Manchester Youth Market

By Paige O'Grady   |   6th June 2016

It’s been 18 months since Chris and I attended a meeting to discuss the Manchester Youth Market project. What started out 18 months ago as a conversation about ‘new gazebos’ quickly became an initiative designed to find Manchester’s next entrepreneurs this is now a reality and this week I got to meet some of the new test traders for the first time.

Across two evenings, the traders attended a Q & A interview session with David Makin and John Wardle, co-founders of retail giants JD Sports and Footasylum, and they had the opportunity to trade their products for the very first time to guests who attended the preview night.

David and John answered questions from the traders and both gave a very personal insight into the trials and tribulations they had in setting up JD Sports and succeeding in the retail sector, against their biggest competitors. We also found out how the iconic draw string bag idea came about!

Before I carry on, I’d like to mention that I’ve been star struck a couple of times throughout my time at Bird, I have met a fair few celebs (not to boast!) but I am still overwhelmed to have met David and John. I worked at JD Sports for 5 years and to meet the actual J & D has to be one of my highlights. Two down to earth, friendly guys, who for me define what it is to be inspiring,

The following night, Goodstock – vInspired’s flagship store on oxford road in Manchester retailing pre-loved clothing store held a launch event for the Manchester Youth Market. Five of the young entrepreneurs were ready to test trade their products to the public and each had a stall of their own with their products laid out. Each of their businesses was unique and a perfect fit for the Manchester Youth Market.

Nathan Bikindou’s business Harris Couture sold colourful, patterned, handmade Pocket squares for suit jackets and Alice Riddington’s business Casela sold jewellery and accessories from the Far East. Tom Cas from Bottle Candle Company sold scented candles in very cute milk bottles. His stall was next to Karimah Farag, whose business Broke but Turnt sold upcycled vintage clothing. Liam Cooper from Old Youth sold nature inspired accessories such as wooden sunglasses and James Goddard introduced Penceland – a business created to rival poundland!

Everybody was treated to delicious homemade food from traders Cat Hoang from No Tacos selling hot, fresh Taco’s and Erica Mighali and Ana Almeida from Fusione Latina selling Italian delicacies.

The night was a great success, with speeches from Chris Bird and the newly appointed Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Carl Austin-Behan. It was a chance to meet all the partners of the project and have everyone who has helped and been a part of developing the Manchester Youth Market Project in the same room, for the first time. The traders made quite a few sales and were pleased with how the evening went.

The project has started off better than I’d have ever imagined and I am excited to see the Manchester Youth Market grow when more and more young entrepreneurs are introduced.