So we figured we would start with a heads up on where we are and the mood at Crown & Country HQ.
Are main business since setting up Crown & Country Vintage has been running handmade and vintage markets and for the last two Christmases we have run one at the Longfield Suite in Prestwich.
We love planning and styling markets and meeting all the great people, even thought they are a lot of hard work and they can be hard to make work financially as well. The main reason for this being the little thing called the “Market License”, many people don’t know about this (we didn’t when we started out a few years ago) and it can catch people out.
Bury Council (our local council) is one of the highest priced in the country, for a market of 5 - 30 stalls (no matter if you only have 10) it is £300 then £8 a stall after that. While we think a market license is a good thing, it just seems like a very steep price to pay, they say it is to stop rival markets from operating (the law is from 1290 or something like that) can’t personally see how a vintage and handmade market is competition for a council market but they have the sole right to run markets in that area.
When you factor in insurance, room rental, promotion, staff costs and your time its hard to make it work. And we always wonder how organisers can charge £15-£20 for stalls, its so hard on other companies or smaller markets.
The government talks a lot about bringing the independent high street back and this is something we really care about which is why we are organising a local food festival in 2012 in Prestwich to celebrate local food and business. The license though can really work against these sorts of events, many councils in places like London don’t charge for the license as they would rather encourage people finding ways to celebrate the local community. Its a shame but that is how it is.
We are going to be talking about some other issues about running Markets in Part 2 which should be up soon.