Business Finance & Funding FAQ’s

What finance is available to me if I haven’t started trading? 

Start Up Loans are government backed loans where the borrower/s can each borrow up to £25,000 to a maximum of £100,000 for any one business at a Fixed Interest Rate of 6% Start Up Loans – click here to find out more.

What funding can I access if I have been trading for 6 months, 1 year, 2+ years? 

There are lots of options ranging from High Street banks to Alternative providers (i.e. Responsible Finance providers) to Asset-backed lenders (Invoice & Equipment finance specialists).

What key business documents do I need when applying for trading? 

Annual Statutory Accounts, Management Accounts, Profit and Loss Account, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow forecast and Personal Assets & Liabilities Statement.

Who should I go to first when looking for a business loan/access to finance? 

If you have been trading for more than 6 months, try your local Growth Hub – they are a great centralised place to receive connections to finance providers from. Alternatively, give us a call at Start.Biz.

If I get turned down by high street banks for a business loan is there any alternatives? 

There are lots of alternatives. A good place to start would be to look for local Responsible Finance providers who often offer the required level of finance whilst also appreciating the need for SME Business Owners to get decisions on funding quickly. Click here to find out who provides responsible finance in your area.

How much can I borrow? 

This will depend on a number of variables:
i) The level of profitability currently within the business and moving forwards is critical. The more profitable you are, the more likely you are to get higher levels of finance.
ii) Whether the Business Owner is offering a Personal Guarantee to secure the loan
iii) The quantum of investment that the Business Owner is putting in

Can I get a grant? 

Yes but this will be dependent upon the criteria of each individual grant. A good place to start would be to sign up The Innovation Factory’s (Drew Currie) monthly newsletter, click here to sign up for free.

Can I get a project funded? 

Possibly but a bit like Grants, it is entirely dependent on the funding resource in the market at that time. Innovate UK offers Loans and Grants with a focus on business’ growing via Innovation, find out more here.

What kind of business activity can I get finance for? 

You can apply for finance for a multitude of activities including:
– Business acquisition/merger
– Asset purchase
– Invoice Finance
– Refinance
– Working Capital/Cash Flow

Are there still any covid recovery schemes available? 

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) is available until 30th June 2022

What is a good interest rate? 

The Interest Rate applied is often directly linked to the perceived level of risk with the loan itself. High Street lenders will lend at 3% + the Bank England’s base rate of lending. Currently, SMEs are finding it harder and harder to access funding at these rates via the High Street. Rates for SME’s can range from as little as 6% right up to 14%. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is secure finance at a higher level of interest to get the required funding before then refinancing at a later date at a better rate of interest.

If you have any questions about financing your business or would like to discuss your personal circumstances, please contact our expert team today. 

Access to Finance Consultation Line: 0800 069 9090 (freephone) or email finance@start.biz 

Intellectual Property (IP) Essentials for Small Businesses

We speak to business owners daily about their professional business service needs and one thing that often gets lost in the mix is their IP protection. Many consider it an issue for larger companies, designers, or inventors however, as experienced IP experts we know it can be one of the most valuable assets of any sized business. We also unfortunately know, how much of a headache it can be in cases of coping or unintentional infringement. In this article we’ll get you IP savvy in less than 5 minutes so you can make informed decisions about how best to protect your business.

1. What intellectual property does my small business have? 

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to many different creative outputs your business may have or use commercially. In includes but isn’t limited to imagery, logos, processes, symbols, designs, ideas, writing, names, website layouts etc. Every size and type of business will have some sort of IP which is valuable, how it is and what can be protected needs to be investigated.

