SF Underground Market

July Market-a review

The market went great, the best so far from our viewpoint. Most of the vendors sold out by the end of the night, with some done within a couple hours of opening. Thanks to everyone who showed up, the market had a really nice vibe this time. We were all super relaxed thanks to all the staff and volunteers we had (who were great), and people really seemed to be having a good time. We had a DJ this time, which changed the feel of the place a bit, but it was fun once you got used to it (I even saw an impromptu dance party start up as the night waned).  We tried something new (at least for the market), a plate of local yellowtail sashimi with tempura fried sea beans and a ginger ponzu, sold really well.

We tried some new things this time around, some were successful, some not so much:

1.    Pre-sale tickets: In an effort to shorten the lines, we sold pre-market tickets through eventbrite. The idea was that people who really couldn’t stand the wait could get in a shorter line. Unfortunately it didn’t work quite as planned.  The first problem is that the market filled up within an hour of opening (the night section, day was very steady with no line), so whether you had a ticket or not, the line was the same length.  Also, the service charge on the tickets was crazy (at least percentage wise), $1 for a $5 ticket. Not the most money in the world, but that’s coming dangerously close to Ticketmaster service fees. If we do sell tickets again, we’re going to have to think of another way to deal with creating a separate “ticket holders” line, but for the time being, I think the idea is on hold.

2.    Hiring people: We hired people this time! If you were wondering where your extra $3 went, it went into the pockets of some very nice trash monitors, residents of our fair city. We had some trouble with trash separation at the last market, which ended up costing us hours of digging elbow deep in piles of compost, and still we got fined for unsorted trash. Not this time. It went smooth, smooth, smooth.

3.    Day market: We really pushed the day market this month by offering a lower entrance fee, as well as mentioning every chance we got. It worked! We had 1,100 people come through from 11am-4pm, up from 300 last month. This was really satisfying for me. It was an idea I had, splitting it up so different kind of folks could feel comfortable (people with strollers and those who wanted to take stuff home etc.) Last month it was a bit of a failure since there were so few people during the day, which resulted in a couple vendors getting pretty pissed at me, so it was nice to see the day vendors selling out towards the end of the shift this time around.

4.    $1 for bringing your own plate:  We had the idea offering people a buck off for bringing their own plate and silverware in order to cut down on waste. It didn’t go so well. With the constant rotation of volunteers at the door throughout the day (who were all great by the by), I neglected to let everyone know about this little fact, so what ended up happening was people came to the door with their own plate, and were given a blank stare. This was my bad. I imagine I would have been pissed, so if that happened to you, I’m very sorry. On a brighter note, all the vendors brought compostable plates and utensils, so thanks! We’re going to try it again. This time I’ll be sure to let volunteers know.

Ideas for next time:

1.    Vendors should bring more food. It’s a hard thing to gauge. One stand might sell 150 sandwiches, and one might sell 50, but definitely something we should think about.

2.    Hmm, lots of others will spring up no doubt, now I’m getting hungry, so gotta go. If you’ve got suggestions or comments, good or bad, let us know, we’re always looking to make it a better market.

Thanks for coming!