Say good­bye to mar­kets sell­ing the same old stuff

Ar­ti­san stalls rekin­dle the joy of brows­ing, writes Re­nata Gor­tan

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - For more in­for­ma­tion see lo­cal­mar­ket­

Brows­ing mar­ket stalls is a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence to walk­ing into a shop­ping cen­tre, but both op­tions can spark deja vu. Just as every sub­ur­ban mall has the same fast fash­ion stores, many mar­kets of­fer the same wares, whether you’re in Narrabeen or Narel­lan.

But this is slowly chang­ing as mar­kets re­fine their fo­cus and cater to their lo­cal de­mo­graphic.

The Lo­cal Mar­ket Guide Di­rec­tory’s Ed­wina Volz be­lieves an ex­cit­ing lo­cal mar­ket is a sign of a vi­brant com­mu­nity.

“Mar­kets bring life into com­mu­ni­ties; they of­fer some­thing unique and a place for peo­ple to come to­gether,” she says.

“You get to shop lo­cally and talk to the per­son who made some­thing they be­lieve in.”

Volz says a good mar­ket gives shop­pers some­thing new and ar­ti­sans the op­por­tu­nity to see if they have the mak­ings of a vi­able busi­ness.

“It’s a low-cost, low-risk plat­form for small busi­nesses. Not only do they get ex­po­sure, they’re also able to trial their prod­ucts and get feed­back from cus­tomers be­fore tak­ing it to a whole­sale level,” Volz says. “Com­pa­nies like Pepe Saya but­ter and Brasserie Bread started out as mar­ket stalls and now they’re stocked in su­per­mar­kets.”

Volz says she cre­ated the Mar­kets In May cam­paign (see box) to high­light the tal­ents of ar­ti­sans and pro­duc­ers who show­case their wares at mar­kets. Over the

next month, mar­kets will be of­fer­ing ex­tra ac­tiv­i­ties such as work­shops, farm­ers’ talks and food demon­stra­tions.

“We want peo­ple to know that mar­kets don’t just give you ac­cess to the pro­ducer, but also ac­cess to a wealth of knowl­edge, like col­lectable eval­u­a­tions at Rozelle mar­kets and work­shops on tra­di­tional spear-mak­ing at Blak Mar­ket.”

The Mak­ers And Shak­ers (the­mak­er­sand­shak­ is a new, bian­nual home­wares mar­ket held at Mar­rickville Town Hall, founded by Emma Mor­ris, who also runs the pop­u­lar Round She Goes vin­tage cloth­ing mar­kets.

The first one was held this month, with an­other to come later in the year.

“Peo­ple would tell me there was a need for an equiv­a­lent ar­ti­san mar­ket and I felt the same way,” says Mor­ris. “We’re avoid­ing the C-word — craft. It’s more of a cu­rated re­tail event,” she says.

With a thriv­ing artists’ scene in Mar­rickville, the first mar­ket of­fered ce­ram­ics, screen print­ing, cush­ions and hand­made lamps.

“It was all very lo­cal and in­ner-west based,” Mor­ris says. “The main fo­cus is on food and home­wares, things you can’t buy in a shop­ping mall. What I liked was that a lot of the stall­hold­ers were first timers who haven’t typ­i­cally sold at mar­kets and that’s what we wanted. We didn’t want those who do every mar­ket every week­end.”

(Clock­wise from main) Brows­ing at The Rocks Mar­kets; a Pepe Saya stall for Mar­kets In May; an ar­ti­san stall holder at the Rocks; the Around She Goes vin­tage cloth­ing mar­ket in Mar­rickville. Main pic­ture: Carly Earl

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