2. What IP do I get automatic cover for and what do I need to apply for? 

To understand the value of your IP assets, we’ll look at what is covered automatically by UK law and what type of protection you’ll need to apply for:
Automatic protections – 
Copyright – This is automatically covered in UK law when the new piece of writing, photography, music, recording etc. is created. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to go to court if someone uses or copies your copyright.
Employee output – The creative output of your employees is also property of the company they work for if the work was created in company time or using company equipment. This should be stipulated in their employment contract however automatic protections in law come into play here. Please note this IP does still need to have protection applied for to stop others, outside the organisation, copying or using it.
Third-party designed logos – Do not assume this is a given, externally designed logos are not automatically your property. But all you have to do is be really clear when you engage a designer that you want it stated in the contract that the IP rights are signed over to you as part of the job.
Business Name Protection – ‘Passing off’ is a common law action that can be used to protect unregistered trade mark rights in the UK. For example, if you believe another business is copying your business’ name and customers may confuse the two businesses, you can legally ask the company to cease and desist. You will be responsible for the legal fees should the case go to court, and it could take some time to resolve. Alternatively, you can register your business name with Start.Biz for £99 (+VAT) per annum. As part of their Business Name Registration package from Start.Biz who will cover up to £10,000 of legal fees and deal with the administration of the case for you if a ‘Passing Off’ incident arises. Find out more here Business Name Registration.
Protections you will need to apply for – 
Trade marks (TM) – you can trade mark a name, word, logo, monogram, shape, letters, numerals, signature, or any combination of these.
Digital – this includes domain names and social platform handles. It is good to have your handle as close to the trading name as possible so people can find you easily online and know it’s you. Even if you aren’t planning or building a website just yet or putting content out on all social media platforms it’s wise to buy the domain name and set up the accounts on all major platforms. When you start to grow and want to develop your sales channels and marketing they’ll be ready waiting for you and not taken by someone else. Individuals and companies can buy/reserve domains and social media handles which they may offer to sell to you at a much higher price.
Registered design – A Registered Design protects the appearance, physical shape, configuration and the decoration of products whereas trade mark registration protects the names of your products or brands.
Patents – these are usually applied for by inventors or larger companies in the manufacturing or pharmaceutical industries. If you think your business may need a patent it is advised you seek professional advice from an expert.

3. How much is IP protection going to cost me? 

The costs of IP protection can vary dramatically so it’s good to shop around and understand all of your options:
DIY applications
It is possible to apply directly to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) yourself in the UK. There are helpful guides on YouTube and their website, and if you have the time to work it out, this could be the cheapest way of seeking IP protection. However, it isn’t without its drawbacks. Your application may be challenged, contain mistakes, or be submitted incorrectly with little recourse. All of these will come with extra costs meaning it may not actually be as cost effective as you first thought.
Engage an IP lawyer
Their expertise and familiarity with the process will offer peace of mind however lawyers charges start from around £200-250 per hour so this is out of budget for many small businesses.
IP experts
There are companies that specialise in IP protection, that have qualified experts and will charge a lot less than a solicitor. They will also have packages aimed at smaller ventures including Business Name Registration which will help you if your business is a victim of ‘Passing Off’. Start.Biz offer a free, no obligation IP consultation where we advise what IP your business has and how best to protect it, get in touch today to find out more 0121 678 9000 or email info@start.biz

Our Finance Story

Acquiring a business is always challenging. Acquiring a business during a global pandemic might be considered stupid.
In August 2020, we acquired Start.Biz after the best part of 12 months trying to get the deal over the line and it was the best decision we ever made.
Bevan and I became friends whilst our wives, Kirsty and Michaela, were pregnant. During the first year of becoming parents both couples decided that we wanted to control our own fate.
We had spent the best part of 15 years working in businesses and helping the Directors and Shareholders of those businesses make a lot of money. We thought it was about time we pooled our resources and brains to have a go ourselves.
On 3rd January 2020, we received confirmation that our offer for the business had been accepted. After initial jubilation/celebration, the hard work began. Alongside working in full-time roles across the UK and completing Due Diligence, we had to start and complete our finance raise. Our journey to raise finance and finalise the deal had six steps:

Step 1 – “Skin in the game” 

No-one was going to lend to us without us putting some money in ourselves. The business was profitable and cash generative, but lenders wanted to see us share some of the risk. Over a period of 6 months, we managed to raise one-third of the deal value using our own money plus begging/borrowing from family.

