Setting the Table

Starting up my table-top business last year was rather like contemplating a bungee jump.

You’re half-filled with excitement and half-filled with dread. What if the cord snaps? What if my bra comes off?@ What if I fall on my face?! You get the picture!

It all started about a year ago when my daughter was nearing her first birthday. Even though my husband and I had promised that we wouldn’t, we’d managed to acquire loads of clothes, toys and books which my daughter had: A. never worn B. never played with or C. grown out of.

We were rapidly running out of room to store anything else without sacrificing useful space for say, um, living and er, sleeping.

So I decided that something had to be done and looked into selling her nearly-new clothes privately on online auction sites. This proved to be somewhat fiddly and time-consuming, what with the photos, the uploading, writing descriptions, and all for the sake of a 99p bid, if I was lucky.

We were heading towards autumn and the prospect of standing in a muddy field at 6am on a Sunday morning was not something I was particularly looking forward to.

So, despite this inner fear of bungee jumping, I decided to book my first venue in August last year and ‘Haven’t You Grown’ Sales was officially ‘born’.

I gave myself plenty of time leading up to the sale and managed to get enough people to fill a hall with tables, baby and children’s clothes, toys, equipment and of course, cupcakes.

The first sale was scary but great fun! Lovely people came and bought things and lovely people came and showed an interest in future sales – I felt I’d taken a big ‘bungee jump’ leap and hadn’t lost my bra of fallen on my face in the process!

Since then, things have gone from strength to strength and I now look forward to my sales so I can meet new people and see lots of familiar faces.

I’ve learnt that preparing and being organized is the absolute key and from spreadsheets to filing systems, doing a little bit of work a couple of evenings a week alleviates a lot of the pressure and potential stress levels.

My advice if you’re thinking of setting up your own local business, is to fully research your market – is there something out there already fulfilling that service? If not, ask around – will this work? Do people want your service/product? Get organized and find out what you need to make things happen – and write lists! Other mums are a great source of advice and knowledge and great at passing the word around.

So use what’s available to you. Try using sites targeted at parents like Made for Mums, Child Friendly Brighton and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as free advertising online like Gumtree and Friday Ad and just take that first step off that ledge. After all, what have you got to lose?

Nikki Owen is a mum, wife and works part-time in graphic design. She also runs ‘Haven’t You Grown’Sales, monthly table-top sales in Brighton & Hove for baby, toddler and children’s pre-loved and pre-worn clothes, toys, books and equipment. To enquire about getting a table to sell your nearly-new baby and children’s items please contact Nikki on 07531 769907, by email on or by visiting the ‘Haven’t You Grown’ Sales website

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