Mrs Market | About
From 2013 I ran the national Love Your Local Market campaign, which came out as a result of the Mary Portas Review of the High Street. Markets have always been in my blood.....
mrs market, love your local market, #LYLM2018, markets matter, the voice of markets,
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Mrs Market is always a bit cringey to say to other people, but hey at least folks know what I do.  From 2013 I ran the national Love Your Local Market campaign, which came out as a result of the Mary Portas Review of the High Street and now I’m on a new mission…… to digitalise markets.

 

Markets have always been in my blood.  Growing up in Africa my earliest memories are of the hustle and bustle of Bar Beach Market in Lagos.  One of my first entrepreneurial tests was making homewares for market stalls in London and my husband started working for his Uncle Frank, one of the last Antiques dealers of the Portobello Road, when he was eleven, to pay for a school ski trip.

 

I had already been working on Portas, High Street and related projects, having started a new community market near my home in Wiltshire and working with the County Town in a bid to become a Portas Pilot.  The bid wasn’t successful but work continued to include setting up another new market, this time in partnership with the Unitary Authority.  When the chance to apply for the Love Your Local Market job came up, I jumped at it.

 

Over the past couple of years I’ve been really lucky to work with some great people along the way….over at NABMA and with charities, local authorities and private companies, regenerating markets and making some special spaces.

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Ellie Gill

Love Your Local Market went pretty well.  From Mary’s idea to have a national markets day, the industry decided that with markets taking place on so many days, a fortnight would be better and by last year the campaign had grown to over 1200 markets participating.

 

Over 20,000 event days had also racked up over the previous 5 years, 15,000 subsidised pitches had been made available to starts up, 200 youth markets have been started to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs, 17 countries have joined in the fun and the campaign was making 73 million impressions on Twitter over the fortnight.

 

Each year the campaign had a given theme and in 2015 The Department for Communities and Local Government, who were funding the activity, asked me to look at ways in which the industry could become more digitalised.  I did my best on limited resources, we ran regional meetings on how to get the best from social media, started a photographic competition and started measuring our stats, so operators could get a grasp of the collective power of the industry, but it didn’t really go much further than that.

 

The concept of digitalising the industry really stayed with me though….across the country I was hearing from Market Managers, they wanted their traders to get the best from their business, to create omnichannel retail experiences, that markets needed to be found more easily online, that Click and Collect facilities were required on markets and that a consistent rewards and loyalty solution was needed…..but it wasn’t until the following year I had a chance to do anything about it.

It’s early 2016 and a colleague emails to ask if I want to be on the panel at a Contactless Digital Conference in London….ummm.

 

I know nothing whatsoever about this world but I am on the lookout for a sponsor for Love Your Local Market now that the government funding has stopped and there is a possibility that banks will be there.  What do I have to lose.

 

I feel a bit like a rabbit caught between the headlines as I get up onto the dais.  I give a little speech about how the market industry works so well together and how we all made Love Your Local Market so successful to which I am asked ‘what the industry has done to work with the financial sector to get the best possible deal for traders”?  I have to tell them the truth, that we haven’t been able to do all that much as we don’t have the necessary skillset to access those conversations.

 

One of my fellow panellists has just done exactly that for the licensed taxi trade.  We had a chat after our session and there it was – a pure lightbulb moment.  Derek is an ex CEO and founder of BNY Mellon’s hedge fund business who over the last few years has developed a mobile card payment app for SME’s to compete with the large corporates.  He really knows his eggs and to cut a long story short, is now my business partner and fellow Executive Director at Paysme, a company getting the best deals for micro merchants and providing a suite of specialist tools to help their businesses grow.

 

In March 2018 we are releasing the Marketti app that fulfils the wish list of all those market managers wanting the best for their markets and traders.  You can find out more about it on the ‘Our App’ page but to wrap this up…..it’s a really exciting time in my life.  I love everything the app stands for and I’m really

proud that my old bosses at NABMA see the potential in it too and that we now sponsor them.

 

This blog is primarily to talk about markets, traders and independents.  I am a passionate believer that markets are an essential breeding ground for entrepreneurship, innovation and offer a place for communities to come together, so this is where I get to talk about what is going on in the industry, all the great people we are going to meet as we tour the country promoting Marketti and lots of other things that will inevitably pop into my head.