Steampunk has one fundamental rule – be nice to one another. This is especially important where trading is concerned. Steampunk traders are potentially competing for money from buyers. This can easily lead to upset and unpleasantness so sticking to these guidelines on how to be nice is essential. So much so that breaches of them will unfortunately mean that you are not invited back to trade at any Leeds Steampunk Market. In extreme cases you may be asked to leave immediately.

We will also take into account behaviour at other events, public places and online such as social networking sites, forums and websites when compiling invitation lists. We will not tolerate trolling (online bullying) of any form.

Invitations to trade may be rescinded accordingly.

Communicating: Please ensure all written communication is confirmed by email. Initial interest through Facebook is fine but trying to keep track on conversations on there proves to be impossible. Instant messaging is no easier to track than a thread of comments on a post.

Owing to the varied nature and layout of the event venues (owing to their listed status), you must advise of any mobility or health issues (well in advance) which may impact upon where your pitch is located.

A couple of days before the event I will email all traders with full loading in and setting up details along with my mobile number. If you experience any problems on the day itself, contact me by text. Do NOT try to contact me by Facebook in any way - I really do not have time to go online on that morning!

Pitch fees: Payment must be made quickly once you receive your invoice and if necessary we can be flexible to allow payment in instalments as required (by agreement). However your pitch is not confirmed until full payment has been made. Pitch fees are not normally refundable. However under extreme exceptional circumstances (subject to re-letting your pitch) your pitch fee may be carried forward to a future event.

Product lines: Once you have advised of your stock lines, you cannot assume to deviate and bring completely different products either as an alternative or in addition. I go to great lengths to ensure that I do not put two traders selling similar lines near each other (hats, fascinators, jewellery, goggles, leather etc). It is extremely awkward to find myself suddenly faced with two traders selling exactly the same thing. I also monitor how many people I have each doing certain lines so that the market has a balanced and diverse product offer.

You are CERTAINLY not allowed to fill your pitch with anything else you have made that would be better suited at a general craft fair or any bits and pieces you find at home that you wish to sell. (That is what eBay, flea markets and car boot sales are for!) If you don't have enough to sell of the previously agreed lines, then think twice before booking and plan your creativity to fill your pitch for another LSM event instead.

Stall sharing: LSM selects traders carefully to give everyone a fair chance of making sales and making money. Our markets are also usually subsidised in price to help you have a more profitable experience. Stall sharing (booking one stall and sharing it with another trader who puts their own stock on sale on your stall whether they are there or not) is not allowed without prior permission as this will impact upon stock lines (see above). If you wish to carry lines from another trader you must discuss this at the time of booking before your pitch is confirmed.

Arriving: You must arrive at the correct time; we appreciate that travel arrangements can be impacted on by heavy traffic etc. Ensure you allow plenty of time for your journey taking this into account. It may not be possible to allow you to set up if you arrive too late (ie after the building has opened to the public due to Health and Safety rules). Of course we cannot always avoid delays and problems. If you cannot attend at all please let us know at the earliest opportunity. On event days we do not get a chance to go online so use the phone number supplied with load in instructions.

Setting up: Make sure you check in with myself, my husband or any other designated staff when you arrive and before you start to set up. (This includes outdoor “static exhibitors”). There is always the chance of last minute changes etc and it is inconvenient and time consuming when traders set up in the wrong place. If you arrive early, before us, please be patient and wait.

You and your stall MUST be set up and ready to trade by the time our opening hours commence.

Charity donation: We ask that all traders each donate a little something for the fundraising charity or cause that is with us for the weekend please. Make sure you have a tag or business card attached to your donation so people can see who made it.

Trading: You are encouraged to dress up yourself and your set accordingly. Obviously not everyone has the means or the money to look "full on steampunk" from day one - be presentable or creative with what you have to at least look like you've made an effort and want to be there.

As a stall holder, you and you alone are responsible for your pitch. Other traders may agree to watch your stall for you when you want to pop to the toilet or for a quick cigarette/cuppa but do bear in mind this may impact on their own sales by doing so. Bringing someone with you to assist is a good idea as means you can deal with more than one customer at a time and will also make your load in/out quicker and easier. Be mindful of the fact that this does not mean you can disappear from your pitch for extended periods of time.

All traders must stay open right up until the designated closing time - please check each event as it may be different. Even if the building has all but emptied of the public, you still stay open. There may be a last minute arrival that turns up to shop making a difference to your profit for the day. To be honest, the last hour of the day proves to be very profitable as traders go off on a quick wander to spend their own hard earned takings. This last hour or so is not to be used to start closing down.

Packing up: If by some chance you have sold out of stock and wish to leave early, come and find us to ask if it is okay for you to do so. If you only have small items such as bags this may be permissible however if you have larger items such as suitcases, table, shelving etc this will not be allowed due to Health & Safety as the building will still be open to the public.

If it is noticed you have packed up your stall early and sneaked out without speaking to us, this is considered extremely impolite and will most likely not be invited back to trade again.

