I took on the mum2mum market franchise for Chelmsford and Billericay around 18 months ago after taking voluntary redundancy from my job as a librarian when I was on maternity leave. I've run 16 sales now and each one has been better than the last!
Running the sales fits really well around family life. After I've dropped my son off at school I'll then usually pop out to promote the sales in the local area, dropping flyers at nurseries, asking businesses to display posters or visiting toddler groups, my youngest comes along with me if she isn't in preschool. While my little girl has her nap I deal with my emails, usually there will be some bookings I'll need to confirm and some questions to answer. I then check the Facebook page and deal with any enquiries there, I usually schedule most posts in advance to make things easier. I'll then get on with my other admin tasks like creating the newsletter, liaising with my venues or contacting businesses about promotional opportunities.
Sale days are really busy but great fun! I'll start by loading the car with everything I need, clothes rails, goodie bags, paperwork, tea and coffee making bits and then I'll head to the venue. I usually get there about half an hour before the sellers to set up, once the sellers start to arrive I greet them and show them where they need to be.
Just before opening I have a last walk round the hall to make sure the aisles are clear.
Once the doors are open the first hour is really busy as I greet people and deal with the money, when things quieten down a bit I have a walk round to see how the sellers are getting on and take some pictures for social media. When the sale ends I tidy away my things and give the sellers a hand with theirs, it always amazes me how quickly the hall changes from bursting with bargains and people back to empty tables!
Running the sales have made great use of my organisational skills but I have had to learn a few things. I was fairly new to social media when I started and it's really key to this businesses, but now that I've got the hang of it I really enjoy that side of things. At the early sales I was terrified no one would show up but that fear really keeps you motivated, my hard work has meant that it's never happened and my last sale attracted over 300 buyers.
I've had great support from our HQ, both initial support when I first joined in the form of the comprehensive manual, all the practical things I needed like my banner and answering my questions and on going support when I've wanted to make changes. HQ also manages the centralised booking system which means it's really easy for people to book stalls at the sales. One of the most helpful things is the other franchises, we have a group where we can discuss all aspects of the markets and everyone is really helpful, if you have a problem the chances are that someone's had it before and can help you out!
At my early sales I had around 20 stalls but as my markets were selling out a month in advance with long waiting lists I decided to expand my last sale and had 45 stalls, I sold them all and so plan to continue to offer an increased number of stalls.
I love running the sales, I get to meet lots of people, shop for my own kids (making sure I don't spend all my profits!) and make money but what I like best is that everyone benefits, stall holders make money, buyers save money so it's a win win for everyone.
To find out more about a mum2mum market franchise visit www.mum2mummarket.co.uk/franchise
You can find Josie's upcoming events HERE and follow the Mum2mum market East London and Essex Facebook page here