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The Next Asana Flea Market


Subi, Alfa and Tota in front of their booth
Subi, Alfa and Tota in front of their booth

On February 4, 2024, we – Tota, Subi and Alfa from the Training and Development Center Howrah – attended a flea market near Regent park in South Kolkata. We wanted to have a first professional experience selling clothes and learn to make new fashion designs. One of the Catalysts of the TDC Howrah Gwen was invited by her yoga teacher Rajendrani, and she offered us to join.


A flea market is a place where we can sell handmade things like books and clothes. It is important to keep the place very well organized to attract customers. We can also use different types of fabrics and techniques, which are very beautiful to look at. It makes them unique and different from the competitors.


How did you organize the flea market?

First, we had to plan the number of clothes we can make, how we will go to the market, how long it will take to go and how much it will cost. We decorated the flea market with a rope that we hung on the sides of the small room. We used beautiful lights and hangers for clothes. We arranged the clothes very nicely.


According to the size of the clothes, we can fix a price tag on it directly. It is very important to have very good practices in our team and in how we talk to the customers.


How did you go there?

First we took a bus from the TDC, which is a one hour journey. Then from there we again boarded a bus for 45 minutes. This was our first time going to this part of the city, so we were a bit lost. We used Google maps and called Rajendrani who helped. We reached the Flea Market place about 2 hours after leaving Howrah.

 

How did you feel? 

At first, we were a bit scared because we had no experience about selling at a flea market, how to take orders and handle the customer relationship after the event, but then we slowly learned how to call the customer and how to inform him when the order is ready. Now we can explain how to fix a price, how to buy the fabric we use and even how to stitch pleats (the folded edges of clothes).


Did you sell your product?

We did not sell the clothes that we brought with us at the market, but one customer came and said  “I like these two dresses but I need different sizes. Can I order the two dresses for February 16? I will come to take them at your center.” We agreed to produce them.


How did you manage the order? 

How we managed it was that first we went to the market to buy the fabric and negotiated for the price, then we sewed it. We were just in time to deliver the order. The customer was very happy with the result and the girls from Don Bosco Ashalayam who received the dress were happy too.



What did you learn from the experience?

At first when we went there, we did not like it because the place was completely new to us, and we got confused  because it was our first flea market. We also felt shy talking to people and we did not know how to behave. Then slowly everything got fine because Gwen and other people from the market helped us to get installed and talk to the customers. Fixing a price and negotiating with a customer was a difficult exercise but Gwen explained to us how to do it and after a few tries, we understood. To fix a price we need to know how much time we spent stitching and what is the value of our time, the price of the fabrics and the transportation to go to the flea market.


We learned from there how to prepare ourselves to go to another market where we can decorate very nicely and sell whatever clothes we want. We have experience in how to handle customers and convince them and handle our team to involve everyone.


Why did you like the flea market?

The market was great because we gained experience about how we could set prices, we learned that it can be long to wait for customers at a market. We developed our skills in public speaking, self-confidence and how to make full sentences in English. We also appreciated the Bengali music and tried new food.



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