How are you finding trade ?

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Martin
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How are you finding trade ?

Postby Martin » Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:37 pm

Just wondering how other traders are finding it at the mo ? we are down considerably this year compared to last year at this time and takings were down by 40% this weekend alone, how is the year panning out for you ?


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Annie the Pedlar
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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Annie the Pedlar » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:01 pm

I was feeling smug because the credit crunch hadn't affected much until now. It has finally caught up. This year has been rubbish.
Museum funding slashed. School spending dwindled to a trickle. Punters not spending. The only thing that's bouyant are my aiglets but a 50p a pop I'm going to have to sell an awful lot to hit the minimum wage.
I was moaning out loud yesterday at the ILHF wondering if I'd be better off chucking it all in and drawing my pension when a customer exclaimed "Oh no! Don't do that!" Which was lovely...... :*
Annie


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Miss Costello » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:17 pm

Museums and schools wise, I've certainly noticed them trying to squeeze every ounce of moneys worth from us (schools workshops) but I'm finding that they think that we can be taken for a ride re fuel expenses etc...got offered a days work in Lincs.

81 miles away.
Got offered £100.

Only just covers diesel for the return trip. let alone things like my insurance.

K



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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Martin » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:41 pm

I was feeling smug because the credit crunch hadn't affected much until now. It has finally caught up. This year has been rubbish.
thats what we thought, but it seems to be catching up with us to now, every single thing I used has gone up and up[ in price over the last 3 years, ingredients, utilities and fuel


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Teagirl » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:41 pm

To be honest, every show this year bar one has been at least as good as the previous ones, or if not better certainly not any worse, except for the two ILHF shows.

Mike and I both believe that the new venue has contributed significantly to that. The increase in pitch fees is not making it any easier, so we've taken the decision (which we had to think long and hard about) to not trade at ILHF while it's at Bruntingthorpe. We have a few good shows coming up before the end of the year so we're hoping that they are at least on average what we did last year. Fingers crossed for everyone, because it's tough making a business work during the tough times.

-Su


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Martin
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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Martin » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:45 pm

We will have to contact Dave and find out how much the increase is, our things cost £2.50 and we dont feel we can increase the price and still be able to sell them, and any increase in costs affects us a lot, added onto accommodation, fuel, food and drink when we are away which all are increasing in price means we will be looking very carefully at the shows we do over a certain distance from home, we will only really be traveling to shows that are guaranteed a
A. good MOP / reenactor turn out
B. Not over a certain price for a pitch depending on the distance, the further we have to travel the more the incidental costs mount up (food, fuel, accom) the less we want to pay for a pitch lol
We are doing more and more shows with the demos which works well cos the demo negates the pitch fee and makes it worth our while traveling a bit further :)


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Kajte » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:52 pm

Miss Costello wrote:
81 miles away.
Got offered £100.

Only just covers diesel for the return trip. let alone things like my insurance.

K


Sorry for a blatant thread hijack, but, yikes, £100 only just covers your diesel? I have a fairly small car, and get 500 miles for just under £60, I was thinking of going larger, our even getting a van. I think I will stick with what I have (and my £30 a year road tax ;) )

Do you have a big van?



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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Teagirl » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:01 pm

Martin wrote:We will have to contact Dave and find out how much the increase is


http://www.squidoo.com/international-li ... e115821651

Prices are there, including surcharges for wall or corner stands and £60 for electric.


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Miss Costello » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:03 pm

It's a Nissan Navarra, if they want my cooking display I need to take my trailer to carry the Soyer Boilers. it's now over £5 each way with a trailer over the humber bridge. Plus my diesel.

My insurance (car and PLI) have both gone up and that would leave me with very little profit. This is for a full day, from 8.30-3.45pm.

K



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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Tod » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:09 pm

This week end was quiet I thought there were less people there, but on the way to the ILHF (I traved from Milton Keynes to Bruntingthorpe each day) the was almost no traffic on the M1, it was the same on the M6 (my helper came that way). This tells me that the people who came to the ILHF came because they have purchases in mind, rather than to brouse. The public are traveling less because of either the fuel costs or because of the half term, clocks going back or some thing else.
I thought I'd taken less at the ILHF and Friday and Sunday were down yet Saturday was up so my overall was as good as last year (October). I think as do some other traders the venue could do with a sit down area and I'll talk to Dave Allen about that. I think we all need to realise that people are spending less and maybe in Teagirls case its the public who are buying more (they don't in general go to the ILHF or TORM) hence why your sales are up and yet re-enactors (who go to both) are spending less on extras hence why Teagirls and Martins sales are down.



