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Native Makers - 7th and 8th May 2022

Two weeks ago Esther (Origami EST) and I ventured down to Devon to take part in the first Native Makers market of the year!

It was my first time selling at a Native Makers event so I was unsure what to expect, but it didn't disappoint!  Native Makers is a monthly makers market that usually takes place within the Ocean Studios at The Royal William Yard, Plymouth.  Royal William Yard is an award-winning Grade I listed ex-naval victualling yard.  Lovingly brought back to life by Urban Splash, who have created a wonderfully buzzing community of restaurants, shops, cafes and events.

As with most things Native Makers had to cancel all their events over the last couple of years so this was their first one back and their first time using the Melville Building rather than Ocean Studios.

The Melville Building is as you'd imagine very old and with that comes a number of restrictions like the lack of wifi or phone signal due to the wonderfully thick stone walls, but these didn't detract from the day, in fact the gorgeous inky blue wall I was paced in front of made my neons pop so much!  Each stall holder had plenty of space for their stand and room to move around and this also gave shoppers the space to really browse and take in each stall properly.  I know myself as a customer when stands are all squashed up next to each other it is sometimes overwhelming trying to take all the products in!

We were lucky and unlucky with the weather...lucky in that it was sunny and we didn't have to unload all our stuff from the car, but unlucky in the fact that it was the first sunny weekend in a while so I think some people might have been making the most of the sun outdoors.  Back in my film marketing days we always prayed for rain on a films opening weekend as a sunny weekend could kill a film, who wants to be in a dark cinema on a lovely sunny day, unless of course we were a few weeks into a heatwave when people were desperate for indoor air conditioned spaces!  I think markets can be similar in some ways. 

That being said the footfall on Saturday was great, a lovely constant stream of people (and dogs!).  It never got so busy that it felt overcrowded, but there were also no points where you were sat twiddling your thumbs wondering when the next customer might pass through!  Sunday was slightly quieter on the footfall front, but there was still a fairly steady stream.  The most important thing about both days though were that the people visiting were absolutely lovely and really appreciated the passion, craftsmanship and time that had gone into each item.

Plymouth is a long old drive from Milton Keynes and while a few more sales would have been nice (aren't they always!), overall it was a really great experience and I would 100% take part again.  I handed out A LOT of business cards and saw a rise in my instagram numbers over the course of the weekend and just yesterday I had my first order from Plymouth which I am sure has come directly from being part of the market...which are all just as important as on the day sales!

Key take aways:

1. If you are travelling a distance to take part in a fair try and car share with a friend so you can share costs.

2. Don't panic if you're sales aren't huge on the day, it is likely that you will get online orders in the coming weeks. - make sure you something that people can take away to remember you.

3. Bring extra clothes, even if its a sunny day it can be cold inside!