Three weeks ago Mabboo embarked on a little Christmas retail adventure by setting up shop at the new Bristol Christmas Market. We'd done a few markets around Bristol but having a fixed chalet to promote our wares from, and having a certain amount of shelter from the elements was appealing!

The first week 29th Nov-5th of December was tough going, for one it was absolutely baltic! It snowed from the Mon-Thursday which didn't help convince people that buying a bamboo t-shirt even with its thermo-regulating properties was a good idea. Dramas in that week were provided by maurauding students who decided that Vodafone just on the corner from us and its billions in unpaid Corporation tax was a suitable target for door ramming and a covering with mustard from the nearby Bratwurst stand at the German market!!! Its a bit nuts seeing how a crowd quickly can turn into something resembling a riot but fortunately students tend to like Pandas and eco things so we didn't get any hassle. After the main load of students had gone by the police relaxed a bit and some decided to sample the Bath Pig Chorizo that was on offer from the stall next to our own, this led to a lady passing by to suddenly stop in her tracks, drop her bag and get her camera out and snap away between laughing hysterically she was saying 'pigs eating pigs, pigs eating pigs'!!!

The other main point of entertainment came from the Ann Summers store located directly across from our chalet. Ann Summers has opted for a festive themed window display with 'Ding Dong' santa hats and the like on scantily clad mannequins, now without sounding like a disturbed individual who is transfixed by plastic models, one of these models was kitted out in nipple tassles on one of the coldest days! Now it may not have had to do with the cold at all but these nipple tassles just wouldn't stay on and provided a mornings entertainment betting with our neighbours on how long it'd take to their next fall, and then how long it'd take for the Ann Summers staff to realise-like I said it was a bit slow at times that week!!!

We feel there's a fair bit we've learnt about our customers and how people react to bamboo clothing. We'd displayed signs saying 'T-SHIRTS MADE OF BAMBOO' to hopefully leave people in little doubt why are T-shirts are just a little bit different. Even with these signs the number of people who came up and asked 'Are they really made of bamboo' was staggering but at least it aroused their curiosity. We then had the touch and run customers who'd seen the sign saying the bamboo was super-soft and the encouraging 'Touch Me' arrow so just couldn't resist running up having a quick stroke before leaving going 'awww it is soft' and then run off. For people looking inquisitively at our stall I'd always try to encourage a touch sometimes this felt a little weird saying 'Hello Madam/Sir our clothing is incredibly soft please have a touch.' 95% of the time after the touch potential customers usually wanted to find out more.

Waiting for that first sale of the day is always a tricky time, sometimes you have the curse of the early sale and then a long wait for the next. It's definately true that people attract people and usually one sale turns into a couple as other people waiting to see what the fuss is about get involved. It's always great when you get customers who instantly fall in love with your product and we had a fair few which was great. Having done our first weekend I received an email from a delighted guy who'd bought some tees on the Saturday, it was an email to print out and frame so I'm happily going to plug it here! 'You're tees looked really stylish and I couldn't resist buying two. The man selling them was very friendly and helpful, and I am definately interested in buying more in the near future, especially as they are eco-friendly and so comfortable. Thanks very much for your brilliant products.' I had another guy start quizzing me on the tees and take a genuine interest in how the business had started and he took a distinct liking to our new Mabboo Panda print and bought 4 to kit many a family member in on Christmas morning, he said he'd email the pic over so look out for it after Christmas. It's a really satisfying feeling to be thinking of all the people who'll be receiving a Mabboo tee as a Christmas present, we're just hoping it'll be their fav present of the year :)

On one of the early days when it had been a quiet day I had a lady come up have a feel of the t-shirt and declare 'I love it. I never do this and just buy a t-shirt but I really love the design and the feel.' I'd have to declare she wasn't exactly from my target customer base but a sale is a sale! She then returned a week and a half later and told me she still loved her tee so much and would like another. She had also brought a present with her for me, all wrapped up with a note included. This was my first ever customer gift, I suppose it usually works the other way around with loyal customers but hey! I opened it and found out it was the Last Testament of the Mormons!!! So the Mormons now wear Mabboo, don't think I'm going to be pushing sales in this client base!

Apart from the freezing weather and teething problems as a new market it was a great experience to get our tees out there to the Bristol masses. Have a great Christmas everybody!