Not to mention the fact it is very unprofessional and unfair on the other traders as you spoil the atmosphere and ambience of your area. If you notice another trader packing up early, please don't be afraid to point out to them the error of their ways. We're not saying clash heads - just point out to them "we don't close til 5 and it is in the T&Cs that there is no packing up early" or whatever. (I know half the traders don't bother reading all of this judging by the questions I get asked...)

Loading and unloading: Access is often a problem. It is very inconsiderate to leave your vehicle near the doors when you are not actually loading or unloading.

Unload from your vehicle fully (putting your load where you have been told to put it) then move your vehicle away from the doors before you take your stuff to your pitch to set up. When leaving pack everything down and move it to the assigned doorway so it is ready to go before you move your vehicle closer to the door. Move it as soon as you are packed.

It is important that you do not block access with boxes of stock etc. You should unload into your stall space not the walkways between stalls. When you are packing or unpacking stick within your space.

Security: When you check in you will be given a trader’s pass. This identifies you as a trader. Retain it and wear it somewhere visible for the duration of the market. People without passes are not ordinarily permitted in market spaces during set up. This is for your protection since it is at this time that theft is most likely to happen. If you see someone without a pass then ask them to leave until the market opens and if necessary contact the event management. This is also your identification that gains you discount at our own food concessions (tearoom and hot food traders).

Space: Stick to your space. Do not assume you can expand into “gaps” around you whether it is on the ground or on the walls. This expansion inevitably impacts upon other traders or accessibility. It may also break the terms of agreements with venues or their health and safety policies. If there is a gap you would like to expand into please ask first. The only exception would be if we advise you beforehand that we have an unexpected space next to you that would be nicer filled than left empty.

Furniture: Where there is furniture for you to use make sure you share and don’t take too many items.

Notices and signs: You are welcome to put up signs advertising your business in your own booked space. Banners etc are a great idea. Please ensure any advertising or promoting is confined to your allocated trading area and not impairing the view of other traders.

Floats: It is your own responsibility to ensure you have an adequate float for the duration of the whole day/s. It may not be possible for other traders to bail you out if you run out of change and it is not acceptable to make sundry purchases from the venue’s cafe, admission area or shop in order to top up your deficiency as they are the first point of contact to the public and thus are likely to be under the most pressure for change.

Promoting other events: You are welcome to promote other events you will be trading at by having flyers on your pitch for your next event etc. However please ask first as a matter of courtesy (especially if your next event conflicts with one of our own).

Interrupting: When nearby traders are speaking to customers it can be very tempting to join the conversation. You should be careful not to do so unless you are sure you are not interrupting. It is extremely bad form to suggest you may have an alternative product which may be of interest to the customer until they move on to look at your stall.

Obstructions: During the course of trading avoid blocking the front of stalls (especially other people’s). If you are standing chatting to friends then find a space to do this. You should not set up chairs out in front of your stall or in the walkways between stalls.

The Law: You have a legal responsibility to make sure that your goods are of merchantable quality and are fit for purpose. You must comply with all trading and business regulations and be able to give receipts and your address and contact details. You should be aware of and stick to specific regulations that may have an effect upon your business e.g. the VCRA (Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006) and regulations on the sale of knives and blades, licensing laws and food hygiene and trading laws. You should have the appropriate Public Liability Insurance (proof of which needs to be provided in advance) as well as PAT test certificates for anything more than two years old and carry proof of it on the day.

Please click on the Legal Stuff tab for more information.

Weapons policy: If you are selling bladed items, replica firearms or similar, these must comply with current legislation. We do not advocate their open display other than to specific customers wherein they may be viewed by them safely. Please be aware of others around you when doing so. Do NOT be waving it about or showing it off as you will (understandably) be making the other people around you very nervous. We have a strict no weapon policy which must be adhered to at all times so please advise your customers at the time of the sale and ensure you have sufficient bags to put them in.

There is a section on here dedicated to our weapons policy.

Please follow this link for further information.

Conclusion: Be considerate when you are trading. This usually means that people will watch your stall for you when you want to pop to the toilet or for a quick cigarette and will let you know if they see a shoplifter. It also means you have a more enjoyable weekend. Where money is involved then tensions can increase. It can be distressing to see someone else making sales when yours are slow etc. It is essential that you stick to these etiquette guidelines since they serve to avoid tensions and make the weekend a much more pleasant experience for everyone.

Traders tips: Stay friendly and smile lots. Chat and be pleasant rather than trying to sell. The sales will happen. If you sit behind your stall and gossip with your friend, read a newspaper or book, play on your phone or glare at people then you won’t make sales. Stand up (when and where possible) to make eye contact and deal with customers.

If you think some of these terms sound familiar then you are correct. Many thanks to Major Thadeus Tinker and Lady Elsie for allowing me to plagiarise their Victorian Steampunk Society’s own Steampunk Markets Traders’ Etiquette.



Please remember, trading at LSM is a privilege as trading positions are nearly always oversubscribed.

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