5 years trading at St George’s Market
How time flies and lives change. 5 years ago today, as my wee brother celebrated a big birthday, I arrived at St George’s Market as a casual trader to sell a few photos and popart images of Belfast.
Arriving at the market very early on that first Sunday morning to queue as a casual trader for the first time, I was incredibly nervous. It was a BIG step for me, huge in fact, but I would never have guessed the journey of discovery it would take me on. Discovery of me and the inner entrepreneur I always wanted to be but never thought I actually had it in me. I thought I would be a civil servant for life. How things have changed!
Looking back on the journey, I have clearly been influenced by my parents and grandparents. My dad was a self employed businessman, having taken the leap in to self employment after working in Ards print works for many years. And both my grandfathers were market men. One sold fruit and veg in Newtownards, and the other worked on the market team at the enormously popular Bangor market in the 70’s. I have great memories as a child in the 70’s, going down to the market to see my granda and spending the morning enjoying the buzz of the very busy and thriving market community Bangor had back in the day. They were exciting times.
Although times have changed drastically for the Bangor market, St George’s in Belfast has gone from strength to strength. And I have completely fallen for its charms and the huge impact it has had on my own life and career.
Here I am 5 years later, working 3 days a week as a permanent market trader, having left my Civil Service job, and focussing on building my wee business and loving it.
I love designing (mostly in local coffee shops) and creating products. I love chatting to and having a laugh with my customers. I love spending the weekend with my market besties.
My market chums have been an awesome source of support and encouragement over the years. We look out for each other and have each others backs. It’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced in work before and it’s a total joy.
My product range has grown over the years, from little hand made cards and a few prints, to a totally banter filled collection of typographic designs. But it’s only since leaving the civil service 10 months ago have I had the time to move things on a bit.
This year I have completed a few commissions for bespoke designs, introduced stock in to Menarys in Lisburn and Larne. I have had customers order wedding favours to bring Norn Iron humour to their big day. And only this week I have introduced Banter tea towels (with more products in development) made by Ulster Weavers, that well known local brand who supply Harrods and the Royal Collection. So I’m in safe hands there!
Safely into my mid 40’s, I’ve learnt that it’s never too late to follow your heart and find your own way in life. And I’ve learnt that sometimes it takes a while to get there, but at any age, with the right idea and the right drive and motivation, it’s possible. Dreams can come true, so I’ll keep dreaming! I hope you do too!