What do MOPS buy?

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echoesfromhistory
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What do MOPS buy?

Postby echoesfromhistory » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:35 pm

Maybe it's the way everyone gets started, but on Thursday (yes just before Christmas) I learned it was my turn for redundancy again ... :-x

Is it worth taking up the challenge and trading at historic fairs and markets? There seem to be many public events still - is the market growing and what do the MOPS buy?

I admire all the authentic traders and have spent a lot myself over the years at TORM and ILHF etc, but I could never produce quality products to sell like that, so can't see I'd make a living that way; that's selling to each other - surely the money is selling to the public ....

So could I set up as a trader selling products made by others? If so what do they buy? Elsewhere traders have berated the fact that some large public events now have less authentic goods but plenty of Tarot and fairy stalls - but is this just supply and demand; how many visitors to Kelmarsh or Tewks will leave with a hand-made long bow or an authentically/loving crafted whatever? But they do spend money - but what on?

Tell me what are your best sellers - I'll resell them and we can all make a living (I hope)! :$

Merry Christmas



acecat999
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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby acecat999 » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:42 pm

cheap tat that costs about the same as a pint or a sandwich but doesn't have much profit margin?

:lol: :lol:


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musket
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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby musket » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:24 pm

TBH if I was in the same position I would look into food trading, a trailer or van selling hot food and drinks.A few hoops to go through to do it, but then you can trade at other places as well.



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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby houseoffreyja » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:15 pm

To be honest, if we knew what the public wanted, we would all be rich.
Also, the last few years have been hard. People don't have money to spare and most traders are struggling, some are going under. I don't want to put you off, but there's no point telling you that everything is great.
It's a good idea to sell stuff you like so you can talk positively about it.
Food traders may seem to have an easier life cos everyone wants a burger, but the pitch fees are higher and talk to Martin's Jerked Meats about the hoops you have to jump through.
Sorry, if I've been negative, but this year has been a struggle and you won't get rich quick, being a trader, but you will make good friends and have a laugh.
Elaine



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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby AndyandHelen » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:13 am

Firstly sorry to hear about the job, bloody awful for you. Next good to hear that you are considering all your options. There are other possibilities out there though such as working away in places like Guernsey. Back to the task in hand, I did notice that the bakery shop brought over from Italy was popular, but that's high volume and red tape city central. I don't think anyone is doing historical take away food apart from the pieman. If you did that a burger van could be ideal as it'd have all the gear needed such as hot plates, all you'd then have to do is find suitable recipes for interesting pottage or maybe cassoulet? Again though HSE and red tape beckon. The only other things MOPs tend to buy are toys, cheap souvenirs and the odd book.



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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby Annie the Pedlar » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:45 am

Think really hard. You want to sell something people need and keep running out of. You need to be the only person they can find who's selling it. It shouldn't be Historically specific. Not a big enough customer base and you'll be cut out of hollywoody type Medieval Fairs. So something that will sell to the public. Have other strings to your bow. Don't rely on one thing.

(I am totally depressed with my trading in 2012 and the only thought in my head is 'toilet paper almost fits the above' but must stay positive.)

Last thought - don't buy stock (unless you are in this for the long game - there must be a killing to be made from the mountains of bankrupt stuff floating around). Make. Then you can duck and dive. Start and stop. You only buy materials with the money from stuff you've sold.

(Then you get into do crafters make a living wage? :lol: )


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acecat999
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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby acecat999 » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:03 pm

another option would be to find out if any existing traders are looking for investment......

might be one or two who have the potential for trebling their turnover/profits if they had some investment and / or another pair of hands selling stuff at different events


everyday i can be an insignificant but unavoidable nuisance is a day well spent.

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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby Annie the Pedlar » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:25 pm

Or retiring or bowing out (but you have to ask why).


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echoesfromhistory
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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby echoesfromhistory » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:19 pm

acecat999 wrote:another option would be to find out if any existing traders are looking for investment......

might be one or two who have the potential for trebling their turnover/profits if they had some investment and / or another pair of hands selling stuff at different events


Sorry, my posts tend to be a little obtuse - but this is what I had in mind - if a trader is doing well (?) selling lots 'north of Watford' then maybe I could sell their stuff in the south. If someone knows their market well and knows what sells, then they could be in two places at once and increase their sales by me selling their stuff in the south ...

Any one ready to expand ?