Step 2 – Start Up Loan salvation 

We were one-third down but still some way to go. Due to us structuring the deal via the formation of a new Limited Company, we were eligible for a Start-Up Loan. Both of us and our wives were able to apply for these loans which secured another 25% of what we needed. Although these are personal loans, the business (post-acquisition) makes the repayment and at an interest of 6%, it is a great funding source to go to when there is a funding gap.

Step 3 – Alternative providers 

High-street lenders weren’t interested in the deal. At the time of our finance raise, Covid had just started, and all focus was on businesses securing CBILS or Bounce Back Loans for survival. We were way down the pecking order so had to approach other funders. Luckily, in BCRS and ART Business Loans, we found two lenders that were willing to work with us and provide the required debt to get the deal over the line. Funding secured, or so we thought….

Step 4 – Panic 

We arrived in mid-June engulfed in ‘legals’ and things started to go quiet. Having been through a few of these processes previously, I knew that this wasn’t a good sign. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally spoke to the Seller who told us that he had been giving the deal a lot of thought and decided to pull out. Bevan and I had already racked up a lot of costs to get to this point and more importantly, we had started to get emotionally invested in the business and our plans to drive it forwards. Although all seemed lost, we went back to the Seller for one final time with a revised/improved “Hail Mary” offer – two days later, it was accepted. Phew!

Step 5 – Completion 

From the moment the deal was back on track, we went into overdrive to get the deal done as quickly as possible but now we needed more finance!! We had run out of time to go to another finance provider and the effects of Covid had started to be felt throughout the UK. Eventually, one of our contacts was able to provide a short-term loan to give us the space to get the deal done before then applying for new finance, post-Completion, to repay him.
Right up to the day of Completion itself, we really weren’t sure whether the Seller would go through with the deal which, in itself, was pretty stressful. At 1:30pm on 28th August 2020, the legal documents were signed, and the business was ours.
We gave ourselves the weekend to celebrate….

Step 6 – Re-focus and drive 

From the following Monday and ever since, we have been striving to drive the business forwards with new staff, products and systems. Like any SME, day to day costs need to be managed as we grow our customer base. All of this has required investment and use of working capital. From day 1, raising finance has been inextricably linked to our ownership and management of the business. With the plans that we have in place, that isn’t going to change any time soon.

What happens after the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) ends on 30 June 2022?

Here are our predictions for what will happen after the scheme finsihes this year.

1. It might not end 

The RLS has already been extended once, from 31st December 2021 to 30th June 2022, and it has been mooted that there may be another further extension yet. With over 70 lenders on board and a steady stream of RLS loans still being approved, demand would suggest there is still a need for this product. Watch this space!

2. The RLS may be replaced 

We had a meeting this week with one lender who informed that talks were ongoing about a replacement for the RLS currently under review by the Government. No terms have, as yet, been released but this would imply that the Government recognise that without further encouragement on their part, the debt market place (for SMEs in particular) could start to shrink.

3. The debt market place returns to pre-Covid’19 conditions 

Without an accessible Government-backed loan product on the table. The Government may determine that it has propped up the business community enough over the last 2+ years and now it is time to start recouping those monies rather than lending more into this space. There are pros and cons of ending the RLS and the decision would be made much easier if macro-economic circumstances were not as turbulent and fragile as they currently stand.
Over the last 2+ years, high-street banks have lent multiple times their annual average and are now working hard to secure repayments; market share that alternative lenders started to occupy after 2008 has accelerated and borrowers are more comfortable with paying a premium for more accessible debt without the ongoing management and financial information requirements; debt is now commonplace amongst a high proportion of SMEs that had previously never considered or required taking it on pre-Covid.
The Chancellor has to make a big decision on the RLS in the coming months that will impact the market as a whole. One thing is certain and that is that the debt landscape has changed for good due to Covid’19: demonstrating strong entrepreneurial skills (adaptability/innovation/resilience) will determine the winners of tomorrow.

