No Stalling Markets and Fairs
Like any growing small business, there have been speed humps along the way. But for 23 years there has been pretty much ‘no stalling’ Camden local Lynette Rayner and her business partners, in the quest to establish a comprehensive resource for the markets, fairs, shows and festivals industry. Her magazine, Australian Markets and Fairs is referred to as ‘The Stallholders Bible’, the website attracts over 30,000 visitors a month, the business is an award-winner and there are new elements about to be launched.
From Humble Beginnings
Lynette and her late husband Rick Rayner, knew the business well and always had a clear focus.
“I met Rick, a stallholder, at Paddy’s Market Haymarket and together we ran a good business selling jewellery,” Lynette recalls. “But by the recession times of the 1990s we needed to attend more markets to meet our weekly income needs and finding where the markets were was the problem.”
“Other stallholders wouldn’t tell you about good markets in case you became competition and in those days there was no internet to search. So we set out to solve this perceived problem with our own solution.”
They saw the need for a magazine which would provide stallholders with all relevant information of all markets in Australia.
Initially, Lynette and Rick researched and gathered information as best they could and produced a small 8 page booklet on Sydney markets for stallholders to be easily able to source outlets for their wares. The popularity of the publication was immediate and from this simple $2 black and white booklet in 1993 there’s been no stalling Australian Markets and Fairs magazine.
One hundred issues on and the magazine is still the most comprehensive guide to markets, fairs, stall holders, special events, agricultural shows and all associated facets of the industry available.
Local to National Coverage
Australian Markets and Fairs always had a clear focus – to bring all aspects of markets, fairs, stall holders, special events, agricultural shows and all associated facets of the industry together in one media place.
Within the first year of publication, the magazine grew to 100 pages, boasted a glossy colour cover, spot colour adverts and expanded to include Queensland and Victoria and within 18 months was nationwide with 144 pages.
Lynette and Rick’s efforts were acknowledged with the local Best New Business Award in 1994 and in 1999, Markets and Fairs won the Telstra and NSW Government Small Business Award for Commonwealth Micro Business of the Year.
During the 1990s many famous Australian faces including Angry Anderson, Kostya Tzyu, The Honourable Mr Olsen, Premier of South Australia and The Honourable Robert Carr MP Premier of NSW appeared in the magazine and Markets and Fairs was well on the way to success.
“When Rick passed away in 2007 I was driven to continue what we had started together and continue to support our stallholders, advertisers and by then the general public readership,” Lynette said. “I was fortunate to find a new partner, John, who knew the print industry and during his time with the business (John passed away from cancer in 2014) we developed our hugely popular website.”
Turning the Page
“Our website and magazine go hand in hand. But while the website has overtaken the magazine in usage, the hard copy magazine is still very viable, selling thousands of copies every issue,” Lynette said.
Australian Markets and Fairs Magazine is now in its 23rd year of circulation. Published and distributed quarterly, it is a comprehensive national guide to markets and events complete with a wholesale section ranging from insurance to traders required for markets and events and is available from newsagencies and via subscription.
“It’s a lot of work keeping up with the 1400 regular markets that occur across Australia and then there are the thousands of Special Events ranging from street fairs, food & wine fairs, agricultural shows,”
“But we have managed to stay, to this day, the only hardcopy magazine that services the market and event industry by keeping our prices minimal and working with our clients on what they can afford and what we can give them to best promote their markets and events.”
In the early years the business was designed for primarily stallholders but with the launch of the website, Australian Markets and Fairs has evolved as a valuable resource for the general public to find out where markets and events are happening.
Supporting Clients with Great Product
“To support stallholders, we introduced a fortnightly ‘Stallholders Wanted’ e-newsletter which gives markets and events an opportunity to specifically target stallholders to come to their events. This is currently being sent to over 7,000 people each fortnight and keeps growing,” Lynette said.
Australian Markets and Fairs has introduced very affordable packages, which they find are working well to give clients everything they require for the one annual price. This year will see Australian Markets and Fair launch their Blog to quickly connect with their customers with valuable information received from press releases, how to and the latest goss and trends from the market and event industry.
Evolving to Fair Times Ahead
One hundred issues on and Lynette is still editor of Australian Markets and Fairs and is still a guiding influence not only to staff and colleagues, but through the market community.
“From humble beginnings, Rick and I and later John and I, and our office staff have worked tirelessly to provide the best services we can. We work long hours to meet deadlines, but at the end of the day we do love what we do and love communicating with our clients on a daily basis,” Lynette said.
Australian Markets and Fairs is a classic example of a business evolving with the times, but the founder, Lynette Rayner, remains steadfast in her commitment and focus
“I never forget where it all began and what it’s all about – setting up a stall at 6am on a cold wet Saturday. That thought keeps me focussed on supporting our supporter,” Lynette reflected.