Somebody pinch me, am I really sitting here writing a post on our second Mummy & Me Market? It was less than six months ago that I met with fellow stay-at-home Mum Laura, in a coffee shop and had an “I wonder if this could work” conversation. We nervously discussed ideas, did some research and jumped head first into planning our very first market.
The uncertainty was rife;
would stallholders trust us to host an event that would be worth their while?
would anyone turn up on the day?
Our nerves were wrecked but as time went on the community amongst our stallholders grew and our apprehension was almost fully replaced with excitement. Fast forward to 21 September and we hosted over 250 guests in beautiful Gracehill, all of whom had come to shop from our 27 hand-selected independent stallholders, you can read all about it here.
It was hectic, it was brilliant, it was stressful, and at the end I swore it would be 2019 before I even considered another one but just two days later, Laura and I started discussing the possibility of fast-tracking a Winter Market to give our brands another boost before Christmas! We had already been approached by three different venues offering their space and had started to jot down some of our favourite insta-sellers.
On the most beautiful Autumn day we bundled ourselves into the car and made a trip to Edenmore Country Club to view their space and discuss their ideas for hosting our Mummy & Me Winter Market. We were barely through the gates before Laura and I started getting a little bit giddy with excitement, it was just stunning. Bright orange trees, stonework buildings and a view to die for. As we wandered around the venue we were just falling more and more in love and then came the chat with Rachel and Julie, two girls who we could tell immediately would do their very best to help us upscale our market whilst sticking closely to the original ethos.
If you’re new to the idea of Mummy & Me Market, Laura and I wanted to create an event that would showcase local, independent brands. Most of whom are mums trying to channel their creativity whilst raising their little ones. We wanted it to be relaxed, family friendly and a chance to build community beyond the squares of instagram. Our Winter Market held on to those values and that really was our key priority.
On Saturday 17 November, just eight weeks after our first market, we hosted over 40 stallholders in our market place, had an entire zone dedicated to the kids, a pop up photo studio, toddler sense sessions and even managed to secure a visit from our favourite guy in the big red suit! Over 500 guests came to shop, meet and play.
We decided fairly early on that we wanted this to be the start of the festive season for our guests and one way we felt we could do that was to host a VIP hour where ticket holders could arrive an before the official opening time and browse the stalls with a glass of bubbly in hand before the crowds descended. We sold 30 VIP tickets within just a few days and gave these guests a unique goodie bag on arrival which included a market wide discount card for the first hour, a delicious cupcake from Lily Rose Cupcakes, various discount codes, a treat for the kids from Lucy & Belle, a Christmas decoration from Labours of Love Crochet, a stunning print from Lynsey Auld Art and another from City and Shore UK and a few other goodies. The VIP hour was a huge success and I have no doubt we will incorporate this into future markets (here I go again already)!
For the rest of our guests, doors opened at 11am and the first 20 received jam packed goodie bags full of treats donated by stallholders and other local businesses. Our little guests received goodies from Heavenly Tasty Organics as they came through the door and I can’t even tell you how much this set the tone for the day, those little faces just lit up when they were handed a crate to choose from.
This event was styled by the hugely talented This Old Home who offered their services early on in the planning process. We gave Steph free reign to do whatever she wanted with the space and man did she pull out all the stops. We had beautiful signage pointing guests in the right direction as they arrived and the most stunning customised backdrop as they entered the venue. We also got to use the gorgeous macramé feature at the top of the grand staircase where Melissa from Mamas & Papas greeted guests and handed out more goodies. So many people stopped to comment on the attention to detail and we really do have Steph to thank for that, she nailed it!
We were inundated with requests for stalls and it was so hard to turn so many beautiful brands down but we pretty much doubled our intake from the previous market and were so delighted with the variety of stalls on the day.
Many, many guests took time to comment on the variety and quality of products on offer and we have it on very good authority that every single business did very well on the day. We couldn’t be more proud of “our girls”.
They worked day and night to bring the best stock to the market, kept each other going with tonnes of encouragement in our group chat and smiled throughout the event. Each and every business that was represented has a story behind it, a talent that has been nurtured and a real life person who pours their heart and soul into their work. They are so special to us, as cheesy as that sounds, it really is true!
I honestly believe the market had something for everyone and I know lots of Christmas shopping started that very day so I have no doubt there will be some very happy recipients on Christmas Day. Have a browse through the list of all of our stallholders, I cannot be held responsible for any shopping that may ensue;
As I mentioned before, Dandelion Studio hosted an incredibly popular pop-up studio and the queue was testament to Emma’s talent. We caught a glimpse of some totally adorable, very happy little ones and I just know these pictures will be treasured for years to come! Day and Age Films also captured some special moments during the market and as I have said before; Kathryn just blends into the crowd so it’s no surprise that the mini films she created are beautiful and candid and so atmospheric, just everything we love about Day and Age.
Our kids zone was a huge success as was our valet buggy park. We had an entire studio dedicated to the little and big kids on the day which included a story corner, hosted by Happy Ever After Bookstore, Teepees from Teepee Parties NI, a Christmas movie, crafting station, reindeer food bar and a gaming zone hosted by BoxFox. The feedback about this area was amazing; it was so important to us that families felt welcome and this zone managed to achieve that! Santa Clause did the rounds with treats for the kids and what can I say, the smiles really were contagious. Alongside our kids zone we had Toddler Sense Banbridge hosting sensory sessions for under 5’s. The little ones absolutely loved it and we have had a lot of enquiries about Toddler Sense following the market.
Laura and I came away from the Winter Market on a complete high. Everything went off without a glitch and a huge thank you must go to the staff at Edenmore, particularly Julie, who just made sure that everything was perfect on the day. The work that Julie and her team put in took such a weight of our shoulders and we truly are indebted to them.
A huge number of our guests stopped to tell us how much they had enjoyed the event and so many people commented on how wonderful the atmosphere was. An awful lot of planning goes into an event like this but I can honestly say it is an absolute joy to organise and host.
We got to meet so many wonderful families who had travelled from across Northern Ireland to be there on the day and we got to showcase many of our very favourite local brands, it is such an honour to be trusted with their businesses for a short time. The smiling faces, the bouncing babies, the arms full of shopping bags, the happy tots and excited kids, the old friends and new ones too, the mums chatting over coffee and the dads getting competitive in the gaming zone; every single moment of the Winter Market was all we hoped it would be and so much more. Yes we have been asked when the next one will be, for now I am concentrating on growing my little baby who is due in March but I can’t lie, I am itching to get going on the next Mummy & Me event. Watch this space!