Different Types of Business Finance Explained

Accessing the right debt finance for your business can be hard – the debt market is very noisy and has some sharks patrolling its shores. Despite this, raising finance is a very common requirement for the majority of businesses whether they are a start-up or large Corporate.
Before taking on any new debt, the first question we always think requires serious consideration is “Do I actually need it?” Can the business get where it needs to be in the same timeframe without the debt, albeit with a bit more difficulty along the way? If so, don’t take the debt on and endure the short-term pain for the long-term gain.
If taking on new debt is the right option for the business, then we typically see this taking one of three formats:

1. Finance for Growth: 

Start Up Loans – Typically aimed at the pre-start/early stage marketplace, Start Up Loans are government backed loans where the borrower/s can each borrow up to £25,000 to a maximum of £100,000 for any one business. Critically, these loans are personal loans and repayments will be made by the individual. Interest rates are 6% which is reasonable relative to the high-risk nature of the loans themselves.
Working Capital – “Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is King.” Every evolving business has its working capital pinch points and cash management is one of the biggest challenges that SMEs face. Working Capital finance can give a business the breathing space it needs to manage its growth, hire new staff, take on new contracts etc.
Assets/Equipment purchases – Raising finance for equipment, vehicles or acquiring a property is a natural evolution in most business’ growth. There are a variety of ways to fund an asset-led deal which can work well for a borrower and add some tangible value to a business’ Balance Sheet. When allied with certain tax breaks (Capital Allowances) that businesses can currently receive, they are well worth consideration as a business looks to expand.

2. Finance for Mergers & Acquisitions: 

A Merger or Acquisition can be a great way to accelerate business growth and profitability. Certain sectors such as Technology and Healthcare are ripe at the moment for consolidation. Raising finance in this area can be challenging and requires a substantial amount of due diligence and financial analysis and forecasting. Getting the right finance package in place can be one of the key determining factors between a good deal and a bad one.

3. Finance for debt management/refinancing: 

In our ever-changing and unpredictable world, a rise in the Bank of England’s base interest rates can have a meaningful impact upon monthly debt repayments. As a result, refinancing debt via a cheaper provider or looking to extend the term of a repayment can ease cash pressures and allow management to focus on the core activities of the business.
At Start.biz, we have 15 years’ experience raising debt finance in all of the above areas and have built a network of industry contacts over this period to introduce our clients to. Give us a call on 0800 069 9090 or e-mail via finance@start.biz to set up your free consultation.

Start Following – Inspire-a-doll

Shovon Wiggan is CEO and Founder of Inspire-a-doll, a multi-cultural doll range representing girls from different cultures around the world. They are bringing much needed diversity awareness to the doll industry by celebrating individuality, geography, and culture. Inspire-a-doll aims to teach children about new cultures, introduce them to inspiring leading ladies in history, travel the world through play and celebrate diversity. Shovon is also a mother and third year student just about to graduate from Birmingham City University.
We sat down with Shovon last week to chat all things business, the importance of self-believe and discuss what on earth Kim was talking about with her ‘advice’ to women in business 🤔

How did you originally get the idea for Inspire-a-doll? 

‘I started university and I was studying business management. One day whilst I was babysitting my niece, Nyah, she said to me she didn’t want to be black which obviously shocked and saddened me. I’m a solution-based person so I tried to think how I could incorporate what she said into a solution and that’s how dolls came up.’

What’s the best piece of life or business advice you’ve been given? 

‘Believe in your own source. We live in a world where it’s so easy to not be yourself or not have confidence in yourself, especially if you’re different. However, when you become confident that changes, everyone wants to know how you became so confident.’
‘Believe in your own source.’ 

What advice would you give to someone with an idea but not a way to realise it? 

‘Create a team and a support system around you of people that have done it before and have more knowledge than you. Learn as much as you can about the industry, including your competitors. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions!’

