This time last year I was vaguely aware of the concept of an “Online Market” as I’d popped into a couple on Facebook, run as events with small business sharing their wares on a chosen evening. They were few and far between and quite low key.
How innocent we all were in 2019…
The enduring lockdowns and social distancing measures brought by the events of 2020 have seen many in-person market events forced to cancel. This has been devastating for events teams, small businesses, entertainers, and food & drinks vendors alike, as well as removing a source of joy felt by local areas as these events took place.
Now, brace yourselves, I’m about to write the most overused word of April…
Following the announcement in March of a UK lockdown, business owners large and small were forced to pivot. Ick.
I still struggle to write the word now. My fond memories of the Friends cast fighting with a sofa have been beaten down by a barrage of overzealous business coaches on social media selling their solutions on the “best way to pivot” your business to cope with the crisis.
I digress only slightly…
As face-to-face markets and events had (almost) been wiped out for the year we had the choice of admitting defeat, downing tools and shutting up shop or finding a new way forward.
The new dawn of the Online Market was upon us.
What is an Online Market?
Firstly, and importantly, an online market is not a marketplace.
An online market brings together a range of sellers to showcase their wares.
They are often themed in some way, either by a geographical area, by occasion or festival, category of items sold or by a common set of values for the stallholders, such as being environmentally aware.
The Online Market will be hosted by the organiser(s) or their representatives, but buyers will purchase directly from the sellers’ own websites or marketplaces.
For the buyer, you can shop to your heart’s content while comfy and cosy on the sofa with a cuppa and a biscuit, or something more bubbly if preferred…
They are also a fantastic opportunity to discover and support small independent businesses and find beautiful items that just aren’t available anywhere else.
The Indie Roller Festive Showcase
Now, if you follow me on social media at all or are a member of my Insiders Club, you’ll already have heard me mention the Indie Roller Festive Showcase.
They have transformed their website into a platform to showcase the creativity of their members throughout October, November and December.
Indie Roller have arranged a full-on line-up of virtual events including themed mini-market nights, live stream shopping, craft-a-longs, secret collaborations and a full day online market extravaganza in November.
Every Thursday evening from 7-9pm there will be a themed mini market, as listed below. During those two hours there will be a feast of exciting goings on to discover, with each Indie sharing their own “secret sauce” for the event!
The first mini market took place last week (Indie Wearables) and I attended as a buyer.
There were 267 Indie Businesses taking part and it was a blast!
Some of my favourites were hosting lives as they talked through new collections launching on the night. I followed a craft-along session on making jewellery and stumbled across creatives I hadn’t seen before. I even followed the live stream shopping event for an hour on Strykin as Leona (of Indie Roller) chatted with a selection of makers talking about their work.
It was so much fun! I was buzzing with excitement throughout the event and into the next day. I can’t wait for the next one!
Keep an eye on #IndieRollerChristmas on Instagram to dip into everything that’s going on or check out the Facebook events (included in the list below) to follow news as it’s shared!
If all this sounds a little overwhelming, fear not!
For each mini-market a directory will be released including all of the Indie Businesses taking part, with a link to each of their own selling pages. (I will add a directory link for each of the markets to the list below as they become available).
There will also be a series of Gift Guides highlighting a few top picks from each market. You can read them here.
Just in case all of that isn’t enough! There are also boards over on Pinterest showcasing products.
I will be taking part in the Indie Christmas Essentials Market and the Indie Art & Illustration Fair.
Online Market Extravaganza
I will also be taking part in the all-day online market on Sunday 22nd November from 8am to 8pm.
Yes, you read that correctly… 8am! Unheard of on a Sunday at Hannah Kate Makes HQ!
We will all be setting up festive stalls in our own homes and sharing them with you, so you can view our wares just as you would at a traditional market!
This may also be the only time in history that my Christmas tree will be up and decorated before December!
Join us on the day for a whole range of activities! Stallholders will be hosting virtual workshops, product launches, collaboration announcements and live events to entertain you while you shop, shop, shop!
I can smell the mulled wine already!
An event to remember…
The Online Market has now become an Internet Event.
Running over a time limited period with exclusive products, special offers, deals and prize draws. They go some small way to filling the gap left by the missing in-person fairs and I hope, in the future, they remain alongside traditional markets adding choice, accessibility and excitement for many people and small businesses.
You didn’t think I’d forgotten, did you?
My Secret Sauce will be different for each the markets I’m taking part and details will be shared with you in the week running up to the events.
If you’d like to know about my “sauce” before everyone else, join my Insiders Club and get the skinny straight into your inbox! Just scroll down and pop your email into the box below.
Organisers of Online Markets: