Flea market traders ‘need upskilling and access to funding’

Wares at a stall at the Rosebank Sunday Market in Johannesburg. Picture: Facebook

The Rosebank Sunday Market’s Dana Drulon says they aren’t holding on to the majority of traders due to their lack of business skills.

The Rosebank Sunday Market, which has been in business for more than three decades, boasts more than 5,000 creative producers and entrepreneurs, with 230 regular traders selling quality hand-crafted goods.

Dana Drulon, a social worker, started trading at the market from its inception but said it was closed down when the Rosebank Mall was renovated in 2013, leaving traders with nowhere to sell their wares.

“I reopened the market six months later and since then we have approved more than 5,000 traders with brilliant, high quality hand-crafted products,” she said.

Drulon said she discovered that even though they were getting opportunities to open more markets and expand to other malls, they weren’t holding on to the majority of traders due to their lack of business skills.

She said it bothered her that there were thousands of creative traders on their database but only a fraction had the staying power.

“I realised that what was lacking was a lack of skills on how to run a business. So the traders would come with a good product but do not have access to funding. They sometimes struggle with transport and do not use social media, advertising, branding and merchandising,” Drulon said.

She said the biggest problem was that there is no industry body specifically catering for the creative industry.

“I have not found the right body to enter into a partnership with. We have property owners knocking on our doors asking us to open markets at their malls but we cannot. I cannot open more markets until we know that we can sustain the traders,” she said.

Drulon said they were working on creating an incubator programme where crafters would come for training.

Letlasa Lehana, head of Khula Credit Guarantee, a subsidiary of Small Enterprise Finance Agency under the department of Small Business Development, said there were various funding vehicles available for the creative industry.

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