdown Keep Fit!

One of our glorious days last week I gave my gazebo a good bleach and a hose down, it came up a treat. Then cleaned my Style Vintage banners, those seagulls are amazing, the amount of poo they manage to get on a vertical 12" strip!

Later I spot cleaned and steamed my wool rug. The rug started as a bit of an afectation but had a great side effect of persuading people to relax, to pop their dogs & bags down and try something on, it welcomed people.

It had stretched round the edges creating a wobbly trip hazard so I decided to steam it to shrink it. Ta-dah, it worked!

Feeling very smug after that lot.

2nd: Decoration I began my Market life with two 6' rails. They were full of great stock so what more did I need, I mean you can't do much more outside can you? When I look back I'm astonished at how bare it looked yet how well I sold. After a few weeks came the hat stand & the dummy, later a very cheap and leaky gazebo and within the year I was creating a full pop up Boutique with mirror & chair, I discovered you can achieve anything outside so long as its waterproof and anchored down.

Over the years I've draped bunting, hats, paper lanterns bought back from holiday, I've festooned ivy and rolled out the wool rug. So this summer, after digging around the loft I'm inspired to go floral! I've been squirreling away silk flowers for years, whenever I find any super cheap in a charity shop I buy them 'just in case'. Now is their time to shine. I just need to work out how to wire them together so they're idiot proof and easy to hook in place quick smart at 7am with a van of stock to unload. I'll keep you posted.

3rd: Lay out I'm going to have to compromise my usual merchandising to accommodate government shopping guidelines, a tricky one. I may try a mock up in the garden - dont judge me!

A year ago I invested in six gorgeous 2.5 foot bamboo rails, it was a game changer regarding display and merchandising. So now I can choose exactly how to lay out my stall. I usually create a 'U' shape to invite customers in, but it may have to be a closed square, encouraging shoppers to circumnavigate instead. What ever I decide, there has to be space for a sanitizer station in a prominent position. Crazy times, but I like a challenge!

4th: Stock I'm in a lucky position (or am I?) to have an extensive range of vintage stock so I need to select the best pieces to take, based on what buying mood people will be in. The simple answer is summer clothes, right? However, with no festivals this year, with what feels like the best of the weather behind us and potentially half way through the summer buying season I'm not convinced. I think a little Festival wear, some classic 60's summer frocks then lots of layers, little cardies and light jackets.

What do you think?

Not a clue?

Me neither!

Let's face it, none of us have a clue what day it is at the moment, let alone what we want to buy, I think I'll just work on making it all utterly irrisistable, step back and let girls do what we do best.


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