Mummy & Me Market // a new venture

It has taken me a whole week to find the words to write up our first ever Mummy & Me Market; in all honesty, as I start this post I’m still not sure I have the words to properly capture the day. It exceeded every single one of my expectations, every one! Back in June I met up with a fellow mummy for a coffee, she had an ‘idea’ she wanted to run past me and I was eager to know what she had in mind. Laura started to explain that she liked the idea of an extension onto the Christmas Cup Exchange I ran last year, she had some thoughts about what it could look like. Over the space of an hour, with many interruptions from our little ones, Mummy & Me Market began to take shape. Our plans evolved and changed over the next few weeks but our initial priorities remained the same; we wanted to create a space for our instagram (and beyond) community to meet, chat and have fun together because we knew how much community had been born on those little squares. We wanted busy mums to feel like they could bring their kids along without it being a hassle or stress. We wanted to showcase some of our favourite ig sellers who have creatively built incredible little businesses through Instagram. As the discussions continued, we decided the location should be pretty, there should be lots to keep little ones amused and we should most definitely incorporate some insta-worthy photo opportunities. Mostly, we wanted to put smiles on lots of faces.

As two stay-at-home mums it became an opportunity to channel our individual talents and creativity into a project that would benefit others, not just ourselves. Even now I can’t quite believe what the Market became and how much it meant to so many people. I surprised myself, I’m sure Laura would say the same. I have only recently found my brave and come out of a season of thinking opportunities were for other, more talented people.

If you don’t mind, I’m going off piste for just a moment, I feel this needs to be said and may be something you need to hear; back in January a very good (insta) friend gave me a word. At the time I was grateful but couldn’t quite grasp how it could possibly be meant for me. I was told that this would be a year of ‘new things’ for me, that I would do a lot of things this year linked to creativity. It came around the same time as a word given to me in Church from a lady who just ended up sitting beside me randomly. She told me how I was about to see breakthrough in creative business, that opportunities would present themselves and I would begin to discover a brand new path for my talents. Now, if you know me, you will know how out of the ordinary both of those words were. I would never describe myself as creative, business minded or brave. I had no idea what they meant but I tucked them away, hopeful that they were indeed meant for me. I am so grateful for those two girls who stepped out in faith and boldness to deliver what the Father placed on their hearts for me. In all honesty, without those two words, I would never have been brave enough to say Yes to this opportunity! So, be bold and be brave. If you have a word for someone please be courageous enough to share it; you could change a life!

Back to business as it were, Laura and I carefully selected our retailers, booked our venue and put the word out there…our Mummy & Me Market was set to take place on Friday 21 September 2018. I had butterflies the day we announced our plans, they didn’t disappear until at least three days after the market. The risk, the huge task, the excitement, the unknown! To be completely transparent, this was never about money. Both Laura and I took huge risk in investing our own funds into the event with no idea how many people would grace our doorstep. We wanted to keep costs low for our stallholders too as a huge priority was to showcase their products, not make them risk their business. Our aim was to break even and thankfully we did. Having some extra to throw in our piggy banks at the end of the day was a huge bonus and one we are incredibly thankful for as it has allowed us the opportunity to explore this as a potential career path. Opportunities are presenting themselves left, right and centre but more on that another time perhaps.

The task of planning this event was huge, and I really do mean huge. We worked endlessly through July, August and September to pull ideas and all the moving parts together. I really enjoyed this side of things. I am a strange case in that I adore admin (I know, total looser) and branding and I am also unashamedly addicted to Pinterest. Laura is the arty one, super creative and has great vision for how things should look. Choosing our venue was the first priority and fairly difficult as our budget was so limited but once we had the idea of Gracehill, everything else began to fall into place. The surroundings are beautiful, the hall was our blank canvas to work with and we had extra side rooms to host some workshops! Choosing our stallholders was easy peesy; we had 27 incredibly talented girls who had worked so hard to pursue their passions and were equally as excited as we were about the market. Our problem in this side of things was that we had to turn down many, many talented businesses every single day as our space was limited. That was hard to do, but on the bright side; we now have a wonderful list of potential stallholders for future events! In addition to the market place we were overjoyed to secure my very good friends and incredibly talented photographers Navyblur who hosted a pop up studio which was just everything we could have ever wanted. Sensory Kids agreed to host a workshop for the little ones and this is up there with the stand-out moments of the market. The buzz and feedback in sensory was just phenomenal, we are so grateful for the amazing work those girls put in. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Space Studio Yoga to facilitate a Kids Yoga workshop; seriously two of the friendliest girls you will ever meet. Unfortunately, the age group of little ones on the morning was just too young for that particular workshop and the girls very kindly gave up their space to host a very in demand ‘buggy park’.

