Wednesday, 13 December 2017

What I've learnt from my first handmade market

Last Sunday, I've participated in my first handmade market! It was held at Will You Cafe, 1 Mont Kiara Mall from 10am to 4pm. I was super excited initially but by afternoon I was deflated. Though I've joined many bazaars for my ladies accessories and bags, the environment and expectation is totally different for handmade.

So here's what I've learnt from this handmade market and how I could improvise for the future.

1. I didn't do my research on what, where, which, who, why and how of this market. I only knew it as a Christmas Maker Market 2017 where a few local makers and artisans would assemble to sell their products with a percentage of their sales will go to a charity organisation. That's about it.
Me and my little assistant LOL!
So I've made quite a number of dolls, key chains, coin purses, etc targeting children since it's for charity, thinking that it can be Christmas gifts too. Apparently it was not unique enough so it didn't attract many people. Also, people seemed to buy more products of 'needs' and not 'wants' so I lose out here even though I wasn't as pricey.

Thanks Yiliyuli!
2. After sitting there for half a day, I realised there was no extensive marketing from either the organiser or the mall. The organiser has depended only on the makers to spread the word through social media. Lucky for us, thanks to Yiliyuli (a seasoned maker), the market was featured in Sin Chew newspaper but it wasn't enough. I have observed that most shoppers were either the family, relative or friends of the makers who had dropped by to support. Unfortunately for me, none came to support me hence the dejection I've felt. I don't blame them as the location is in a way quite far from Subang area where most of my friends are located.

Also, it seemed the mall wasn't even aware of such market happening as no banners nor buntings and not even a Facebook post to inform their shoppers. Such advertising would have helped for sure to create more awareness. I definitely did not see many mall shoppers coming through and even if they did, they quickly exited down the escalator which was truly sad.

3. The location itself, Will You Cafe which is at the top floor, has transparent ceiling where hot sun shines through with extensive heat and warmth. This itself did divert some shoppers away as it was really hot and most preferred to stay below levels with cool air-conditioning. Though there were a few blowers but it wasn't enough to cool down the vast area.

Mind you, these are just my own observation and opinion since I was free, no customers mah so no offence here ya. Please take it positively... I'm just thinking of the future markets that I would come across and how I could improvise. Though I've invested in my time, petrol and parking for that day, I am thankful for the opportunity given which is my learning experience :-)

Some thoughts on what I should have done differently:
1. Branding of Susan Stitch Stuff - still work in progress

2. Market niche - moving towards my own design of tab and book sleeves, mobile, tab and book covers, coin purses, totes, etc

3. Workshop - still work in progress but I sure hope to kick-start a crochet bookmark session soon. I noticed having a workshop for such market does helped to boost the crowd

4. More prepared with extensive research of the market(s) before committing regardless free or chargeable

5. To be honest, I've made some new maker friends which have given me insights and ideas which I've gladly absorbed, hopefully I could churn it out and succeed in the near future! So it's good to mingle and exchange name cards more!

My utmost THANKS to the
- host, Will You Cafe
- organiser, Mindspace
- person-in-charge, Denise Khoo
- Handmade In Malaysia founder, San Evelyn
who have made this Christmas Maker Market 2017 happened!!!
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