Noun - 'a regular gathering of people for the purchase and sale of provisions, livestock and other commodities'
Verb - 'to advertise or promote'.....
|Shrewsbury Indoor Market|
The last couple of months have been spent marketing my new business and products in quite diverse ways.
|Country Markets Stall|
Stepping back in time (to the traditional notion of what a market is) I have been selling cakes, tarts and biscuits on a co-operative stall within the indoor market hall in Shrewsbury. The stall is part of the nationwide Country Markets network which had it's beginnings as the WI stalls back in 1919. Nearly 100 years on it is interesting to see that whilst the world has moved on this little stall in a corner of the market retains a feel and clientele of a by-gone age. The Market Hall itself is buzzing with cafes, art stalls, artisan jewelers, trendy fabric and wool stalls, a chocolatier, fruit & veg stalls, fishmongers, butchers, and bakers ... not sure there's a candle maker! See the Youtube Video below -
The Country Markets stall sells preserves, cakes, breads, pastries, flowers, plants, cards, knitted items, bird boxes, bunting and numerous other items but it struggles to attract new customers and new producers. I saw it as an opportunity to test the 'market' really and wasn't really sure how my style of cakes would sell. I took over from a retiring producer who had made the Victoria Sponge Cakes for years, eeeks I thought, the pressure was on to fill some pretty big traditional cake making shoes there. I have introduced some new items to the stall - some with success, others not so. Every few weeks I take my turn to help out on the stall and speaking to the customers I gather useful feedback.
I prep on a Thursday evening, bake all day Friday and hope it sells on the Saturday. I haven't had much returned unsold and any that has I have given to friends and neighbours!
|A selection of my produce wrapped and ready for market|
Bang up to date I am trying to get up to speed with modern marketing - using Twitter and Facebook to find new customers as well as creating a website to showcase my cakes. It's a very different form of marketing and needs careful planning, time-management and researching to ensure your content is reaching your market, is interesting, isn't all about selling and you post consistently. Having blogged for a few years (about our travels and my cakes) the IT side of it isn't the issue it is just the time required to keep on top of it all.
Having spent years in administration I thought my venture into cake decorating would be an escape from all that - it's turning out not quite to be as I envisaged! But I really mustn't complain as my first cake commission has come through a Twitter retweet ..... get with it Kath!!