The Teenage Market: Taking Over Your Local High Street

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Brothers Tom (18) and Joe Barratt (20) laughed in the face of the recession to provide young entrepreneurs a free trading space at Stockport Market Hall. Youth Arts Online finds out how they faced dragons to provide a platform for young traders and plan to bring opportunity to a town near you.

After reading the background of how you launched The Teenage Market it looks like a massive amount of work went in to making the first event. How did you both feel after the first event you created?

When we set out to do The Teenage Market, we were never really sure of how many young creative entrepreneurs there were in Stockport, so we were amazed when over eighty young people applied to take part. The overwhelming response we got from young traders and performers made it clear to us that the model of The Teenage Market was something which young people in the town desperately needed and wanted.

Running up to our first event we’d been in all the local papers, spoke about it on BBC Radio Manchester and even made it into The Guardian Guide. All this combined meant that thousands of people from all over the North West came to support the event, which created a really lively, buzzing atmosphere in Stockport Market Hall on the day. A lot of people really bought into the concept of ‘by young people for young people’, which is what The Teenage Market is all about.


How did you raise money to launch The Teenage Market?

We organised, managed and ran our first Teenage Market event with no budget at all. In many ways it was an experiment to see what kind of impact the event would have on the local community. The Teenage Market team is made up of myself and my brother Tom, as well as my mum, Rosemary, and my dad, John. None of us then were particularly experienced in the field of bidding for funding or even aware of how the whole process works but, after our first event, I noticed that Stockport Council were looking for applications for their Business Challenge Fund. They were looking to award funding to ideas which could help regenerate the market area. I thought The Teenage Market was perfect for the fund, so we filled out the form and we both ended up having to do a Dragons Den style pitch to the local business community at Stockport Town Hall. The Teenage Market came out on top of every single project that pitched that night.


Did you come across any obstacles whilst setting up The Teenage Market? How did you overcome them?

An obstacle we encounter every now and then, usually when giving out flyers about the event, is people saying ‘well I’m not a teenager, so I can’t come’. The natural assumption from older people is that the event is something which wouldn’t appeal to them, but the combination of young traders, performers, quality food and drink, creates a festival environment that’s suitable for absolutely anyone. One of the highlights of our first event was having Stockport’s very own Morris Men perform just before street dancer Relentless B. The fusion of generations really made it feel like the local community was coming together.


Do you think working together as brothers is part of the key to your success?

I think working together as brothers is definitely part of the success of The Teenage Market. We both have different skill sets, which is important when trying to run a successful event. Tom is very good at presenting and engaging with traders and performers, and I do all our branding, videos, website development and digital content.

Where would you like The Teenage Market to be in five years’ time?

In five years’ time I’d love for every town to have their own Teenage Market, with young people from the town actively involved in the management and promotion of the market. I truly believe that the initiative could go some way to helping solve Britain’s youth unemployment crisis, as it gives young people an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have to develop skills, try out a business idea and be entrepreneurial. It’s a great stepping stone to becoming self-employed or even entering the market industry.


What words of advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?

Try it out. Whatever it is, just give it a go, and make sure you get involved with The Teenage Market.

For a chance to run a free market stall at The Teenage Market visit their website to find out more.

You can also tweet @teenage_market and like them on facebook


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