London’s Markets – we don’t mean the virtual ones that exist on computer screens in Canary Wharf and hear about on the news. We’re talking some of the most vibrant and interesting street retail you’ll find anywhere in the world. There’s something stirring for the soul in taking a wander down a London Street on Market Day. There’s also a strong chance you’ll come away with something you hadn’t expected to buy – as well as a bargain or two of the things you did go for.
But have you ever thought about the logistics of being a Market Trader? You need a Van, the framework for your stall, at least one license for a pitch – and of course somewhere to keep all your stock. So how do London’s Markets stack up…
When we covered Camden Market as a destination on our recent Days out in London blog we got to thinking. How many markets does London have? A good starting point is Wikipedia’s list of Markets in London – but then you run into a problem – there are many types of market – from street to the more corporate. The aforementioned Camden Markets are a 7 day a week static arrangement. Then there are the big and famous large scale food markets – such as Billingsgate (for fish), Smithfield (meat) and Spitalfields (originally food, but now fashion, art, design and vintage).
Far more intriguing are the smaller, Street Markets stalls – such as can be found at Elephant and Castle near our Southwark store or places like Portobello Road.
But what does it take to operate as a Market Trader in London?
Firstly – almost certainly – you’ll need some form of Street Trading license. It sets out the conditions that you’ll need to comply with to use the street as your retail space. This will usually stipulate the minimum number of trading days, opening hours and other environmental considerations such as waste management and thoroughfare.
Then you’re going to need a vehicle capable of transporting all your stock and stall, plus somewhere to park it and/or permission to park it. In terms of Market Trading – an Englishman’s Van is his Castle.
There’s clothing for you – if you’re working outside you’re going to need a Wardrobe that can cope with everything the British Weather has to throw at you – from -5ºC in the Winter to +30ºC during a sultry London July. Plus of course some serious waterproofs for those days of torrential rain that we all like to moan about so much.
There’s stock for your customers – unless you own a secure compound with MI5 level security – you probably won’t want to risk leaving all your valuable stock in the van overnight. Which means you’ll need a place to unload it to when it isn’t on the stall. You could choose a Del Boy style lock-up that you rent. But you can’t always be sure that’s any more secure than the Van. Plus – you’ll pay for every square foot – even if you’ve had an outstanding day and you’ve shifted all your stock.
We can offer an alternative. On of our storage units is as a secure a space as you’ll find in London – and you can expand and contract the amount of space you’re renting as you need to. If you’re a Market Trader, our business bundle is the perfect starting point for your storage needs.