Say goodbye to markets selling the same old stuff
Artisan stalls rekindle the joy of browsing, writes Renata Gortan
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 (themakersandshakers.com) 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