A look back at the year so far!
Updated: Sep 28, 2019
We sat down as a team and realised that it had only been 5 months since we started this incredible journey. Yet, as we discussed our events so far and those planned for the future, April 21st couldn't have seemed further away. With that in mind we thought it would be nice to look back on our highlights, lowlights, and what we're excited for!
What did you think when you realised you started a market?
Bronson: this was an incredibly daunting task to take on. Having worked in markets for the last 7 or so years I've seen some of the best and worst management teams in operation and, invariably, the successful ones always had one thing in common. Strong management presence and open communication with stallholders. With my background in communications I knew I could work with the local stallholders and had the utmost faith in Rick's vision for the markets. So, in what felt like 2 minutes but, in reality, was 2 weeks; we were staring at a monumental task. I couldn't have been more excited.
Rick: I really took this on because I couldn't to stand to see my son's fresh food business suffer such a substantial hit. Watching him grow his business gave me a unique insight into the world of a market stall-holder, and an appreciation for how hard it is to grow a business in an incredibly competitive economic field. There's so much potential in markets and I've seen that proved time and time again over the last 5 months. Our Inaugural Pet Parade is one example that stands out; the success of that day and the support of the community has lead to the planning of what, could be, the biggest event the Showground has ever seen! But I'll reveal more of that later. I've been particularly honoured to get to know each and every stallholder that walks through our doors. Attending our market is a show of faith in what we're doing, and it humbles me every time. I've met some incredible people in my life. Neil Armstrong; Jeff Fenec (who attended our first market!); countless stars - but some of the real standouts I've only just met in the last 5 months. (editor's note: Rick gave a very wry and knowing smile as he said that last sentence).
Kachina: Markets have been especially prominent in my life for the last few years. I never dreamed when I first heard the news that I'd eventually end up working with the team and securing the position of Events and Entertainment Director. The position has allowed me to fully explore the potential of a market that is so beloved by the community. That's what it's all about, really. When Rick approached me with the offer, he stressed that his focus was on running a market for the stallholders and for the community. I was inspired by his vision to do great things and have been impressed with everything I've seen so far. I loved the Christmas in July event, as well as the Easter Parade. We had the most gorgeous (if dehydrated) Easter Bunny, and Santa was a hit with all the kids. I love events that bring the family and the community together; I've got to know so many fabulous new people through this experience, as well as tap into my connections within the community. I've loved being able to give Vox FM a platform to promote their station. They're an incredible organisation and their listeners have supported the market so wonderfully.
Have there been any difficult experiences so far?
Bronson: GOOGLE ADS! I've sat through university lectures longer than the breadth of information there is to sift through in regards to the internet giant's advertising assistant. But, in saying that; learning about the marketing side of markets has been thoroughly enriching. I couldn't really class that as a negative experience. I'd have to say that our 3rd month was quite difficult. We had somewhat low foot traffic and the stallholders weren't doing great business. I take it personally when our stallholders don't have a great day; it's definitely been a learning curve, but I never want to lose that connection to the people who make running the market possible - the stallholders that make it what it is. Being a stallholder in an operational capacity at a market is also incredibly conflicting. On the one hand you can see great numbers come through the door, but as a stallholder you can have a terrible days trade. It's a constant balancing act and I feel like we're getting better and more adept with each stride that we make. As a stallholder I've been able to witness the markets steadily grow, which is really encouraging. Our online metrics are also trending in ways we hadn't expected for at least a year. My background is, I feel, fairly diverse for someone my age; but the more I experience in markets the more I become aware of how much more I have to learn - and that, in and of itself, is pure joy.
Rick: Negativity distracts from the task at hand, however, there was some intense financial hardship in the initial stages of this endeavour. Any new business requires considerable investment, but there's an added risk when you're starting a business amidst controversy. Despite all that financial restrictions also bring the benefit of creativity. I'm in this for the long-haul so I want to make sure we're not burning out before we experience our prime. Like Bronson I find it very difficult to find the positive in a day where the stallholders don't trade well. But, through constant communication, I've discovered a community of support, rather than derision; of faith, as opposed to disbelief; of optimism, as opposed to negativity; and of excitement for a future they can be involved in the development of.
Kachina: adapting to the pressure of working with a small team was definitely daunting in the initial stages, but the Powell's proved themselves time and time again. I can't say I've really experienced any lowlights to date. I have such a positive outlook on things that I don't allow negativity to interrupt my progress. But even now I wouldn't think of us as a small team, I see us as a boutique enterprise ready to revolutionise markets for the Illawarra.
What's next for Bulli Showground Markets?
Bronson: so much! I couldn't be more excited for what we've got in store for next year. However, I'm bound by a degree of honour and a penchant for the dramatic to reserve that for a latter engagement. Good thing is I've got plenty to be excited for when it comes to 2019. October is going to see an Old Fashioned Halloween Fair descend upon the Bulli Showground, with tricks, treats, and everything else in between for young and old alike. November will see the launch of our very first night market, and December gives us the chance to experience Christmas all over again! Of course, allowing for a typical Australian twist. I'm also excited for everything I'm going to learn in the coming months about digital marketing, analytics, and various other facts and figures - but that might be too boring so let's not worry about that. All I can think about now is what I'm going to be wearing for our Halloween market!
Rick: I've always got ideas on the brain, but it's encouraging to have a team with me who can just make it happen. There's so much more that goes on behind the scenes that few truly understand; I am a child of the nightlife, so naturally I'm excited to launch our nighttime events. Naturally, however, I want to make sure that these events are distinctly different from Sundays. Sundays at the Showground have allowed me to develop additional ideas and need to be supported, as such.
Kachina: I'm excited to see this grow beyond everyone's expectations. The team supports me in every suggestion and has shown me that, truly, this entire endeavour is so much greater than the sum of its parts. It's something especially unique that shouldn't be taken for granted. I can't wait to honour our incredible community with the weekly market it deserves.
Author: Ben Pettit
Interviewees: Bronson Powell, Rick Powell, and Kachina Lewis of Charge Capital PTY LTD