West Suffolk markets hosted two local heats in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill for the National Market Trader Federations Young Trader Competition 2022.
A total of 20 traders, all under 30, took part across the two markets, with two overall winners and X highly commended.
The young traders were judged on their products, customer service skills, professionalism and how they interacted with the other market traders.
Robert Everitt, cabinet member for Families and Communities, West Suffolk Council; and Chris Morris, senior reporter, Bury Free Press, judged the Bury St Edmunds entrants; and John Burns, West Suffolk councillor for Haverhill East and Paul Firman, Haverhill Town councillor and long-standing market trader, judged the Haverhill entrants.
Bethany Estelle, of Bumble the Wellness Wax Company, who won the Bury St Edmunds heat on Wednesday, July 13, and Olivia Washington, of Olivia’s Curiosities, who won the Haverhill heat on Saturday, July 16.
A variety of products were on offer from the young traders, including homewares, food and drink, arts and crafts, and clothing.
Many of the competitors regularly trade at the West Suffolk markets, including the monthly Makers Markets, in Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and Newmarket. Most of the young traders have established online shops and trade at other markets, fairs and events.
Jessica Rix, of Little Jessies, who trades every Wednesday on the Bury market said: “I really love being on the market, the people are all so friendly and the other traders were welcoming from day one. I started with my trailer on the market as I didn’t have to get a large loan out, meaning there was less pressure, and I could enjoy what I do every day.”
The winners and those highly commended from these competitions will go through to a regional heat in Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday, July 27.
The national final will be taking place on August 26 and at Stratford upon Avon where the winners and runners up from the regional heats will compete.
Sophie Clarke, of Sophie Clarke Designs, won the national arts and crafts category in the 2021 competition and was back again this year to compete.
She said: “It has been a bit of a whirlwind, as the exposure that came from winning really helped my business grow; I have had a pop-up shop, magazine features, and tried out lots of different craft fairs.”
Susan Glossop, cabinet member for Growth at West Suffolk Council, said: “It is inspiring to see the young, talented entrepreneurs using the markets as a place to establish their businesses. The West Suffolk markets are a key part of the local economy and it is important to encourage traders and the public to support the markets.”