Well, its a strange time for everyone at present, and it's important to stay physically active and mentally active during these lockdowns.
For us, we've being fortunate enough to be able to continue sales of our Savon de Marseille soaps online and through a local pub (The Cross Keys, Sherborne) and when we're out on the drive in Sturminster Marshall selling coffees, hot chocolates and cake with The Tin Snail.
We're also looking at what to do when we are allowed to trade at markets again!
Whilst there are numerous benefits to on line selling; if you haven't experienced Savon de Marseille soaps before, you will not know of the fabulous scents that they have - something which no amount of fancy words or stylized pictures can convey.
Hence, that's why we are so keen to promote them via markets!
As we look to expand the range of goods we have to offer, we have contacted various producers with a view to being able to offer their wonderful goods to a new audience - we select only the type of products that we would want to use, so we are quite fussy about who we approach.
But, it seems that some people have a rather aloof opinion to markets, which, to be quite frank, staggers us.
Outdoor markets are the most traditional way of selling goods and their history dates back to early mankind. But it appears that some feel that they have developed a reputation for "dodgy" practices and poor quality goods.
Having attended markets throughout the past 12 months (when permitted!) I can assure you that there is nothing further from the truth!
The weekly markets in towns such as Sherborne, Dorchester, Bridport, Christchurh, Winchester, Fleet, and Frome (to name a few) are full of high quality goods, sold by friendly and knowledgeable traders; whether its fresh fruit and veg, hand made jewelry or pottery, second hand books, or a whole host of items, I can assure you that markets are an extremely pleasant place to shop and offer a wide range of local sellers whose stock you would not find on Amazon!
A large number of market traders have been using this route to market for years and there are also a large number of new traders who use this channel.
In addition to the weekly markets, there are an ever growing number of monthly markets, which showcase a whole range of products and sellers and often provide entertainment and high quality street food, making a really enjoyable day out for many.
In the current environment of mask wearing, and other social distancing measures. indoor retail spaces can be quite unpleasant and uncomfortable; but markets due to their outdoor locations, offer a space for customers to browse freely, in their own time, and in the fresh air!
So rather than being put off by approaches to sell products to a wider audience, perhaps some producers should see the benefits of growing their customer base in an environment in which customers feel more relaxed.
Markets do not detract from traditional bricks and mortar shops, we feel - and it has been proven on countless occasions - they add to a high streets appeal, As we know high streets are not having the best of times, so we would encourage more towns to embrace them and see the benefits of a whole host of additional traders selling high quality products and giving the customer more choice - and a far better experience- than on line shopping.
So, as soon as we can, we will be back trading at markets, with a wider range of quality products...more of which we will tell you about soon!
We'd be interested in your views on this, so please do let us know your thoughts.
Ali & Tim