Where are the young market traders?

How often do you see somebody under the age of 25 with their own market stall?

Have you thought about it?

Well, in the last 2 months I have been to over 8 different markets, indoor and outdoor, in the West Midlands and I can honestly say, upsettingly, I have only seen or can remember meeting 2 to 4 out of the 100+ I spoke to with their own market stall. These were all young males, from selling electric cigarette accessories at the Dudley indoor market to selling shoes at the Willenhall outdoor market – but shockingly no young females.

Why is this and what does this say about markets?

This brought some questions to my attention.. For starters, does this imply that market stalls are all too ‘uncool’? Could this be a reason as to why young people aren’t looking into this around the West Midlands,? If so, why does this not appeal to the younger/future generation of market stall holders as a way of escaping unemployment? Why does this not appeal to local councils as a way of improving unemployment around their local areas because surely they will profit in ways of figures and statistics. Now, I know there are youth markets out there but these are more of an event than a regular occurrence, and from the markets that I visited, I did not see any of these, and the people I spoke to had all been trading for around 10 to 50 years. So, does this imply market traders are a dying breed? It would seem so, as all the market traders today have been doing it for years and there is a lack of young entrepreneurs opening markets selling their take on good product, and making markets more diverse with products.

youth marketttttt

In my personal opinion markets are a perfect opportunity for young entrepreneurs to start out, they can learn to understand trends, pick up skills such as customer service and sales skills, gain confidence, and gather their own unique styles. Many big corporations started as a simple market stall before expanding and growing, but nobody seems to highlight these facts today as even in schools to an extent, they slowly tear away at our inner entrepreneurs and laugh at our creativity if it doesn’t fall in line with their curriculum. For example when I was a young boy in primary school my teacher asked all the class at the time what do you want to be when you are older? The class all replied the obvious, footballer, teacher, scientist etc.. but when it came to me (keep in mind I was a young wrestling fanatic, stone cold generation) I replied a WWF wrestler, in which the teacher responded and laughed said you can’t be one of them they aren’t real etc.. choose something more realistic. Now I know we are slightly off topic but from that day I gave up on my dreams, although today I am glad as I have grown up and enjoy business but if the teacher would have responded differently maybe I could have also been a professional wrestler!

My point being teachers have a tendency to throw us off our dreams; if I would have said for example “a market trader like my dad”, I assure you I would have had the same response as there is no right answer in school unless of course it is a policeman, doctor or teacher, so it brings me to question whether schools are raising us to do what they think is right instead of supporting the youth, keeping their creativity pure, which through a long term perspective could be the reason preventing the youth to look into markets as a way to kick start their careers/businesses.

On the other hand, we should ask whether it is councils like Wolverhampton with their ongoing rent rises every year in markets such as Bilston, where rent rates keep rising, making it harder for traders to make a living therefore resulting in some closing down or some going to seek markets elsewhere – and the more they are trading the more debt they are getting themselves in to, forcing them to seek other avenues as they simply can’t break even anymore? Or councils such as Walsall giving the majority of the budget to the market in Walsall instead of sharing it equally across all of their markets? This was according to residents of the Willenhall market when doing market research around Willenhall, as a lot of the traders mentioned Walsall market receiving all the funding which means that they are neglected which is why it is dying down. They also spoke about how it used to be thriving, even having an indoor market whereas now they don’t have an indoor market, and have half as many traders.

the day you were born

Or is it a combination of both schools draining our creativity and councils being greedy and not treating everywhere equally? Or is it the fact that despite all this, markets are neglected, market traders are effectively running their own businesses in the hardest conditions and in return receive no support which is why it would not appeal to many under 25 as a way to make a living. In my opinion this is not right as markets have been around since before all of our times and are a big part of Britain and great days out, and for many of us great memories too, so we need to encourage young market traders and make it an appealing prospect, and make them aware of the avenues this could open. This may then revolutionise markets altogether with a mix of old age and new age technologies, gizmos, remedies and gadgets.


28 thoughts on “Where are the young market traders?