What’s your opinion on the hustle and girl boss culture? 

‘The BossBabe Instagram account does inspire me. I prefer the hustler mentality. Hustler is about hunger and a purpose that will never fizzle out.
On Kim K’s recent advice‘I think it’s odd how she phrased it, she aimed it at women in business but women in business have worked to be there, so I didn’t really understand what she was saying!’ 

You’re a mum and a business owner, how do you balance these two super important and demanding jobs? 

‘Managing being a mother and running my own company has happened over time. When I first set up, it was during the pandemic so I still had time to spend with my son, less external demands, time to reflect. When lockdown eased it then became really stressful. My living room was where I worked and where I spent time with my son. So, I decided to move my office out of my house to STEAMhouse. Work never ends when you’re an entrepreneur however now having a separate space to work makes it easier to allocate time and switch off. Don’t get me wrong I still don’t enjoy the pressure to go into the office though!’
‘Sometimes I want to go and hide until I know all the answers, but life doesn’t work like that.’ 

What leaves you feeling recharged and who are your biggest inspirations? 

‘My YouTube addiction leaves me feeling recharged! I love documentaries – crime docs, nature docs. The women that inspire me are my mum and nan. I also love Rihanna and her attitude. But my biggest inspiration is me. When I was younger, I was a tomboy, I would watch how the boys interacted with each other and how they would interact with girls they liked. I wanted to be treated like the boys treated each other not how they would treat the girls. This taught me that I can look beautiful on the outside but to always invest in your personality.’

What’s your favourite part of running your own business? 

‘Meeting and networking with so many cool, amazing people.
Knowing that I’m making an impact with my life, creating change and giving my son something to look up to. 
Showing people, and definitely females, we can do anything. Don’t be put into a box, you have so much potential.’

What’s your least favourite part of running your own business? 

‘Having to deal with the failures because there’s a lot of them [laughs]. Fully accepting responsibility when things go wrong and having to learn on the job. You can plan, plan, plan, and still things go wrong.
You have to reflect, learn and try again.’ 

What’s your biggest business barrier right now? 

‘Being a confident woman intimidates people, especially men. I purposely don’t tone myself down, I like to set the tone from the beginning, this is me.
I’m not going to water myself down just to make you like me. 
That can be a barrier as they don’t expect you to be like that.’

Do you think every private company should have a social impact element their business? 

‘Right now, this is the buzzword, big business has jumped on being socially impactful, but I do think if they could get away with not doing it, I think they would. With small businesses, because it’s from the heart and we put in our blood, sweat and tears to get it off the ground, do try and think about how it’s going to impact the environment and the community.’

What would you like to see change in the doll and toy industry? 

‘The toys our children play with need to reflect the society that we live in. They indoctrinate children from such a young age to want features they aren’t genetically born with.’

 

Whilst building your business have you made your products more environmentally friendly? 

‘Yes, we were going to do plastic dolls but after doing my research on how plastic is affecting the environment I said no and decided to go with fabric dolls instead. I also got the opportunity to produce a 3D printed doll, we ended up using a material made from banana leaf for the printed doll rather than plastic.
I would like to go into schools and do workshops too, so I want to be able to talk about the environmentally friendly materials as well.’ 

What are your plans for the future of Inspire a doll? 

‘Our products will be arriving in April, for the May launch. After the launch I would like to do pop-ups in stores around the UK. Then we’ll start working on the second doll if all goes well. Following this we’ll start pitching to buyers, I want to see Inspire-a-doll in The Entertainer, Argos, Tesco, Selfrdiges! I’m thinking big as I know the possibilities are endless. We want Inspire-a-doll to be an animation and a series of children’s books.
I’m a big believer of manifestation and timing is very important.’ 
Shovon is a total inspiration, we want to thank her for sitting down with us and we can’t wait to catching up with her again as her business grows.
Interviewed and written by Felicity Blades, Marketing Executive at Start.Biz.

