I think saving my long winded thoughts for a blog post is most ideal, however, sitting down outside of the time when I’m most excited about something doesn’t seem as fun.
Here we go anyway!
2023 is giving us “WTF” vibes and I truly hate being the person who said “I told you so” but like… hi!
I said this in late 2022 that I was concerned with how the market industry would go going into the new year. Especially because the trends changed quite a bit for me in the retail area.
I’ve been thinking for ages now that there needs to be more of an experience at our events that draws people into our spaces. A lot of vendors trial new products and test their demographic at our events but I too have to test my events. I have to try new things, I have to do more and be different for every event.
I’m not a regular organizer, I’m a cool one. It goes without saying that I think I am anything BUT cool but I would be offended if someone said I was like every other organizer out there. No, this is not a business run solely off the profit and gains I could make. I don’t profit from these events at all.
Coming out of the family market, I had negative dollars.
Numerous vendors would have come out of the event making less than $600 and maybe a little bummed out about their outcome but they have products to sell after the fact. They have new connections made, they have potential new customers, they have data and knowledge about their products being liked in this area and at my events.
If they can’t find the value in that take away, then they’re not a real business owner. I don’t care. They’re not.
I come away with negative dollars from the Family Market and it is still one of my favourite markets if not THE favourite. The balance between vendor and customer experience has never been on par and at our previous events the balance had maybe been close. This time the shoppers were favoured based on their experience. I don’t recall a time ever where I had so many messages from customers after the fact who appreciated the event and our efforts. That's meaningful to me because I know those people will be back in the future.
When you give someone a valuable experience, they’re more than likely to become a loyal customer.
Which is why I put a lot of effort into my markets. So on days where profits aren’t as high, you can still walk away confident that the person who put on the event, did their best! Not everything can be blamed on the organizer and not everything should be blamed on the vendors.
This is where I get a bit kooky dooks and talk about my theories so just bear with me.
My personal belief is that markets are not getting slower because of the economic downturn. I think that's bologna.
People are still shopping! They’re spending impulsively, they’re spending a LOT. Consumer reports are free to read on the internet my friends. Big Box businesses aren’t hurting at all. In fact, they’re doing BETTER than pandemic times. You wanna know why??
Supporting small became a hot trend within our local communities during the pandemic because we were all collectively going through it together.
You would hear about Debbies shop down the road facing closure so you’d order every other day and pick up curbside. You got addicted to plants so you’d wait for live sales and then curbside those beautiful green babes on a monday morning. You got instant gratification by supporting small and you knew your dollars being spent were making a massive difference.
Fast forward to 2023. You don’t care about Debbies shop anymore. She’s allowed to be open, so she should be fine, right?
The world is LOUD again. We’re hearing about so much social injustice. Wars, politics etc. We’ve stopped listening to our local economy. We’re back to convenience shopping.
Sure, we support small shops here and there when we can but, we’re back to work. Life is busy. We don’t have time for live sales, curbside pick ups and small talk.
I know as a comparison that places like Old Navy saw a higher percentage in sales for full priced items in 2022. Which is wild because I don’t think I have ever paid full price for anything in ON.
You know who’s not struggling? Big Box brands. They’re thriving again.
So no, I don’t accept the excuse that people are spending less because they're not.
I’m not.. I’m spending more. Things are more expensive!
I see people traveling. That’s not cheap.
Still following along? Holy, you’re a gem.
My generation, the millennials, are the nostalgia generation. We’re going to go to markets no matter what! It might take a bit of extra advertising to get us there but we’re going.
The younger generations? They’re not going anywhere unless there's something in it for them. Unless there’s something cool. An experience.
Regular markets are not going to cut the mustard to the new shoppers or the younger crowd. Which is who we should be catering to.
Our current shoppers will outgrow us within a couple years. Market followers from 2017 are long gone. (Or sparse)
Much like a business with product words hard for market research, forecasting, insights, data and so on, I too have to envision the future of this brand based on all of this information.
Markets will not be what they once were and you’re either accepting that, or you're bitching about it and wasting time staying still instead of evolving.