We reached out to two of our favourite brands to ask them to sponsor the event. This was such a scary moment in the planning but thankfully, they jumped at the chance to send some goodies for our guests. On arrival, we were able to bless our big guests with a delicious drink from Bottle Green and our little guests were given corn snacks from the wonderful, Heavenly Tasty Organics. This helped to ease the sting of the unanticipated queues and certainly put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces. We also dished out complimentary tea, coffee, juice and traybakes to all our guests in our coffee corner which was hosted by my amazing mummy and my sisters’ boyfriend. Our volunteers were phenomenal! In addition to our treats on the day we handed out goodie bags packed full of discounts, keepsakes and tasty treats to our first 20 guests. This was a great opportunity for stallholders to showcase their products even further and also for businesses who couldn’t make it on the day to play a part. People were queuing an hour before doors opened to try and nab a goodie bag, and I don’t blame them to be honest, here’s what our guests found in their bags;

  • Bottlegreens Pink Tonic
  • Key ring from The Crafty Stag
  • Space Mask from Ditsy Little
  • Calm Balm for restful nights from
  • Wooden Bookmark from Grace and Glory
  • Handmade card from Jen Sketch
  • Discount vouchers from Jan Mary, Dandie & Dot, Rose Fabric Design, CA Designs, Brandearte, Dandelion Studios, Cotton Rose Designs, Cranberry Lime, Lily & Stone Watches
  • Samples from Neils Yard
  • Brochures from Stella and Dot
  • Little snacks from Haribo and Pocket Ripe
  • Bubbles and a balloon for little guests

I could sing praises for our stallholders for days on end, they really were incredible and their smiles on the day created the most wonderful atmosphere. We had a meet up over coffee before the market so that everyone could meet and chat and share ideas ahead of the event. Our goal was to create friendship and community and make the market as unintimidating as possible and I really feel like the meet up (and our whatsapp group) helped us to achieve that. We have received amazing feedback from each of our stallholders and they have been so so kind and encouraging throughout the whole process. Sales on the day were ‘their best ever’ for many of our stallholders, and lots commented on how delighted they were with the publicity they received from the market. Many order books were filled and we breathed a huge sigh of relief to know that it really was worthwhile for our businesses. These are the wonderful brands that made up Mummy & Me Market;

  • Lily Rose Cupcakes
  • Grace James Handmade
  • Sarah Cameron Art
  • Evie B’s Young At Heart
  • Ditsy Little
  • Dandelion Studios
  • Jan Mary Designs
  • Grace & Glory Crafts
  • The Crafty Stag
  • Lace & Lillies
  • Sass & Boho
  • Florrie & Will
  • Cuchie Coo
  • The Homely Haven
  • Rose Fabric Design
  • Jen Sketch
  • Daisy Belle Dreams
  • Scurry Home & Paper
  • Stella & Dot
  • Cotton Rose Designs
  • Shrink Complete Fitness
  • Neils Yard
  • Brand Arte
  • Hello Baby Bert
  • The Copper Otter
  • Lucy & Belle

The whole day was captured by a wonderfully talented local videographer, Day & Age Films. Kathryn floated about without getting in anyone’s way and managed to capture the feel of the market so unbelievably well. You can watch our Market footage here, the smiles are completely infectious!! GMK Designs provided the most stunning floral frame for our guests to steal a gorgeous photo with their friends, old and new! The frame attracted so much attention and added that perfect piece of styling to the day. I am looking for any excuse to hire one for my house, they really are so beautiful.

Of course, as with all new ventures, there are lessons to learn and we certainly did learn a lot from our first market. Each of the things that we had meticulously planned and had control over went perfectly and we have received so much wonderful feedback. There were a few things that we would want to eliminate from future events as far as possible. Firstly, the venue was absolutely jam packed. We were completely overwhelmed by the crowds and it far surpassed our expectations which is a wonderful problem to have but in reality it did mean we had long queues and we did need to stop people coming in at a few points to allow for health & safety standards to be kept. Parking was also an issue, as was traffic. Finally, our biggest problem were the sheer amount of prams. There just wasn’t room and until we were able to open a ‘buggy park’ we really were struggling to find space to keep them. We were prepared for negative feedback on these issues but thankfully only a couple of guests have commented, and always in a ‘constructive criticism’ way. We are so grateful for feedback and of course will strive to make it even more accessible next time round.

My personal highlights from the day were watching the little ones absorbed in Sensory Kids, hearing the chat and laughter from the market place, seeing the giant grins in the photo studio and watching mummies catch up with each other while their tots played happily in the kids zone. The time just flew by and I sadly didn’t get time to shop or catch up with every single person who attended. By the end, we were completely exhausted but so so grateful. My heart is bursting! I swore that it would be at least a year before we planned another market, but within 24 hours the word ‘Christmas’ was mentioned in our whatsapp group and as messages started to pour in on instagram we arranged to meet to discuss a Winter Market. Planning is once again in full swing, it will be a very quick turnaround but the excitement is even greater this time. Venues are offering their services, businesses are requesting to take part and guests are begging for another event. Watch this space, we truly have caught the bug!

Photo by @ourlifeatthewhitehouse

 

If you are a local business wanting to take part in Mummy & Me Winter Market we would love to hear from you. We are putting together a list of potential stallholders which is filling up very quickly. Please do get in touch sooner rather than later to explore ways in which you can get involved.

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