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A Short Story About Being At Brighton Open Market.


After 2 years rolling out the rails on St James Street in Kemptown at Block then Shortts and finally a fond farewell at Tony's Antique Emporium I set sail in April 2023 for Brighton Open Market for what I thought would be my next long-term spot bringing the message of community via my clothing here on home soil.


To be fair my time on the street aside from seeing friends and regular LOFT55 customers was done up on St James Street. There's so much aggro from the street community you can shrug off before you start to worry about encouraging people to come and visit you right in the middle of all of that. So off into town it was to be and a vastly improved environment to do my thing awaited.


Under no illusion that this was going to be a tough old gig for LOFT55 I nonetheless put my best foot forward, bagged up and stalled out on Saturdays at the front end of the year. I was clear in the knowledge that sweatshirts upwards of £30 don't exactly fly off the rails at this new location but ever the optimist a traders life it was to be, even though just on Saturdays. Atleast I could get to explain the concept behind LOFT55 to anyone willing to listen should they stop and ask and quite possibly interest one, two or even three (should there be a favourable wind) passers by in taking one.


Almost simultaneously though I got a call from a old manager of mine for a job working with The Premiership Football League which more or less put the breaks on building up a new customer base. Ouch, first lesson learnt at Brighton Open Market, it's repeat customers that count here, however needs must in a cost of living crisis so a four month detour into other work it was. Prudent action taken and funding for new stock ticked off for later in the year. Phew, yet another stroke of good fortune.


After the football transfer window wound down in August that was my cue to return to market with the hope to carry on where I had left off four months earlier. Once again under no illusion I'd have my work cut out as the cost of living crisis settled in further a return it would be. It wasn't like I could take on a bricks and mortar at my level or find a suitable dance music boozer to ply my trade as I'd more or less exhausted that option as far as weekends were concerned the previous year.


Met with welcoming faces from fellow traders including my regular stall buddy Osaro 'T-Shirts 4U' I knew I was back with my Saturday Family again ready to share our philosophical views on the ups and more so downs at the tough end of retail and micro trading out on the frontline. Furthermore my friends Helen and Michael from Metrodeco where I had one of my first pop ups in Lockdown times were now there with their new tea shop. Get in, let the good times roll !!!


And with these fine people in mind I come to the point of this blog post.


See, market traders are a special breed. Do or die mental fortitude being a must have attitude alongside in the case of Brighton Open Market a glutton for punishment approach that reaps small rewards from time to time yet are vastly outweighed by somewhat disminished returns regarding time invested.


However, undeterred every single trader I've had the immense honour to work alongside keeps going, firmly with the belief in what they bring to the market extends way beyond the need to return a profit enough to move upwards from their passion fuelled side hustles.


I reflected once or quite possibly dozens of times in fairness should I ever become a employer looking to hire anyone and how I would choose between two identically skilled candidates. Easy, if one was a market trader then they'd get the gig hands-down as from my experience of these exceptional people they just don't quit and do this with grace and a big smile every single time they stall out


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