Craft Fair: Byres Road Makers Market, Glasgow
Reviewer: Mairi Armes from Folksy shop maram jewellery
Dates: Saturday 9th November
Venue: Hillhead Library, Byres Road, Glasgow
Cost of stall: £32
Crowd: A good varied mix of ages, everyone from students to families
The Byres Road Makers Market takes place in the heart of Glasgow’s West End, known for its quirky shops, fantastic coffee shops, restaurants and bars, as well as the location of the city’s Botanic Gardens and Glasgow University. The market takes place monthly and is run by The Makers Market who organise monthly fairs in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and seasonal fairs in St Andrews, Portobello, and other locations.
It takes place in Hillhead Library, right in the middle of Byres Road in a large room upstairs. Access is by stairs only, but that didn’t stop prams and buggies from getting in – probably because Glasgow is so friendly that everyone stops to help! The hall itself is a brilliant example of 70s decor with beautiful foil wallpaper and zig-zaggy carpets. Unfortunately, the room colours are brown and orange, not the best for a bright and breezy look, especially when matched with strip lighting and partially obscured windows. So lighting wasn’t ideal, but most of the stalls appeared bright either because of colourful stock or their own additional lighting. My stall didn’t have lighting, but I just about got away with it by having a colourful display.
Customers throughout the day ranged from families, students, and friends meeting up. There were shoppers in all age groups. The weather was on our side too – it was a typical Glasgow rainy day, so plenty of people were coming in to shelter. Like most markets, almost all stall holders were buying from one another. I bought two beautiful ceramic buttons from Laura Wilson Designs, as well as lots of chocolate from thenakedchocolatier who was opposite me. Folksy seller Alison from AliBali, who is a seasoned market regular, was also there.
Sales-wise, there was a steady stream of customers, with purchases happening throughout the day. My best sellers were definitely my lower-priced items, such as small beaded necklaces and my ‘make your own’ kits (my market staple where I purge my huge collection of beads into small craft kits so that I can justify buying more!). Lots of cards were handed out and taken, but in general Glasgow wasn’t quite ready to start full-on Christmas shopping, so it was mostly small stocking fillers.
The Makers Market run a very slick craft market operation. I booked this market back in January, as spaces fill up fairly quickly, and they limit the numbers of certain crafts to ensure variety. A few days before the event, they send an email confirming everything you need to know, and on the day the organisation was perfect. One thing to note is that because it’s on a busy main road, it’s quite difficult to unload close to the venue, so you need to unload quickly and then find somewhere to park, or arrange a lift from someone to get your stock there (that’s what I did). The Byres Road area is very well served by buses and the underground, so people tend to avoid driving there and rely on public transport instead. On arrival you’re given your table number, and given around an hour to set up, then it’s all systems go until 4pm. Advertising is good too – they have a very active Facebook page and design posters for us to share via social media the week before. Outside the building, they have a few fairly large banners and signs with directions, which makes it very easy for people to find the market.
I had an excellent time selling at the Byres Road Market, and would consider doing it again at some point in the future. The regular sellers who are there every month appear to be doing well, and I think booking a few months together would be beneficial because customers come back month after month to see what’s new. It’s a great way to test the waters of market selling and I would heartily recommend it. Would I do it again? Undecided, simply because I like to keep my weekends as family time, so I choose to do only a handful each year. However, the Makers Market will be my first post of call should I decide to do more.
Mairi Armes sells on Folksy as maram jewellery.
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