Start Following – Unite Rehab

Start.Biz community member Leila Holmes and owner of Physioadvantage has teamed up with Muscle Mechanic Sports Massage founder Sam Cochrane, to provide a comprehensive Physiotherapy & Sports Massage Therapy clinic located on St Owen’s Street in Hereford, UK.
We first met Leila when her business, @physioadvantage, was entered into our monthly independent business competitions and have been blown away by her service and exciting expansion over the past few months.
Unite Rehab’s aim is to combine all your rehab needs under one roof.

Leila provides: 

Specialist Musculoskeletal assessment and treatment for muscle and joint injuries.
Specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapy assessment and treatment for pelvic floor problems and antenatal and postnatal conditions.
A specialist Postnatal Assessment called a Mummy MOT which is a thorough postnatal assessment of your abdominal muscles, pelvic floor muscles, posture and breathing. You are then given a personalised exercise programme to help you reach your exercise goals and functional needs.

Sam provides: 

Specialist assessment of injuries.
Level 5 Sports massage.
A pathway and management plan for recovery and rehab, including personalised exercise programmes.
‘We have a gym rehabilitation area in our clinic in Hereford and two separate treatment rooms. So we can provide individual hands on treatment and then provide gym rehabilitation as needed to overcome injury and get back to the level of activity and function people want to get to.’ – Leila Holmes, Co-Founder of Unite Rehab.
To find out more go to
And check out useful tips and tricks on their Instagram’s
Do you have an amazing business that we need to feature? Get in touch today felicity@start.biz

Registered Design FAQ’s

WHAT CAN BE A REGISTERED DESIGN? 

A registered design can be the particular look, shape, configuration or ornamentation of a product(s).

DO I NEED TO REGISTERED DESIGN? 

This depends on if you have something unique that you would like to protect. A registered design may become essential to your business in the future and save a lot of headaches down the road. If you are unsure regarding anything to do with registered designs our expert team with over 30 years’ brand protection experience are on hand to advise. Call us on 0800 069 9090 or drop us an email to mitch@start.biz to find out more.

ARE ALL REGISTERED DESIGNS REGISTERABLE? 

No, a registered design will not be accepted if it is not distinctive enough. We will advise in our report ways in which you can make your design more distinctive and help you with your application.

IS A REGISTERED DESIGN EFFECTIVE WORLDWIDE? 

No, a registered design is only effective in the country where the design is registered. However, there are several International Conventions that exist which assists clients who wish to register a design in more than one country with one single application which are more cost effective than obtaining separate national registrations.

HOW IMPORTANT ARE REGISTERED DESIGN CLEARANCE SEARCHES? 

Registered design novelty searches are particularly important as they are the first step to determining whether the design you wish to use, and register is available to do so. We strongly recommend that, to avoid any potential conflict between your proposed design and any existing confusingly similar designs, that you instruct us to carry out a comprehensive registered design search on your behalf.

CAN I AMEND MY REGISTERED DESIGN AFTER SUBMISSION? 

No, once an application has been submitted it cannot be altered except for the owner’s name and address. It is important your application is as accurate as possible.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO OBTAIN A DESIGN REGISTERED IN THE UK? 

The initial registration process takes around 2-3 months to complete.

HOW LONG DOES A DESIGN REGISTRATION LAST? 

A registered design is renewable every 5 years for a maximum registration period of 25 years.

HOW MUCH DOES A REGISTERED DESIGN COST? 

The application fee is dependent on the number of designs included in one application. For example, it is possible to file a multi-design application in the United Kingdom. A UK design application containing one design costs £300; a UK multi-design application containing up to 10 designs costs £550 and UK multi-design application containing up to 20 designs costs £750.

5 Top Tips for Small Businesses at Christmas Markets

As the nights draw in and we start to swap our chilled Savvie B for toasty mulled wine, small business owners are gearing up for their busiest time of the year. Christmas markets and pop-ups can provide a seasonal cash generating ‘bricks and mortar’ opportunity for many online businesses. Not to mention they are a fantastic way to feel more part of the indie business community, reach new audiences and meet customers face-to-face. Festive pop-ups can be great however they don’t come without their challenges. We sat down with bespoke online jewellery brand owner, Esme Rogers Evans to get her top tips to maximise sales during the most wonderful time of the year.

