A Pop Up Christmas Market

harcourtposterv2Driving home in November from my regular stall at the Magdalen Arms Flea Market, inspiration struck – how about putting on my own Christmas Market in our local pub?

The Landlord was all for the idea, a date was picked and within 48 hours I had the publicity done, launched an event page on Facebook, listed the event in local media and had a waiting list of local artisans and makers signed up for a stall.

I organised the event under the Chalky Chic banner to reinforce my brand identity.

The Harcourt Arms is in a part of Oxford known as Jericho. The area was narrowly saved from slum clearance fifty years ago, and for decades now has been a trendy, sought after, rather Bohemian part of town with streets of back to back Victorian terraces and an eclectic population of longterm residents, families, academics, students and artisans. I had no trouble in finding talented locals who wanted to take part.

market2The pub has a walled garden that was perfect for a pop up market and was already decked out with rope lights and lanterns. I added a few festive touches – such as additional battery powered lights and Christmas baubles hanging from the cherry tree in the middle – and lined the edge of the courtyard with trestle tables. The locals pulled out all the stops spreading the word through Facebook and email to their contacts and delivering flyers during the week before the event.

Then the good old British weather struck! The day before the event it took a nasty turn and heavy rain swept in out of nowhere. It was a risk but I decided to postpone the market to the following Saturday and pray for dry weather. Once again the local community pulled together and helped to re-advertise the change of date. The gods were with us and the day of the Market dawned drab but dry.

My biggest fear was that no-one would come but a steady stream of visitors filled the market all afternoon…

The pub provided mulled wine and sold out of bratwurst mid-afternoon. There was a wonderful array of stalls: Caroline‘s evocative black and white photographs, Rhian‘s beautiful silver jewellery and Rosalind‘s colourful ceramics to name just a few…

market14Locals Mike and architect Paul brought along cosy hats and socks made from Yak wool and intricate hand-drawn panoramas of Oxford. Paul and Ali (aka The Landlord) had been working on creating a new pickle and launched Winner’s vodka pickles on the day!  Obviously Chalky Chic had a stall and I also sold  prints wearing my Pip Art hat. Olivia and Dare by Arlete brought along their colourful bags and accessories, Rachel (and helpers) sold her unique chilli jam, Jonathan’s eclectic stall of collectibles had some very intriguing pieces – such as a Belgian gas mask complete with instructions – whilst Jill had a lovely display of Christmas decorations and Maria of Indigo Flip sold handmade decorations and cards.

The afternoon flew past, and with the effort and support of the local community proved to be a really enjoyable event. In fact, as some of us gathered for a drink at the end of the day, all agreed that the Harcourt Arms Pop Up Market should become a regular event so watch this space…

Going To Market

My first flea market was a cautious success – I sold one item of painted furniture, a vintage board game, some fabric off-cuts and a bunch of old 78 rpm records – but then I have nothing to gauge this against.

I guess I should be pleased that I even broke even on my first trip to market, let alone made a healthy profit!

I shared the stall with fellow furniture painter Indigo Flip who was a first-timer too. There was a steady footfall throughout the day although regular traders commented on how quiet it was. Another furniture painter there said that she normally cleans up at these monthly markets so it would seem that perseverance is the key here. Next time I will be better prepared and now that I know the stall’s limitations of can plan my staging in advance.

The most promising encounter of the day happened before I’d even finished setting out my stall when a fellow trader asked me the price for my entire stock…

As it happens he felt my price was too high for him to make a profit selling on, but I’m glad I stuck to my guns as it proved that there is a market for my work.