Although it’s not only exclusive to budding businesses, weekend markets make for a great venue to take your entrepreneurial skills out for a test drive.
Why not? I mean, weekend markets are great places to showcase your products in a trendy consumer-centric setting, allowing you to directly get feedback from customers and gain exposure for your brand, and at the same time find out how your products fare against other businesses in the venue.
And since weekend markets are mostly done during weekends (of course), it gives flexibility to business owners who don’t have the financial resources to rent out a place for longer periods and subsequently having to build a physical store, instead allowing them to pay for rent only during weekends when consumers are out and about.
Is it worth the rent at weekend markets?
My friend Nonie who’s thinking of finally starting her own fashion business invited me to take a day out of our busy schedules. Explore around weekend markets to see just how these small to medium enterprises are faring at weekend markets.
If you are on the same boat as my friend, the first question that could be popping out of your heads right now is, is it really worth the cost of rent to set-up your own booths at weekend markets?
This weekend we went to Katipunan Weekend Market at Capitol Commons in Pasig to talk to business owners and find out what they have to say about this nagging question – not only did we get to satisfy this question, we were also inspired by the stories of these business owners.
The Rent: Php3,500 for the whole 2-day weekend at Capitol Commons
Event organizer Nadine Bautista mentioned that Katipunan Weekend Market does not permanently ‘reside’ in a single location, hence, the rent varies. For those who are interested, you may visit KatipunanWeekendMarket.com for schedule and pricing.
Stephanie Shi of Midori Matcha Puddings
After exiting from her day job at Summit Media where she writes for no less than Cosmo.ph and other big online mags, writer Stephanie Shi went on to continue her writing career as a freelancer.
She then went on and planned to attend graduate school, but had to abruptly change plans due to some health concerns. This was then the turning point where she just decided to finally create her own business.
“I just started this business two weeks ago, and so far business is doing great. Last week I profited in a really bad weather (at an outdoor market), so yes I think the rent is worth it", Stephanie said.
The idea behind her Matcha product is pretty straightforward: she’s in love with Matcha tea and since it’s a growing trend right now, she decided to cash in on the rave. She also decided to take this plunge into the food business because it is a consumable product, and “customers will keep coming back, not like, for example, jewelries that you only buy once".
She sources the raw materials and ingredients from suppliers and makes the puddings herself to ensure the quality of her Matcha puddings, and aside from making puddings on weekdays, she also continues to do freelance writing because, as Stephanie mentioned, “if this (business) doesn’t do well, at least I’m still earning through my freelancing".
Stephanie’s also planning to set up her own physical shop, but it depends on the success of her Matcha puddings at weekend markets.
Stephanie can be contacted at Midori Matcha Pudding’s Instagram account @midoriph or via mobile at +639178666008.
Jeia Merioles of Likhaeria
Jeia, my friends, is a great example of a passion pursuer.
Twenty-four year old Jeia discovered her love of dreamcatchers when she went on a trip to Palawan and learned the art of making them – she then used that passion for dreamcatchers to finally start her own business.
After leaving her contractual day job which she grew tired of, she geared her focus to her online store, Likhaeria.com, selling her handmade crafts (mainly dreamcatchers) and other accessories.
She has been in the business of selling her crafts for almost two years now, and since then she has started to set up booths at weekend markets, mainly to get her brand some good exposure.
“This is my seventh time joining weekend markets. In the past events that I’ve attended, about half of them I was able to make a profit, and the rest it’s breakeven. I still earn more from my online shop than from my booths at these markets. But it’s not stopping me because my goal is to get exposure for my brand", said Jeia.
She also mentioned that her goal was not only to make money from her business, but also to pursue her passion of creating dreamcatchers and sharing it to others. “I created these crafts by my own since I wanted to make sure that the crafts I sell are of great quality, and it is very close to my heart since it always reminds me of when I was young and how my mom who’s a dressmaker would always teach me how to create. One great thing I learned from my mom is on how to make your craft as detailed as possible."
Iven Go of Bulul Brewery
Iven’s idea of brewing his own craft beer came after an overproduction of drinking water from his own water refilling station.
Great idea, actually, considering all those extra clean water will just go unused. It’s also inspiring how he took advantage of his resourcefulness, researching online on how to brew his own beer from malted wheat and barley, and applying them on his own.
Iven first sourced ingredients and equipment from the US, but when the raw materials were all used up, he then made his own malted wheat straight from his kitchen. “My wife would always complain about the smell of malt whenever I cook them up from our oven", quips Iven.
Bulul Brewery has been in business for three years now, brewing beer on weekdays and then setting up shop at weekend markets. Business has been good for him, and Iven already has his own Pampanga-based micro plant that’s in the works.
“I’ve already profited enough to cover the rent for today and tomorrow", Iven said, adding “I think I’ve brewed enough beer that will cover my inventory for the rest of the weekend".
In the last bazaar that Bulul Brewery had attended, Ivan managed to sell-out all 5 kegs of craft beer. He sells them for PHP 100 per mug during regular hours, and he also has “happy hours", selling beers for PHP 80 from morning ‘til 4:20PM.