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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Martin » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:18 pm

Suzie thought that might be the case, people seemed to be there with shopping lists and trying not to deviate from them :)


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Biro » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:26 pm

Gotta say that this ILHF was the first time I've gone to a market with a shopping list (and yes, £15 of Jerky was on that list!).

At £60 for the petrol, gone are the days where I can just go for the day out and the off-chance I see something I like. Friends I went with also had lists too (but they're generally more organised than me anyway)

Got to say though, I'm really happy with what I came home with.



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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby houseoffreyja » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:43 pm

Hi Biro, nice to meet you and have a chat.
Elaine



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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Teagirl » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:46 pm

We sell mainly to reenactors as all our stock is historic except for a small selection of jewellery but that's still made with the same beads. The majority of our sales at any show are the beads, with a sprinkling of other items people buy as gifts such as the necklaces/earrings.

We'd be fools to pitch ourselves at a reenactor's fair with modern items. We sell the same things at any show we do, and ILHF in the spring and this past show are the only two shows with a significant (50% and 70%) drop over the previous shows at the old venue. We're not the only ones who have experienced similar decline at the new venue.

Every show we've done this year, including EH, TORM, other venues with a mix of public and reenactors has been as good if not better than the year before. With two or three exceptions, none of our regular customers came to ILHF.


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby matilda » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:54 pm

We haven't been to the new venue, mostly because there is nothing specific we want, and having been spoilt living in Oxford, with blackbird leys and then the move to Warwick, Bruntingthorpe is a step too far, especially when diesel costs are increasing and wages aren't.

This means that we don't spend on impulse buys.


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Sophia » Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:12 pm

We did go but spent very little (1 length of silk lacing from TJ & Miel, advance order for new Tudor Tailor book, couple of things from Suzi, pins at 6of1 (to pick up at TORM because I forgot to go back for them). We basically needed to see specific traders and also wanted to catch up with friends. Also been trying to build an updated list who traders who produce Tudor era stuff.

To be honest I am increasingly doing business online with traders as cash is tight and diesel is expensive and I am targeting my purchases much more carefully than I used to. Added problem is that we need to go to both markets which is an added expense.


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Vic James » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:25 am

I`ve got to admit ,am finding `Trade` fine :-)
While my profits are somewhat down due to my prices not reflecting the large rise in cost
of canvas this 60% + ! I`ve got more orders on the books than I`ve ever had at this time of year :-)
And my new van [ 2 year old now] has really helped to cut the fuel bill / motoring cost :-)
40mpg against my old LDV of 25mpg with no break downs heavy MoT bills ect ,,,

Vic



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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Graham Cooley » Tue Nov 01, 2011 10:12 am

We do relatively few shows, generally about half a dozen over the year. We were significantly down at the ILHF. However, we sell high value luxury pewter items. The cost of tin, the main metal in pewter has quadrupled in the last two to three years and as a result our prices have had to rise significantly even with reducing our magins where possible.

We found that those who were buying from us were buying low value items mainly for christmas presents (the giftware range), or items of essential kit (our range or hose). We had lots of interest in the big stuff but no one was buying as they have a big increase in cost, are high value and non essential.

If you ask other traders what they sold do you find the same pattern? Those who are buying are purchasing essential kit items of clothing, shoes and similar kit that you have to have for the hobby. Everyone is admiring the other stuff but being careful and not buying at the moment.

We will be riding out the recession. We have confidence in the items we sell as we know they are good quality at the best price we can do. Those who are looking will be back buying when they feel the recession lift and have a little more spare money.

Graham



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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Redders » Tue Nov 01, 2011 11:39 am

SJ and I had our best show ever. (Every show improves on the last)
We're not massive turn over traders. We never will be.
We're mainly at the ILHF to keep our profile up.
Plus, it's invaluable for fittings and collections.

Each time i'm introducing more 'essential' items to our range to keep money ticking over.
Impulse buys and successful browsing were higher than usual I'm pleased to say.
We still, and always will, rely on commissions for our main business. Even these are on the increase.

I unfortunately missed Friday but would agree with most that numbers were down.
I'm still undecided as to if the new location is causing lower numbers or not?
Change of location and tightened finances for folk happened at pretty much the same time so difficult to tell.

For my part, the journey time is almost identical to Warwick and it's easily accessible.
Thankfully, Dave is listening to everyone's comments and doing what he can to make it a successful venue.