  1. Some interesting points to be fair, there’s a few points I can relate to and I do think it would make a difference if younger people became market traders because I think they’d attract more people from that age group and also with the products they’re sharing. I also like the personal experiences shared (the wrestling!).. Very interesting read. Look forward to future posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thankyou Twix but supermarkets and normal street markets are on a whole different level and its dependant on what the individual sells would you agree? I 100% percent agree with the rents being to high that wages cant get paid which is the market owners greediness, especially as they dont justify the rent rises. markets dont see any improvement from it. So what is the rent rises for what are they doing with the money


  2. Haven’t had time to read thru all that blog; but here in Sydney Australia at some “hipster” or vintage or trendy 2nd-hand clothing markets it’s mainly young girls!! Cashed up, no mortgage, no kids, wear a designer label once then sell it for a few bucks!! The market scene is thriving here with young folk! Lots of regular (permanent) traders in that age bracket (cash in hand too)…great to see. At a lot of the foody markets there are young folk; candles, soaps, craft…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • It that true wow! It does seem like oz know what they are doing maybe uk can learn a thing or to i cant really compare the 2 personally as i dont know much about Australia but if you could send me more information maybe i could compare the 2 in a future blog uk vs oz


  3. I love to run my own stall and start my business but it’s to much money you want to start as the insurance is a lot to as most pepole don’t have the money at the beginning as only just can afford to go there stock

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. We have a few under 25s running stalls on our market in North Devon but you’re correct, there’s not many . It can be a chicken and egg situation – youngsters aren’t keen to go onto the market and sell things that interest under 25s if they’re not shopping there in the first place.
    I blame the internet !

    Liked by 1 person

      • What do you mean what kind of products are these with sites like ebay, amazon, gumtree etc… ?Anything is available. Do you think a site just for market traders might help reach the internet market shoppers community?

        And Agreed it is tricky to get customers to put their hand in the pocket as people rely heavily on brands these days and reputation but maybe a site for market traders could increase markets reputation, in the same way aldi and lidl had an effect they made it acceptable and logical for consumers to purchase their non branded bargain products by proving they are just as good as the brand.

        Markets have a chance to compete as you can haggle on a market and a wide range of product usually which some supermarkets may not cover and markets can use as their usp

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haircuts, nails anything like that, Fruit and veg, any food really, eggs, cakes and then handmade stuff for the house and antiques. These are the sought of things that the internet struggle with because people want to have a good look at stuff. I find second hand vinyl LPs work, not because they can’t be bought on the internet but because people want to check them for scratches etc. (also if it doesn’t sound any good they don’t have to deal with postal service to return, they just show up with it the following week) . Another good one for markets that I don’t see though is shoes and trainers, things that really need to be tried on

        Liked by 1 person

      • That makes a lot of sense i will be doing some research into this and get back to you whether in the form of a blog or personally.

        But i will add how do you suggest that you could make these unique market products and services appealing to the internet society? As you say you blame the internet but we cant beat the internet so at some point we are going to have to join them. (To promote out market stalls and gain extra custom)

        Liked by 1 person

      • There is a way to connect traders via social media facebook twitter etc to form market trader group . Then get all individual traders to connect up with their friends on Facebook to promote what’s on each week or what they have that’s new . I collect email addresses of local customers and email them the day before I go to market telling them which genres I will be bringing

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Cambridge market has a few under 25s but it’s the solid fruit and veg and bakery stalls that seem to do well which probably doesn’t appeal to that age group as a venture. As mentioned in comments already set up costs such as stock and insurance can be a stumbling block, plus van insurance for the young. Obviously though we need a reality tv programme on markets to get the young interested and make them cool to shop in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point aliciasunday, but markets have featured on reality tv shows such as the apprentice and been successful, but i think you mean solely on markets you have a really good point to be fair i like the idea it is obviously costly but it can get funded if we could make it appealing! Also we could look into lowering the minimum age of market stall holders as around the west midlands you have to be 18 +, i really like your idea and will be getting into contact with some people i have met and know in that industry to here there thoughts.



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  8. We’re actually considering starting up a market stall. I’m 24 trying to establish my own company. The problem is that even a market stall requires significant amounts of stock which means the internet trade is perfect! You can simply list what stock you currently have and expand slowly, rather than sitting in a market stall that’s mostly empty!

    Money is simply the issue for young traders in my opinion. There’s no easy way to get that money as a business loan is a serious undertaking, you have to be sure you’re going to be able to pay it back in time and with a start up that’s a risk in itself.
    If local councils helped to support start ups in markets, that would undoubtabley make markets more appealing to young entrepreneurs.


    • hello michael, read my blogs on the nmtf they can help you with loans etc.. they are good at supporting traders.

      and internet trade is good but, its meaningless and theres something about developing a relationship with buyers and sellers that makes markets unique.

      online there is too much competition if you ask me, and if like you this is the start of your business what experience will you get online that is better than the experience from the market?

      on a market you can learn people skills, customer service skills etc… aswell as build relationships so when you go the next stage your customers come with you.

      i dont believe markets should sell online because in the long run it wont work, and if it was to work it will definately rui the traditional market and remove a peice of history.

      so my advice to you is read up in the nmtf and what they have to offer and support on my blog, and decide from there, if this is not for you then look up virgin start ups, who help businesses get off the ground, with loans and support, with a years mentoring which could benefit you.


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