When in outdoor bazaars, Iven also sells food and pulutan, but now that he’s done indoor markets where cooking up food is not allowed, he realized that he profits so much better when focusing on selling his craft beer that when selling food on the side. “I think it is so much better just focusing on my craft beer. That way I don’t have to cook and think about food logistics", he added.
When asked if renting booths at weekend markets are worth it, Iven agreed with no doubt. But he also mentioned that it still depends on the price of rent. The PHP 3,500 rent at Katipunan Weekend Market is reasonable, but skyrocketing rent prices at other bazaars may not be worth it at all.
Denise Lunod of Simone’s Closet
Single mom Denise Lunod worked in the advertising industry before deciding to become an entrepreneur herself and created Simone’s Closet.
Since 2011 they have been successfully participating in three to five bazaars each month, and at the same time Denise doubles as a home-based copywriter, her part-time job. My part-time job is simple, actually, so it doesn’t feel like work at all", Denise expressed, adding “Besides, it is a great addition to my income".
When asked if she thinks her income from her clothing business would be enough in case she decides to quit her part time job, Denise’s feedback was a resounding “Yes".
Simone’s closet started out selling purely accessories, and as her business grew, she decided to create her own Bohemian inspired clothing line in addition to her already marketable accessories.
Denise does it all – from the product design, marketing, logistics, and even modeling as herself during pictorials, and everything in between.
One thing that she’s proud of is the uniqueness of her Boho style clothing, since she designs her own apparel that can’t be found anywhere else.
Her designs are so unique that she only produces around 2 to a few batches per design, and she creates new designs each month.
She credits her business success and her massive following on Instagram and offline to the distinctiveness of her products.
“Almost every time we attend weekend bazaars, we get even more than what we paid for the rent, and I think this is because whichever booth customers may look at, they still end up buying from Simone’s closet because our products are remarkable. We cater to a niche market that is Boho style and at the same time we don’t compromise on the materials we use, so our regular clients and social media followers continue to buy from us and look for us at bazaars." Denise quipped.
Now most RTW re-sellers would beg to disagree and argue that re-selling RTWs are still easier and faster because of lower costs and faster turnover, which is reasonable, but Denise is on to something bigger – she is building her own brand.
Denise through her business also acts like a mini-charity, targeting to provide livelihood to less privileged communities in the near future, but for now her business provides livelihood to seven people with five seamstresses, and a mother-daughter tandem who makes her signature accessories.
During her five year streak in the business, Denise’s clothing line has already caught the attention of the big names in the industry which resulted to a fruitful exposure for her brand, including a collaboration with Preview Magazine and a consignment deal with Zalora Philippines.
There are also two international companies that have already expressed interest to export her accessories. The only thing is Simone’s closet currently does not have the resources and manpower to meet the demand. Talk about having a ‘good’ problem!
For Simone’s Closet, things are only looking good from here. She has more exciting plans up her sleeves including a push for a global expansion to cater to Pinoys abroad.
When asked if she recommends aspiring wantrepreneurs to take the plunge, Denise says, “Yes, I think so. It’s given that there will be left and right competition especially with mainstream designs, so try to capture a new niche market. And it will all be better if you create your own distinct style."
So, is it worth the rent at weekend markets?
Different stories make for different perspectives. Bottom line is, it depends on the product, rent, location, and target market.
Let’s say the rent would be around Php 3,500 for 2 days, it’s reasonable enough to encourage wantrepreneurs to finally try their hands at entrepreneurship, especially when you factor in the benefits of participating at temporary bazaars/weekend markets:
- Gain exposure for your brand / product
- Interact with and get feedback directly from customers who are into weekend markets, and hear from their stories and on what they have to say about your products.
- Almost instantly find out how your business and products are doing compared to other booths who cater to the same market
- It offers flexibility and allows store owners to rent temporarily and not commit to a long term lease – this way the risk of starting a business is already minimized
Best practices by entrepreneurs for “wantrepreneurs"
The inspiring entrepreneurs we met at Katipunan Weekend Market last week may have different line of businesses, buy they share the same ideals in their business practices:
- Be original. Have your own unique products to sell. This builds name for your brand, at the same time you can sell more of your products if you have something special to offer.
- Make your own (or with the help of others). Especially true in the baby stages of your business, you need to do everything on your own at first to ensure that you know all the ropes of your business. Not only that – making your product yourself ensures the third item in this list.
- Never compromise on quality, because this can make or break your business.
It is worth mentioning that above tips are for those who plan to rent at high-end weekend markets or bazaars where self-starter booths with unique products to sell are more appreciated by clients.
The business case may be different for those who plan on renting at tiangges, where people expect more of a bang for their buck (regardless if the product is unique or not) instead of a more expensive but unique product.
Have you tried showcasing your business at a weekend market? How was it? Feel free to comment below, share your tips, or ask a question. Please feel free to share this with your friends, and also like me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks!