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Why start your business in a bazaar?

October is bazaar month on
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Bazaars and their bazaarista merchants have become part of the Philippine business landscape practically the whole year round. This is because as one of the interviewees for this special report says, “No matter if the economy sucks, women will always find a way to shop.”

Bazaars provide great entrepreneurial opportunities for people who are thinking of leaving the corporate grind or who just want to live out their dream of earning from their hobbies. Indeed, bazaars are not only a good way to start businesses on shoestring budgets; they are also a good place for testing and tweaking a product before launching it in bigger markets.

Some bazaar businesses expand to become full-time pursuits and build enough capital to open full-fledged stores, while others see their owners unable to hack it and are forced back to their day jobs. When the latter happens, though, one’s losses in the gamble is not as bad as when one opens a regular mall store that eventually doesn’t make money.

Putting up a bazaar, of course, could be the quickest way to get noticed by the bigger bazaar organizers, which are forever scouting around for more up-and-coming businesses for even bigger bazaar events. The relationship between the bazaarista, the bazaar manager, and the bazaar crowd is therefore largely symbiotic—the well-known bazaars bring in the bazaar crowds for the bazaaristas, and the bazaar crowds provide a growing stream of buyers that prompts the bazaar managers to schedule more and even bigger bazaars.

Ultimately, however, uniqueness and creativity is the name of the game in the bazaar businesses.

For bazaar organizers, this means being able to come up with a bazaar event with a crystal-clear identity and an arresting concept, whether it is simply to promote the Christmas gift-giving spirit or to promote various products of Filipino ingenuity. Among bazaaristas, on the other hand, this means being truly innovative in their product selection and merchandising and keeping themselves sharply focused on satisfying choosy and fickle customers.

This article was originally published in the September 2008 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines.


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