In the run-up to the day, I was most panicked about not being panicked. I had the application deadline so early, that I knew what all the sellers needed and all their information so my planning and all the information I needed was collected and at my fingertips. The venue was also sorted with enough time, Joe – the manager – and I, were able to source tables and plan things with the lowest costs. The funding application was now just at the stage where it needed to be tweaked. All the stallholders and performers knew from a week before the launch, what time to come in, where their table was, I even covered local parking. Tickets were being bought on the daily and I had promoted online, print, and in person as a guest speaker at local events.
The night before, I made sure I had my card machine charged, I had my change box for cash, a raffle book, pens and notebooks to mark down how many tickets I sold on the door, and a clothes rail as requested by one of the stallholders. Getting a bus in the morning, I was joined by Arri – my trusted companion on this venture – on our way to arrive at The Actors for 9:30am. Which we did so on-the-dot.
The tables had been roughly set up by Joe the day before, to the floor plans I had sent out a week prior. He had also got us a load of black material to put on the tables to cover anything put under the tables by stallholders, particularly the ones who might not have their own table dressing. As Arri got on to cutting, laying and taping the material to the table, Joe set up the stage for the performances that were to come, and I vacuumed the floors and hung the signs outside.
I had told the stallholders to arrive between 10am and 10:30, arriving promptly, everyone got to getting themselves set-up. By the time we opened the doors to the public, all but 2 stallholders had arrived and set up, the displays looked professional, from sellers who did this full time, to younger sellers starting-up. The room was already abuzz with excited conversation and connections being made. Unfortunately, we had two people who weren’t able to make it, but luckily, the nearby tables had extra inventory so we were able to cover any empty spaces.
As I walked around, I met people who I had been chatting to online for months, it was so good to put names and artistries to faces. Some of the pieces that had been made, crocheted, stitched, painted, tailored, mixed, concocted, written, it all just had me in awe, actually, a mixture of awe and excitement. I was starting to see a bigger a picture; what Black Brighton Market could do for my community, the potential it has and the places It could go – both on and offline.
As 1pm came about, it was time for the first performance, we had Relax & Bake FM doing a DJ set for an hour, and then we had Adam Kyron performing for 15 minutes. As the market was on the top floor of The Actors, and it was split into two rooms, I had asked Joe if he could wire up a speaker to the Light Room, as the performances were to be held in the Theatre, that way, the other stallholders, and perusing customers could enjoy.
It was at this point I had clocked my first oversight; I had sent out a day schedule to all of the stallholders, performers and organisers, but not to the public or ticket buyers. I only had the opportunity to tell on-the-door buyers what time the performance and raffle was. My second oversight in conjunction with that, is that maybe this part of the day could be a little later, as not all ticket buyers had an opportunity to win anything in the raffle or watch the show. By putting the performances at midday, I thought it would entice more people to come through early – but I forgot to publicly post the day’s plan. I had also made the decision that the raffle entries would have to be there, at the draw to win, or a different number will be drawn. I’ve decided this because, when I used to do raffles at my market stall when I sold handmade jewellery at the open market, it was a lot of work to try and call/text sometimes even post something that is just supposed to be a bit of fun for the day.
So be sure that a plan for the day will be posted for the market in November Saturday 5th, and if you want to win from the raffle, you got to be at the market at time of draw.
Everyone that did see Adam Kyron’s performance, and won something for the raffle very much enjoyed that part of the day. What I also realised and really enjoyed myself; was how many different types of people came to the market, there were students, locals, families, couples, solo-trippers, professionals, people of all ages and backgrounds, and a lot of people I didn’t know, which meant, people where hearing about it and sharing it.
As the day proceeded, Arri had to leave and I had another friend – Gabi – who was so wonderful to volunteer and help me the rest of the day. The public were ebbing and flowing throughout the day and Omar my photographer, was catching it all. I myself was bouncing from meeting stallholders, to meeting other members of my community who had come to support, to passing out information for future potential performers and stallholders. As the day edged to 6pm, the buyers started teetering out, and some stallholders had to pack up to either get an early night for their day job, or get back up to London. I had initially planned to have the market go on to 7pm for people who might finish work late and close by, but it seemed that by 6 o’clock it was quiet enough – and individual had either hit their target or gone well over – there was no guilty feeling in packing up a little early. I will continue to have the market till 7 for now; It’s still new and it might be the case, that near Christmas time, it would be good to let buyers and stallholders the opportunity of that extra hour.
As I said my goodbyes to everyone, I was met with thank you gift bags and beaming, smiling faces, some had run out of stock, some had exceeded any profits made at any other market this year, and all were excited to see where Black Brighton Market might be heading, almost as excited as me!
I want to say, a huge thank you to Arrianne, who has helped me, motivated me, been my soundboard and my number one cheerleader throughout this entire process. I want to say thank you to Jenni at Culture ConneX for your extensive and thorough work in your help with the funding application, it’s one of the most anxious things I’ve had to do and you took so much of that off this entire process, I probably would have not done it at all without your help. Thank you to Joe and the whole team at The Actors for all of your support and help setting up and being (one of) the most hospitable venues I have ever worked with in Brighton so far. Thank you to all of the stallholders and performers for professionalism and beautiful creative minds, thank you to all that came and helped, bought and supported on the day. Thank you all so much, your efforts, passion, love and care are all seen and welcomed with open arms, Love, Jade x
For pictures from the launch, go to the Black Brighton Market page.
Aghh Zine – Zine & Prints
Artintextilez – Handmade clothes, Accessories & Home
BARCO – Tees & Totes
Bath Lux London – Bath Luxuries
Bea’s Studio – Crochet accessories, home and toys
Candle Queen – Handmade Candles
Epifhani – Bespoke Clothes & Accessories
Goki – Jewellery, Candles & Cosmetics
Lit Wicks London – Handmade Candles
Nalo Solo – Prints & Cards
Sewphia – Bespoke, Tailored clothing & accessories
Studio Susuana – Prints & Stickers
Adam Kyron – Singer & Rapper
Relax & Bake FM – DJ set
Lokeba – CDs
Nelson Navarro – CD’s & Merchandise
Pink Islands Collective – Event tickets
Photographer: Omar Sultan