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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby lucy the tudor » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:08 pm

Well, definitely not our best show ever, but well worth the trip.
If Dave continues to do his best to listen to what people want, and work towards it, and the site are looking to improve the floor quality and all is toddling gently towards most people finding the place, all will be well. I booked and paid for my pitch on Saturday, for the Spring, and it was about the same as last time, price wise for the same size.
I am not surprised people are being a bit more cautious about how and when they spend their money just now, I know even for supermarket shopping I'm back to limiting my trips, and going to more different shops on the same trip, to make full use of the offers etc, so how much more careful will people be about the less urgent things?
It has been a good season for us re sales, we have done more shows than before, and it has been worth it. People are very sensitive to pricing, and keen for a bargain, but they still love their hobby, so in the end, I think it will be ok.


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Miel » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:14 pm

Sophia wrote:We did go but spent very little (1 length of silk lacing from TJ & Miel, advance order for new Tudor Tailor book, couple of things from Suzi, pins at 6of1 (to pick up at TORM because I forgot to go back for them). We basically needed to see specific traders and also wanted to catch up with friends. Also been trying to build an updated list who traders who produce Tudor era stuff.

To be honest I am increasingly doing business online with traders as cash is tight and diesel is expensive and I am targeting my purchases much more carefully than I used to. Added problem is that we need to go to both markets which is an added expense.


Many thanks for your business.


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Miel » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:34 pm

We had one good day and two bad ones. Friday was bad mainly because all the museums, schools, etc. were not there as they have suffered from budget cuts. Saturday was great but Sunday was very very quiet. Most of Sunday there seemed to be more traders than re-enactors so I guess this was the reason that trading was poor.

As traders, Bruntingthorpe is great and well managed but I wonder if it quite so good for re-enactors. Perhaps running and advertising a shuttle bus between the main gate and the Fair for public transport visitors would help as would better sign posting from every main route in. Is it too far in the wilderness I wonder ?

A few sit down areas would help as would closer parking (some visitors told us).

How I hate recessions. I have lived through four serious ones now (I am 66 years old) and each one has lasted about three years before any respite appeared. I just hope small trading companies like ours can survive. The big difference this time seems to be that all the essential services like gas, electricity, phone, water and transport, seem to have had or having enormous increases while incomes are remaining stable or actually reducing.


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Teagirl » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:23 pm

Miel wrote: Perhaps running and advertising a shuttle bus between the main gate and the Fair for public transport visitors would help as would better sign posting from every main route in. Is it too far in the wilderness I wonder ?


The closest public transport to Bruntingthorpe is a 16-minute walk from the grounds to Cherry Garth. If there were a shuttle from there to the venue that would be good but it's still a haul by bus to Cherry Garth, the bus heads to Lutterworth, 22 minutes and then an hour from there to Leicester. It is in the wilderness for anyone using public transport.

We've been lucky to have a good year so far, two bad shows won't kill us but more than that would really be tough. We're curious to see how TORM will stack up against previous years as the spring one for us was up from the one the year before. We also have several more shows that we've done before to use as a yardstick to see if they're better/worse than last year.

Fingers crossed.


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Alan E » Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:49 pm

Access to Bruntingthorpe is 'for the enthusiastic': I had printed off the instructions but couldn't see the first place sign when leaving M1 (alright, I didn't go right around the r'bout but the placename on the instructions is not on the main signs); fortunately I had also set the road name in the sat-nav as well as the postcode, which meant I went an entirely different way and approached the proving ground from the other direction: From this direction (and there are only two ways along the road :wink: ) there were no signs at all until we arrived, at which point the sign on the gate faced the other way (i.e. invisible until we had already turned in). As an ex-dispatch rider and enthusiast who really wanted to get there, none of this really bothered me - but for someone more casually visiting?

Similar is what others have mentioned re. public transport access: Fine for those dedicated visitors, but off-putting for those who are less committed.

An example of a committed type of visitor who are less 'into' finding out-of-the-way fairs is the family of the club member who I met there: Unprepared for any difficulty finding the fair, they didn't fully read the access instructions, put the postcode into their sat-nav and expected to find the fair. After sitting for half an hour outside the wrong gate they were redirected to the correct gate by a kindly ambulance driver. Just this sort of difficulty will put off members of the public who want to come in and may (are more likely to?) buy 'off the cuff'. I'm not sure what the rest bought, but if this family had given up, Roger would have lost the sale of a pair of gauntlets: It adds up!


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Annie the Pedlar » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:47 pm

I came up from the south and there were no signs until I arrived (2nd time trying to find the place and still got a bit lost - really close - do I turn left or right - picked the wrong one) and like you said the sign wasn't visible until after I'd turned into the entrance. No complaints coming in from Leicester, but my sat nav said "Turn now" - wrong! Fortunately I was daydreaming and whizzed past. The correct turn was the third one on and was signposted. The first time I'd tried to find the place I'd got lost for an hour - until I twigged that if you keep driving around the edges you eventually hit the entrance.
So signage has improved but it's not cracked yet. And the sat nav thing needs sorting out. It can't be beyond the nerdiness of one of you to retro work out what to put into the sat nav.....

