Friday, 6 January 2012

Starfish Quay - A Year In The Making! 2011 - The year it all started!

After making different products and trying to develop products we thought would sell, we joined Etsy ( on 14 April 2011. It took quite a while after that to photograph and list our early products, but we got going and decided to try a few local markets. Unfortunately, there are no good markets in Exeter (except a Farmers Market on a Thursday - which is just food) so we had to look around. Totnes was probably closest, but the market is full and the waiting list closed. We looked for other markets around Devon, there are lots of pannier markets, so we tried Barnstaple. The above photo is of our first real market. We had done a couple of summer markets at Porthleven in Cornwall, a delightful little market and well worth a visit if you're holidaying in Cornwall ( They have events throughout the year, and it's a great location! Alas, for us it was too far to travel to make it viable in terms of business. Barnstaple Market turned out not to be the right type of market for our products, selling mostly day to day household items rather than craft or arts products.

We then did a few weeks at Croyde Bay market which runs throughout the summer. This was a lot more successful than Barnstaple Pannier Market for our products - even though a lot of the products were similar to that of Barnstaple Market, the location (above - right next to Croyde beach) and sunny weather helped people get in the holiday spirit and want to take souvenirs home to family and friends. As we were local, making products found from the surrounding beaches, our products flew out and our confidence grew. This was the start of us really thinking this could become more than a hobby, and we started researching a more serious way to sell our products. Throughout the first markets, we were continually adding items to Etsy, taking better photos and reworking the descriptions, and were getting a few sales. Our serious options for a reasonably stable, profitable income would still be at markets since they represent an opportunity to trade with low overheads and full design capability. After much research we discovered our best option for a market was Bristol Nails Market.
We have been trading fairly regularly at Bristol Nails market since August, mostly Saturdays, with the odd Friday. We really enjoy trading at Bristol, since we used to live there we know it well! We will continue to trade at Bristol most Saturdays throughout 2012, as often as we can get a spot! We have also done two markets at Camden Lock Market - a long way to travel! Was it worth it? No! The first time was at the beginning of October and was reasonable successful. The guys running it were helpful and even gave me money off the price of the stall because they liked our products. It made it worth my while - the 5 hours travelling each direction - however, the second time - the week before Christmas was a disaster! It was the first time in the entire year we actually lost money. There were no people there, and to make it worse the price of the stall had gone up to £50 (for Christmas!) - which no-one felt the need to tell us. Not as helpful this time, and the last time we will bother to venture there. I would caution any trader who does not live within London about trading there, it's very fickle!

For the rest of December we traded at our familiar Bristol - absolutely worth a visit for handmade, local, or quirky items ( and different foods from around the world! It was the perfect chance to get our  Christmas range out there, which we were please to note went down well - especially as we had only been trading 'outside' since June :)

During the week before Christmas, we also traded for two days at Hestercombe Christmas Craft market. It's a lovely little market, in a great location. They had an ice-rink, Santa and many activities for families throughout December. It's worth a visit all year round though, set in lovely grounds for a fabulous walk, see for yourself at

We spent the 23rd and 24th December at Bristol Nails market in the torrential rain storms and wind! It was still fun and we look forward to 2012!
Hope you all had a great Christmas, and that 2012 will help you fulfill your dreams, aspirations and goals. Thank you to all our customers and supporters - we look forward to seeing you all again!

Starfish Quay

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