The Rare Brand Christmas Market enjoys its ninth year at Goodwood Racecourse with a rich array of emerging and non-high-street brands.
Organiser and founder Emma Schwarz, who believes that shopping should be an art and not an obligation, is delighted once again to be tapping into a real boom in this country’s cottage industries, particularly in the Chichester and surrounding areas.
The event opens at 9am on Thursday, November 22 and runs until Saturday, November 24 at 4pm, offering a remarkable 132 businesses for you to discover – as Emma says, everything from shoes to Christmas puddings, via books, toys, men’s, ladies’, beauty and food.
“The fact that it is our ninth year is a lovely compliment,” Emma says. In a context where so many high-street retailers are suffering, Emma is delighted to offer a genuine and exciting alternative.
“This year we sold out our exhibition space earlier than ever. We went into the summer months being 75 per cent sold, and at the beginning of September we sold out. Normally we would be selling space right up until the end of October.
“It is a year that has definitely been difficult in retail, but away from the high streets, the independents and emerging businesses and rare brands are having a real boom time. It might be too expensive to own a shop, but the Rare Brand Market gives them a real chance to show what they are doing.
“If people can’t afford a shop and can’t afford some of the big events in London, it is really good for them to get their feet on the ladder with a good local, regional, affordable event. There is definitely a boom in our cottage industries at the moment. We are an event of London quality, but all co-ordinated within a more regional price bracket.”
For the businesses, it is a great chance to engage with their customers. As Emma says, it is not enough for an emerging business to be online only. They need the immediate feedback that “good old-fashioned face-to-face contact” with the public can give them.
Emma knows for sure that businesses attending her events, even when they do very well, always take on board the feedback they will have gained.
Generally around a quarter to a third of the businesses at the Christmas Rare Brand Market are from within an hour of Chichester; this year the figure is probably closer to 40 per cent – a reflection, Emma believes, of the wealth of independent and emerging brands within the immediate area.
The market runs from 9am to 4pm each day.
Tickets are £10 on the door or two for one using the downloadable voucher from the Rare Brand website at http://www.therarebrandmarket.co.uk.
The event is also at Winchester Guildhall on November 14-15. See the website.