Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trading at Netil Market

It has been about two weeks since I made cards again because I was busy getting ready to make my first appearance at a Saturday flea market on 4th June 2011. It was Netil Market in Bethnal Green, East of London. This market is about 1-year old, so it is not that popular yet. That's why I could afford their current stall rent. Unlike other mature markets whose stall rent can be rather exorbitant.

Netil Market's entrance


Most of the week leading to the market date was spent on visiting suppliers in their physical shops and also online. When I finally paid for a market stall booking, I was pressed for preparation. I laboured time on repackaging and doing quality control for the cards I have previously made. There were lots of printing, cutting and pasting labels for price tags and signages. Phew. Setting up a stall is a lot of work!

I even bought a plain mirror almost as big as A4 size and decorated it. 

Wanted to have it displayed at my stall for the use of customers as I included some of my new jewelry stock for sales too. However, this mirror did make it to 'live' long. It was crushed while I was packing everything into a large luggage. Wasted effort and time.

My fav bear managed to use the mirror before it cracked

Anyway, Setting up the stall took much longer than closing up. That's because it was my first time trading in a market in London. Everything I had to do at a market that day was new, new, new! 

Here are some pics of the Netil Market.

Surprised to see they even sell some urinals right at the entrance! Haha.

 It is not a big market but they sell all sorts of stuff here. Antiques, vintage items, clothing, crafts, collectibles... and even...

...bicycles! Isn't this Bicycle Library interesting?

My foremost intention of trading here was not to make big bucks. I would say most of us crafters are more dedicated to making the crafts they love more than anything else... like trading. So since I have already accumulated quite a number of handmade cards, I decided to see for myself how people respond to my design and pricing. Realized I aced at pricing lower than customers' expectation. While handmade cards can be expensive, I try my best to sell them at reasonable cheaper rate, just so more people can afford my 'artwork'. I want more people to own my work. I am not a Picasso but one can only dream, right?

A card I made and kept for 2 years because I loved it so. I made the clay baby myself.

This card baby was finally sold to adopted by the mum of another trader. Before she left my stall, she told me she would be a good mummy ;) She also said she is a painter and that in her house she has a wall where she displays collections of artwork. To my pleasant surprise, she said she decided to frame this card! Yay!

Now, here are some photos of my humble stall with very little investment on stall fixture at the moment...

eyeARTyou was in the centre of this row. The only one that bothered to display a stall name.

Humble beginning with makeshift stall name board and other displays

Also sold some clothing & jewelries which I handpicked for sales. Thought other items would help draw more people to browse at my stall in case the cards don't immediately attract them to come by from a distant.

Incentives to stop by? ;)

I always had the idea that sweets can help create the welcoming atmosphere. I didn't mind even if they stop just for the sweets. Many did appreciate the sweets.There were also 10 pence & 20 pence paper craft items and 50 pence brooches which I made. Those were gimmicks in hopes of luring people to check out other items too.

At the meantime, all other stuff may seem more eye catching in the stall but to me they are mere tactics to get people to stop and take notice of the handmade cards. Don't yet have the fund for proper card display shelves and etc, so I just made do with what I have.

Hubby was keeping watch while resting in the picnic chair we brought.

It was a very windy day. For countless times throughout the day , my cards on the table flew to my neighbour's stall. Thank God my cards were already protected with plastic. There were not many people visiting the market although there is another rather established market about 1 minute walk on the same street. I realized the organizer may not have done enough to advertise or promote the market. So I am now considering and looking for other venues.

How was my sales? Well, thank God I managed to cover the stall rent and also make some. But it isn't that much to cover a lavish meal for two. Haha. Like I shared earlier, my objectives were to gain trading experience and also to see for myself people's responses to my cards. So, I would say my objectives were met. Ticked!

The closing time came and we packed up at the stall. One of the traders found something foreign in his stall. 

Poor man/woman for losing this good looking dental plate!

A denture!!! Imagine what a peculiar thing to be seen at any lost & find section. Hahaha... I couldn't resist taking a shot of this.

Before we left the area, my hubby and I hung out at a cafe for a cuppa of joe. 

After drinking in the atmosphere and the latte at the cafe, we were set to continue our journey home via the underground tube lugging 1 huge luggage, 2 backpacks, 1 picnic chair & 1 three-fold stand.

Voila! The 'report' on my 1st trading experience in London is finally done. Phew. What a long post.

Thanks to all of you who have been giving me the moral support to do what I have been hoping to do. And also those who take interest in my progress ;) Tq, tq, tq... TQ!

I would like to invite some crafters to join me at this craft swap... erm, not exactly a swap but you get something handmade from me and you are to make something to give to next 5 persons. It's the 'Pay It Forward' project. I have found it on blogland and decided I would like to participate in this meaningful project. Click here to join me or to read more about it. Only 3 more places left. So hurry!



  1. When I was working in IT line, I used to have this square basket with tons and tons of goodies, sweets, candies inside. Colleagues would drop by and take some - which I don't mind at all. It's nice to have people dropping by, chat with you for a while, helps to relieve some stress and take your mind off work.

    Btw, good to hear you have a nice time and experience in this! Praying for more to come!

  2. Looks a great place, pity there wasn't the footfall you hoped for but as you say, it's all experience. Even the broken mirror is not a 'waste of time' if you've learned something whether that be 'don't bother doing another one', 'pack it differently' or 'use a smaller mirror' I know what you mean about wanting your work to be appreciated. I'm glad you had a good day and coffee at the end of a long day is always a good thing. :o)

  3. congratulation on your wonderful experience...! :)

  4. What a fabulous post - it almost feels like I was there!
    It's a shame about the mirror, but it looks like you had a good time. You will build up your stock and continue to improve your sales figures :-)
    I can't believe you carried all your stock etc on the tube - well done!!

  5. Jen, guess candies still work the same for adults! We all still enjoy the sugar high every now and then. Haha. Yes, please pray for His guidance to the right sources and what I should do to find the right niche. Thanks.

    Picto, thanks for your encouragement. Well, I did enjoy doing up the mirror. While it isn't a wasted experience, I did the mirror when I also needed to do so many other stuff. It was indeed a lesson learned during the busyness, just unfortunate it didn't last long enough to be seen. Yes, coffee is a treat like a pat on the back. XD

    Zhana, thanks. Do let me know when the 'prize' has finally reached you. Hope to see some photos of it or read about it from your blog on how you intend to use it . Really curious. Keep me posted ya ;)

    Wendy, haha... I tried my best to illustrate. I am not the type of blogger who writes well. One blog post like this takes a lot of my effort while someone else could have done it in a breeze. Oh, the lugging of stuff would have been worse without my faithful helper (hubby). In our journey, there were 3 flights of stairs at one station! Thanks.

  6. Hey Kirsty,

    It was tiring but nonetheless... yes, fun too! ;)

  7. definitely will keep you update girl...! i'm really excited of what am i going to "project" with your candy... impatiently waited for it arrive (^__^)