Starting a business can be a daunting process, so joining others who are on a similar journey brings a sense of community. The Tauranga Business Chamber spoke with Millie Guest, Marketing Manager for The Little Big Markets, to uncover the advantages of belonging to a market, and the opportunities it brings for business growth.
Markets cater for all types of small business and side hustles, which is why they’re a great option when you’re getting a business off the ground. From art, to food, to jewellery and everything in between, there are five key benefits of taking a spot up alongside other vendors, says Millie.
1. Real-time feedback from your target audience
Face-to-face interactions in our very digital world are a valuable aspect of markets. Customers can see and feel your product and provide on-the-spot feedback. There’s also the opportunity to observe non-verbal cues and body language as customers interact with both you and your products.
2. Build a loyal following
Due to the regular schedule of markets, customers often visit time and time again, so there’s a chance to recognise familiar faces and start to build a relationship. Even if people are not ready to purchase, there’s still a chance to interact with them and build awareness of your brand.
3. Manage expenses
Being part of a market community means that you can capitalise on the impact of the larger, well-known brand of the organisation. This can include offers such as vendor profiles on the organisation’s social media, features in newsletters, and a listing in a vendor directory.
4. Room to grow and scale
Markets are one of the more efficient ways to scale a business that’s just starting out. They provide a steady stream of new and recurring customers and offer a relatively low-risk opportunity to try new products. A few local businesses who began their journey at The Little Big Markets include Pepper & Me, Mount Made Ice Cream, Johney’s Dumplings, Spongedrop, Noxen, and JS Ceramics.
5. Building a community
As the saying goes, ‘it takes a village’, and this is particularly true when you have a small business. Being surrounded by other vendors who are at a similar stage in their business journey helps to build a community of support. There is real-life experience on hand, as well as shoulders to lean on in challenging times.
“At The Little Big Markets, our vision has always been to create more than just a craft and food market. We set out to build a vibrant community hub that nurtures small businesses and weaves itself into the social fabric of our local community. Our market is more than just a place to buy and sell; it’s a connection point where people gather, celebrate creativity, and forge lasting relationships. We are proud to have created a space that fosters a sense of belonging and truly connects people to a place they can call their own.”
Rachelle and Christopher Duffy, Founders
Established in the summer of 2009, The Little Big Markets bring together communities through artisan craft and food. With close to 3000 market stall vendors, the markets operate throughout the year, providing a gathering place for small businesses to connect with customers, with a sense of community and family-friendly entertainment. In a similar way, the Our Place magazine celebrates the Bay of Plenty and champions its locals, with its content all connected by the theme of community.