Fourteen young creative entrepreneurs set up their stalls on Shambles Market for the York heats of the National Market Traders’ Federation (NMTF) Young Traders’ Market competition.
Five traders were selected to go forward to the regional heats next month in Doncaster, including the overall winner Millie Thomas, who runs baked goods business ‘Sweet Treats by Mil’.
The event saw 14 young traders bringing a diverse array of products to the market – with everything from candles and artwork, to cakes and carnivorous plants.
Judged throughout the day on areas such as merchandising, sales skills, communication, pricing and product offer, the independent judging panel was made up of Ellen Harvey from Harvey’s Cheese, Emma Rogers, Selby’s market manager, Marc Bichtemann, managing director of First Bus York and Brendan Dyson, field support officer at NMTF.
York trader Millie Thomas from ‘Sweet Treats by Mil’ was crowned the winner of the event with the judges praising her for the outstanding quality of her product, excellent branding, social media and customer engagement.
In addition to the chance to represent Yorkshire in the regional finals next month, Millie also received a year-long pitch on Shambles Market from First Bus York giving her the opportunity to expand her business and customer base in the city.
Millie Thomas, Owner of Sweet Treats by Mil said: “I am delighted to have won the Young Traders Market competition and I can’t wait to represent York in the regional heats next month. I started Sweet Treats by Mil because I had a real passion for baking and creating new recipes and trading on Shambles Market has been a really great way to get out and meet customers and grow the business.
“It was fantastic to be a part of the competition and meet some of the other amazing young traders and I’d really recommend Shambles Market to other young people looking to kickstart their business.”
The quality of traders on the day was extremely high with four others selected in the ‘highly commended’ category. Joining Sweet Treats by Mil to go forward to the regional heats will be BizzyPig Designs, Moody Mare Patisserie, Best Efforts Gifts and Apricity.
The event was created to offer young entrepreneurs (aged 16-30) an opportunity to showcase their businesses, get in front of new audiences and meet like-minded traders. Winners of the regional heats will go on to have the potential to be crowned Young Trader of the Year 2021 at the NMTF national event in August .
Phil Waines, market operations executive at Make It York, said: “The quality of traders that took part in the York heats has been absolutely outstanding and it was great to see the passion and enthusiasm they all had for market trading.
“Events like this are hugely important to celebrate the creativity and innovation of young business owners and showcase what a great platform Shambles Market can be for anyone starting out in business. A huge thank you to our judges for taking part in the event, the Cambridge Street band for providing the entertainment and to all the residents and visitors who came along to support the traders.”
Marc Bichtemann, managing director of First Bus York, said: “The Shambles Market is another great destination that creates a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere in York. We’re delighted to showcase new talent like Millie among its traders as part of our support for small businesses, which are vital in helping the city’s recovery and attracting local people and visitors.”
Brendan Dyson, Field Support Officer, NMTF said: “The Young Traders Market competition is a fabulous way for young entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses and reach new audiences. It was wonderful to see the diverse array of local young traders taking part in the local York heats with some really unique products on offer. Congratulations to the winners who we look forward to seeing in the regional competition next month!”
The Yorkshire regional final will take place on Saturday , July 31, in Doncaster.