Unique festive shopping experience

The Rare Brand Market is once again promising a unique shopping experience as it returns for its seventh year at Goodwood Racecourse.

Thursday, 6th October 2016, 11:51 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:27 am
picture taken at rare brand Design Vintage, cafe and interiors shop - West Stoke, Chichester
picture taken at rare brand Design Vintage, cafe and interiors shop - West Stoke, Chichester

Over the three days, you will have the chance to get to know around 130 rare brands – an opportunity to get away from the familiar high-street outlets.

Around three-quarters are new to the event for this year; around a third are based within an hour of Chichester; and more than half of the exhibitors are start-up businesses, relatively new and probably within their first three years of existence.

Rare Brand Market founder Emma Schwarz is delighted at the businesses she has brought together. She is expecting around 3,000 shoppers will take the chance to meet them.

The market runs at Goodwood Racecourse on Thursday, November 17, Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19, 9am- 4pm. No need to buy tickets in advance, Emma stresses. Just turn up on the day of your choosing, and your ticket will allow you to come back in at any time.

“Our first was Christmas 2009, and we have done Christmas every year since, and it is great now. It was very hard work in the beginning because we were unproven and we just had to demonstrate for about four years what we were about. Before, we would have to go out and find about 95 per cent of the bookings. Now it is about a third we have to find. Our reputation is out there, and brands are keen to come to us.

“The younger, start-up businesses have got a choice. They can either go into London and spend a fortune on a stand at very high risk whether it works or not, or they can come along to a very well-organised regional event like ours and spend a lot less and have a great time.

“Most of the businesses are within the first three years of their creation. They are really early doors and they are wondering whether they are viable. This is a great way for them to find out.”

Sadly, a high proportion will fall by the wayside at some point, Emma reckons, probably more than half, especially the food businesses where the margins are so tight.

“But we do spend a lot of time advising the brands on a lot of different things, like how to display their stuff. Some of them are real novices in retail. We are helping them with things like branding and making sure they get their website ready. Our market is great for them, but they need to be able to drive things forward after that. We encourage them to compile customer databases and really set themselves up properly.”

The number of brands exhibiting this year will be 130, up 15 on last year: “Our first was 45. We have definitely reached the optimum at the venue now. I think this is a really good-sized market. If it were any bigger, it would be a bit too exhausting to shop, and this time we have really added a lot of time and investment in the refreshments.”

The attraction for shoppers, Emma says, is a very reasonable price range.

“We will have more than 3,000 people attend. We broke 3,000 last year. Each year is different. The year before last was lower because we were at the end of November which was a bit late. I think what we what is to be fairly quickly after Halloween.”

Local brands include:

Candida Stevens Fine Art - Candida - West Sussex

Chalk Stream Foods - Victoria - Hampshire

Earth Monk - Fiona - West Sussex

Moo and the Magpie - Janice - Hampshire

Snow Finel - Louise - Hampshire

The Chilgrove Gin Company - Christopher - West Sussex

The Drapers Daughter - Karen - West Sussex

Tired Bear - Anna - Kent

Verdley Flowers - Kate - West Susex

Nordic Twigs - Caroline - West Sussex

Food stories - emma - Chichester West Sussex