The old Warwickshire venue had a really nice cafe. I was really grateful for a comforting steak and kidney pie with chips and peas when I was still shakey after having been robbed one year. Greasy sausages and burgers have their place but I really missed a bit of healthy fruit and veg. (So much so I was driven to eat fudge and marchpane!!!!!!!!!! :devil: )

I still think the problem is customers not spending. (The customer me spent a quarter of what I usually do.) I do modern fairs and that's the case there. It would be interesting to have some trader feedback from TORM.

Sorry if I've missed a thread about whether to cut down on the days, I've been away for a while....
Mel mentioned it to me. We agreed that dropping the set up day (Thurday) was a bad idea, me because I'd have to leave home at 3am and Mel because she thought I'd be very grumpy by the time the customers showed up. ]:) For me Friday's takings were half of last years, but Saturday's were the same, Sunday was dead. Maybe we should drop the Sunday? Or heresy of heresies just do a Saturday?
What do you think?
Annie


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Martin » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:28 pm

After sitting for half an hour outside the wrong gate they were redirected to the correct gate by a kindly ambulance driver.
I wonder if thats the gate Suzie sat outside of, the satnav sent her to the wrong gate, even though they were the correct coordinates, if you dont type in the road name as well they dont work, I haven't been to the new venue so I cant comment on it, but if its that hard to get to it will affect turnout, though knowing Dave he's going to get on top of it though with the pitch fee rising we will be having to book a smaller pitch and take less variety of stuff in future


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Annie the Pedlar » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:43 pm

So that'll be the same gate I sat by, scratching my head, the first time I went. :crazy:


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Hinny Annie » Wed Nov 02, 2011 11:30 pm

So this has gone from, how are you finding trade generally, to ILHF was very quiet and some traders were down whatever %, and we are all doomed. Am I missing something here, it was 1 show, yes there are a FEW teething problems at a new venue, but nothing insurmountable, people don't like change, a few more signs and some tables and chairs for people to sit on, I would have thought if traders were unhappy, Dave Allen would be the most obvious person to direct your thoughts to, he is after all the person most likely to want this to succeed


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby Annie the Pedlar » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:53 am

Who's saying we are doomed?
I'm saying my takings were going up at Warwickshire and have come down at Bruntingthorpe. Both shows, not just this one. There's a credit crunch on. I'd have been surprised if it hadn't affected us.
It quite hard work doing these shows on my own, all my family think I'm mad, and I do have the option of stopping and drawing my pension and living a normal life. But the first obvious thing to do is to downsize and see if I can ride it out. Which I'm doing.
What we were actually musing on was - are takings down? If so, is it the credit crunch or the change of venue?
Dave (but more poor Mel,) knows what I think about the signage. I moaned enough at the first show and it was much improved this time. I think the big banners are great. Top marks for them. There's still a problem with sat navs and coming from the South. There's also problem with trollies not rolling on the on gravel and the limiting access of only having two doors. I'd got the loading and unloading at Warwickshire down to a fine art. Bruntingthorpe is an absolute pain and I was one of the last to leave, even with help at the end.
We're not moaning in a negative way. We're just tossing ideas about looking for solutions.
Annie


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Re: How are you finding trade ?

Postby LadyL » Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:11 am

Overall trade this year is slightly up on last year, despite setbacks, but that's due to us breaking into the bigger shows (Tewks, Mortimer's Cross, etc). However, we've found it necessary to increase our prices & think seriously about which shows we will attend or not, certainly for next year.

Cost of diesel is a major one. I think the increase is by around 30 p per litre since January 2011.

Base stock costs have gone through the roof & it is frightening how much we have to spend out per show just to fund the initial first evening's meals & first day to MOPs.

We've altered our menu to compete in a commercial market as necessity (inclusion of chips for MoPs) - without it we can't make enough to survive in the current climate.

The 20% VAT increase hasn't helped anyone in the economy, certainly not us traders. People have less money to spend all around & to be honest, most of us trade in "luxury" goods, rather than necessities.

Martin - for you I have some potential markets for next year (farmers markets & food fairs etc) via NCASS. I'll be purchasing the events guide over the next couple of weeks which will allow me access to online facilities to check what is available & where. I'm happy to pass on anything that may be within a reasonable travelling distance & low pitch fee (something NCASS are working strongly on - reducing pitches for food traders across the board).


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