1. Pick the right market. 

‘I’ve done fantastic pop-ups in central London which were amazing for social media content and PR, but we didn’t see the sales we would have liked,’ Esme explains. ‘Think about whether the market and location is right for your particular product and target audience. Also consider if you’re happy to take a risk for the PR, or if you need to save cash only sign up for the markets you’ll definitely make sales at.’
Many events use marketing buzzwords such as ‘sustainable brands’, ‘independent’ and ‘ethically sourced’ in their promotions. This may all be true, but this doesn’t mean it will automatically bring buyers to your fantastic indie business. Do some research and find out who else is going to be there.
Considerations should include:
● Price points – are you similar, way above or way below other brands with a stall?
● Would your customers usually go to this or a similar location?
● How long is the market there for, how well known is it and what reputation does it have?

2. Cash isn’t king. 

Have some sort of digital payment system set up, especially if you have higher ticket items. Esme recommends Sum Up as it is easy to pair with your phone, straightforward to use and cost effective. If your items are priced at the lower end of the spectrum it may be worth simplifying or rounding up your prices to limit the amount of change, you’ll need to take with you.
It is also worth noting here that you may want to take a portable phone charger with you. You won’t always be positioned near a power point. In the quieter moments of the market, it’s a great time to catch up on emails or make content, both will drain your phone’s battery and might leave you in a pickle during the busier times.

3. Presentation. 

‘Don’t spend lots of money on plinths or fancy display units when you’re just starting out,’ advises Esmé, ‘I recently invested in some lighting for my stalls, the reflection highlights the jewellery beautifully and the glow from the table draws people in’.
It’s essential to do a test run of how you will set your stall up. Think about creative (and inexpensive) ways to display your products. Lighting is a fantastic and simple way to make you stand out. Remember about your plug sockets though and consider using battery powered lights.

4. Parking. 

‘If your event is relatively close, I would always advise doing a parking reccy beforehand’, says Esmé. Many locations won’t have parking directly outside so consider how to transport your goods to the venue once you get there as well.

5. Creature comforts. 

Markets can be long days, they can also be outside, and we all know how reliable the Great British weather is, especially in winter.
‘My top tip is to take cardboard to stand on. It may sound silly, but when you’re outside all day on your feet it can be kinder on your soles, and it gives you that little bit of extra insulation from the cold floor which will provide much needed warmth’.
Other top tips for the day from Esmé include:
● Take your favourite warm drink in a flask for the colder hours at the end of the day.
● Stay hydrated with water but don’t drink too much. You don’t want to miss customers because of frequent bathroom trips.
● Wear layers.
● Make friends! Talk to your fellow stall holders, this can be an informal way to build new connections and you can have someone look after your stall whilst you pop to the loo.
● Have a fold down chair.
● Take a craft with you. If you can make your product on the stall, that’s fantastic. Alternatively if this doesn’t apply, take a hobby project with you. It will keep you occupied during the quieter moments and will showcase how amazingly creative you are!
● And if you use interesting tools when making your work, consider displaying them alongside your products in an interesting way. People want to know how things are made and it’s a fantastic way of sparking a conversation that isn’t directly about selling your products.
Find out more about Duxford Studios here and follow them here.
Want to see Duxford Studios in real life? Catch them this Christmas at:
Cardiff Indie Collective’s Christmas Market at Big Moose Café, Cardiff on the 2nd December. For more info, head to their site here or visit their Instagram @cardiffindiecollective.
Seekd Christmas Pop Up at One New Change, London, EC4M 9AF from the 6th December – 24th December. Seekd is the marketplace for unique, chic, eco-friendly jewellery & accessories that give back to people and the planet. Visit their website here and follow them on Instagram @seekdfashion