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Annie the Pedlar
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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby Annie the Pedlar » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:26 am

It's what I do but there are hurdles to jump.
Have you got the money to invest/gamble on buying stock from the makers?
Perhaps you are thinking of sale or return? Have you got the time to keep up with regular stock taking, settling up and taking a hit with breakage and spoilage and theft?
Can you store the stuff? I just say that because during my pedling life I have moved 6 times expanding my stock but moving into smaller and smaller houses.
What about your selling prices? Are you planning to sell at the same price as the maker? Or are you marking your prices up? If the latter, why should a customer buy from you and not direct from the maker? If the former can you cover your costs and still make a profit?
Are you going to sell from home or go to fairs? If the latter, have you calculated fuel to get there, pitch fees, camping or hotel, eating out, costed your time spent selling? If the former, are you relying on websales? Can you pay yourself for time spent fiddling about trying to get seen?

So there's Annie's wise words. And did I do that? No. I filled a small basket with stuff, sold it and filled a big basket with stuff and....... :rock:


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Tod
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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby Tod » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:22 pm

There are dozens of resellers out there. Most are buying rubbish from abroad and have no idea how its made, if its accurate, or in some cases even what it does. IMO the resale to re-enactors market is flooded with junk sellers (and rip off merchants). Selling to the public is going to be difficult as you will have to travel to so many shows. As Annie said that will cost you, apart from fuel, booking fees etc you'll need a big tent of some type and most likely an authentic one as not all venues will allow modern ones.
I sell items I make and items I have designed and the profit margin isn't great so having some one sell my goods would be difficult unless they wanted to up the prices. I'm often asked if I can discount items and realisticaly I can only reduce postage costs on multiple buys. I can only suggest you try and sell soem thing that others are selling, good luck with that. As Andy said food is the way to make money.



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Lord High Everything Esle
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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby Lord High Everything Esle » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:18 pm

that's true, at public events there is a spectrum of traders

those who make and sell their products
those who buy and sell things that "look" historic"
those who do both.

In these hard times if you want to sell to the PUBLIC as opposed to re-enactors you need to have a line of pocket money items that will at least pay for your fuel and pitch fee.

I used to have a deal with a couple in the south who would sell my stock along with theirs but eventually they realized that there was little money in the deal and asked for their life back!! (I paid the pitch fee and they paid for the petrol and I gave them a commission on sales) BUT I did know them before hand and wanted to help them start their own business when they were out of work.

Most re-enactor maker-traders make very little money and are doing it for the love of it. Thanks to them all for lovely things at stupid prices.

HOWEVER Food pitches cost 1000s of pounds. Organisers are not mad like traders!!


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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby frances » Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:19 pm

"Tell me what are your best sellers"

Long before I started selling I was sitting in a pub with a group of what turned out to be traders and they were swapping stories on this very topic. One was a shirt and chemise maker/seller. The previous year at this event everyone had been asking for large size and they sold out the first day. This time they made sure they had plenty of large size with them. Only this year everyone was asking for size small.

I think that this just about sums up trading.



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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby Chris T » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:51 am

Along with my other stuff, I sell buttons. I keep what I believe is a large stock of each, but the uncanny ability of customers to detect the one style I am low or out of has to be seen to be believed.

The whole scene is being hit by both recession and on line tat selling.

Unless you have a REALLY good idea for an untapped market sector (I wish) I would seriously consider whether it is wise to get into this at all. At best you are liable to find yourself working like a dog for less than minimum wage: one of the main problems I find is the disproportion between the time used on the activity in total and the worthwhile selling time.Even as a reseller the time taken to assemble stock, pack it, drive to event and set up , and visa versa, is often more than the total selling time, and the worthwhile selling time is often much smaller than the total: you may be behind your stall and ready to go, but if there is no customers there is no point.
With most activities, working harder/ longer produces obvious results: with selling this is not always the case, so it is not as easy as simply working hard to be a success.

My one grain of wisdom as to what MOPS buy (as others have said) is that they buy down to price: the quality does not matter, the relevance to the event does not matter but the price does. Sad, but think pound shop!



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Re: What do MOPS buy?

Postby frances » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:06 pm

I did laugh Chris. How right you are on all counts.

Long ago I realised the futility of working out how much an hour you are earning. But there are also the intangible benefits of getting away into the countryside, seeing places that you would not normally get to see, chatting to people that you would never otherwise meet and so on.

It is certainly not the route to becoming a millionaire.




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