The Underground Christmas Market

My stall in action (thanks @pentic for the pic!)


Well, we survived.  The biggest market to date (probably a bit TOO big), Sunday saw 50 stallholders and 350 guests pile into Ms Marmite Lover’s 2 bedroom garden flat in Kilburn. It was chaos – but of the best kind.

Its been 2 days and I’m only just emerging from the cloud of exhaustion.  For this reason words fail me slightly.

But the day was thus: Bonfire. Carols. Cupcakes. Samples. Foggy breath. Mud. Smoke. Sausage, Spiced beverages. Stomping feet. People. People. People.

This was my 2nd market (remember this?) – and although I couldn’t have imagined it, this one was even bigger than the last.  The goody bags – a great idea (and a phenomenal amount of work) threatened to derail the whole operation by simply taking over the flat and hallways.  A dedicated team spent hours stuffing them on the Saturday.

There were mini-disasters: no water at what is essentially a mini-festival is a pretty big problem, volunteers were late or volunteers didn’t show up, stall holders didn’t show up or showed up late or left early.  There wasn’t enough light towards the evening and it was a mad scramble to leave in the dark.  Lots of lessons for next time!

But it all came together – and was another amazingly unique experience offering the non-conformist a lot of handmade food and crafts they can’t get anywhere else in London.  I never once managed to tour the market with my wallet in hand, and so ended up only bartering things at the end of the day when exhausted: sausages and olives from Squisito deli.  Cheese too, but I really can’t remember from whom (thanks though!).

My stall went really well!  I sold out of almost everything – with bloody mary vodka, pompello and sloe gin almost completely selling out in pre-orders alone.  My Spiced Rum and Cucumber Gin sold out within the first 2 hours, leaving me only with my stalwarts: homemade “Bailey’s” Irish Cream, Rosemary Lavender Vodka and Centerbe for the final 4 hours of the market.

I sold really steadily throughout the day – trays filled with sample cups of irish cream, vodka and centerbe going down a treat with everyone.  Everyone asked “were people taking the piss with the alcohol samples?” and really, no one did.  In fact I was so busy I tweeted not a single tweet, took not a single photo, and only toured the market once.  I get into this machine selling mode, and it’s impossible for me to think about buying things!  Note to self: must try to improve that.

It’s funny – while I don’t go in this to lose money, its not the profit that motivates me to keep having stalls – its much more satisfying to see someone marvel at something I made or did.  To see people enjoy my food or drink, to chat to them about how I make things, brings much warmer and cosier feelings than cold hard cash ever could.

That being said, I’m really happy the next market isn’t until May.  I feel right now I could sleep until then.

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