Well hello! It’s been a while – thanks to all that COVID-19 has done in the world in recent months, I haven’t really had the inclination to blog, as I didn’t want to irresponsibly encourage tourism at a time like this (and I’ve also really enjoyed reducing my screen time in favour of reading, crafting, baking and walking)! In this post, I’m writing about the kind of tourism that you don’t need to leave your home for, yet builds an incredible sense of community and connection. Today, it’s time to tell you about #CaithnessMarket!
#CaithnessMarket is a virtual market for people to browse on Instagram and Facebook, right from the comfort of their own homes. The first market event took place in May, with the second taking place this coming Saturday, 6th June between 11am – 3pm. The first event had an amazing 35 businesses from the north of Scotland and beyond taking part, sharing their own home-based market stalls, designs and products, along with live Q&As, and demonstrations!
This initiative was the idea of Lisa Poulsen who was delighted by the success of the first #CaithnessMarket:
“The feedback has been really positive from both browsers and businesses. It seems to have helped bring a sense of support and connection on a local level and further afield. For the next market, I’m aiming to have the full StoneScape collection on display, hopefully bring out the old sale suitcase for folk to grab a bargain or two and will be going Live throughout the day for a wee blether and to answer any questions.
At the last market, Lesley-Ann from Coastline made as many sales virtually as she would have done in a real life market situation and reached lots of new potential customers, gaining around 120 new followers on Instagram in one day. There was lots of engagement with viewers and other participating business owners, creating a real buzz! Lesley-Ann also gave an insight into her offering at the next market:
At the next market I will be launching a new range of ethically sourced, one-of-a-kind, bags and purses available to view and buy live via Instagram and Facebook. I will be showing lots of other pieces of womens clothing, footwear and accessories to see you through summer in lockdown. There is also free (non-contact) delivery on all orders if you live in the Caithness area!
Yvonne of Abbeycrafts, (handpainted glassware) also took part last time and said;
“This virtual market is a new process which has grown out of the current situation…To me, this is as much about supporting each other, learning new skills and having a go, as it is about selling”
Lindsey Gallacher was delighted by the support shown at the last market, and on Saturday will be having a sale in conjunction with the #artistsupportpledge which for every £1000 of sales that she generates, Lindsey will spend £200 to support another artist using the hashtag.
Kay from Marks and Pencils pointed out that normally at this time of year, there are a multitude of shows and events for makers and crafters to attend, so this virtual market enables businesses to “make the most of the time we’ve been given by this situation” – a great way of turning a negative into a positive, learning opportunity!
There’s also a big local focus as all businesses who sign up donate £10 towards a local charity which has been voted by the public. At the time of writing 32 local businesses had signed up and donated to Caithness Klics Young Carers, which is fantastic!
As well as monetary donations, businesses have also been finding other creative ways to donate in-kind. Hannah Cambridge Illustration made and donated £250-£300 worth of face masks using fabric with her own designs on!
So on the 6th June from 11am, all you need to do is settle down with your internet-connected device, search for #CaithnessMarket and be ready to interact and support local businesses. If money is tight just now, a like/share/question or comment/follow is just as worthwhile and support creatives in a different way.
Jen from Harp Heart Dreams appreciated that an online market “seemed more like friends dropping round for a chat than an obligation to buy something”.
All content from businesses will be tagged with the #CaithnessMarket hashtag so it’ll be easy to find lots of new businesses to engage with, in whatever way you can!
For businesses who would like to take part, visit https://www.inspiredbycaithness.com/market and read a really helpful guide on how to sign up and prepare for #CaithnessMarket!
A big thank you to the businesses who provided quotes and information for the purposes of writing this post!