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How independent makers came together to create one of Liverpool’s most popular markets

1 month ago

How independent makers came together to create one of Liverpool’s most popular markets
Mossley Hill Makers Market - pic by Darron Watson Photography

The not-for-profit Mossley Hill Makers Market started in 2019 as an idea from founder of The Liverpool Jam Company Sam Keohane.

St Matthew and St James Church on Rose Lane had recently modernised its events space and was looking for suggestions to make the best use of it.

Sam enlisted support from other small creative businesses for the first market which managed to draw a crowd.

Since then, it’s expanded to a much-anticipated bi-annual event that brings in visitors from across Merseyside and now has a long waiting list of traders wanting to take part.

“I offered to curate the stalls and do the marketing as a volunteer,” says Sam. “I got in touch with some friends, other really good independent businesses, told them what I was doing and asked if they’d come and give it a try.

Mossley Hill Makers Market - pic by Darron Watson Photography
Mossley Hill Makers Market – pic by Darron Watson Photography

“We started with about 30 tables and first one was really successful, we had about 1,000 people through the door. We did another one March 2020 just before lockdown, then had a break for a year and we’ve been going ever since.

“It’s now up to around 2,000 for each one and we’ve expanded to 55 stalls, mostly inside but also with some food and drink outside because we realised people were coming from quite a long way away and making a day of it.”

A core of around 20 regulars includes a few who’ve been with the market from the beginning, including Coco Baroque, the Gluten Free Pie Company, Bean There Coffee, Knotty Potty, and Joy Twenty Six. 

As it’s grown, an extra 30-35 businesses have been added on rotation, carefully chosen to meet the criteria of quality and location, and the most recent event had the bonus of live music with a singer and Liverpool Indie Choir.

Sam explains: “Everyone is local, they have to be within 25 miles of Liverpool to apply, and everything handmade.

“We have a big focus on art, so we’ll have around 10 art-based stalls, as well as homeware, food and drink, childrenswear, clothing, accessories and jewellery, and I really love to have businesses that are new if we can.”

One of Sam’s main aims when the market launched was to make it affordable for creatives and to showcase everyone involved via social media.

“There are a lot of markets out there and I’ve attended most of them over the years since I started The Liverpool Jam Company in 2013. Some of them are so expensive for small businesses that they’re unachievable, so we wanted ours to be attainable.

Mossley Hill Makers Market - pic by Darron Watson Photography
Mossley Hill Makers Market – pic by Darron Watson Photography

Mossley Hill Makers Market welcomes the community into the church and all money from the tables goes straight into the church fund. That helps to support their outreach work for things like foodbanks, a Parkinson’s support group, and Linking Lives which connects elderly people in the area. 

“We always promote the small businesses who take part on our Instagram and Facebook, and we encourage people to tag us and share the posts so by the time the event happens they feel really welcome and part of a network already.”

The market is held twice a year on dates in March and November with a team of volunteers from the church, including new rector Rev Rachel Archer, pitching in to run it on the day.

“We now get about 200 applications for 55 slots, so it’s a very difficult job picking, and for a lot of the traders including me it will be the best market of the year in November, and second biggest is in March,” says Sam.

“People come on the bus and on the train from all over Merseyside, so it’s not just for south Liverpool. We have food traders so they can have lunch and Bean There runs the coffee shop – it’s local creatives, food, music, shopping, and a community day out with a wonderful atmosphere.”

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