Saturday, November 4, 2017

How your home-based food business can participate in flea markets

We wrote about this before, and for the benefit of the multiple inquiries we've received lately on food products in our flea markets, we thought we should re-share this.

So If you are thinking of being a home-based food entrepreneur, and you're thinking of improving your business.  Here's what you can do:


In order for any merchants to sell food at flea markets, bazaars, trade fairs and events in Singapore, this is what you must know about Singapore regulations so that you do not violate them:


1. NEA Regulations pertaining to merchants selling food and food hygiene;
2. Restrictions of Home Base Business scheme;
3. Your Organiser's own operating policies



This is going to be wordy, but trust us you MUST know this if you are a food entrepreneur participating in flea markets and bazaars.




Under Section 35 of the Environmental Public Health Act, Chapter 95, no person shall promote, organise or stage any temporary fair, stage show or other such function or activity without first obtaining a permit from the Director-General of Public Health.


1. NEA REGULATIONS AND THE LAW 

NEA is the final government organisation to give their approval before Organisers can be allowed to stage any temporary fair, stage show or other function or activity.

Before this permit can be issued by NEA, here are the documents from other government agencies / organisations  NEA must see that Organisers must produce:

Approvals from:
  1. Fire Safety & Shelter Department, SCDF 
  2. Site owner
  3. Neighbourhood Police Post / Centre (for set-up of carnival rides/game stalls, if any)
  4. Energy Market Authority (for use of generator, if any)
  5. Land Transport Authority (Road Management Department)
  6. Land Transport Authority (Development & Building Control Division, if fair site is within 40m of MRT station/ rail structure)
  7. National Parks Board (for use of grass verge/ roadside tables, if any)
  8. Consensus from neighbourhood shopkeepers

​The proof of consensus from shopkeepers in the neighbourhood should be in the form of:

  • Letter from neighbourhood shopkeepers’ association, or
  • Written agreement signed by neighbourhood shopkeeper, or
  • Letter from Advisor stating that the shopkeepers have given consent

All Organisers whether private or government entities must apply for this permit 2 weeks ahead, which means, the respective documents from points 1 to 7 must be provided and applied for, at least 1 month or so ahead before applying for the NEA permit. 



SELLING FOOD AT FLEA MARKETS, BAZAARS, TRADE FAIRS & EVENTS


This is our compilation from public-domain information sources:

There are normally 3 types of food categories that are classified by NEA where it comes to food, trade fairs and events:

1. Pre-packed from licensed NEA source 

This refers to foodstuff that is packed and sealed in NEA approved premises.  Approved premises would be food factories, central kitchens, hawker stalls, bakeries, coffee shop stalls, restaurant kitchens and central kitchens. Home bakeries are not NEA licensed premises so therefore, disallowed.

All foodstuff from such approved NEA sources must also be properly labelled, including the date / time of expiry. 
For food that is packed by caterers or restaurants, the shelf life of the food is 4 hours and this too has to be labelled.

Foodstuff such as crackers, biscuits from Khong Guan, Oreo cookies are factory pre-packed and have proper labels.

If the pre-packed foodstuff to sell are imported, please ensure that these are imported by proper channels, including clearance from AVA. If you are buying from a supplier, please ensure that these are credible suppliers to protect yourselves.

http://www.ava.gov.sg/explore-by-sections/food/bringing-food-into-singapore-and-exporting/commercial-food-imports

2. Food prepared on the spot

This refers to food that is freshly prepared on-the-spot, such as Ramly Burgers you see at Pasar Malams, grilled sandwiches and coconut shakes, kebabs, satay, roti prata wraps etcetera.  A PUB water point connected to a sink and sewerage point is a must for each stall. (Imagine the of the costs involved to set these up),  because there is on-site food preparation and handling.

Food prepared on the spot must also have proper display casings, such as display chillers, food warmers, glass or transparent acrylic display shelves with doors.

​Please click the link below to see NEA's requirements from organisers in the application form:


http://www.nea.gov.sg/docs/default-source/services-and-forms/licences-permits-building-plan-clearances/trade-fair-application-form-(updated---04042016).pdf

3. Food that requires handling, for which you require a certified food handler

Food handling is a technical issue - it means when the server has to serve the food, e.g. taking a  bun from a steamer and putting it into the plastic is handling, scooping rice into a box is also handling, dispensing beverages from a bar gun, mixing cocktail drinks.are also handling. Using tongs, spoons, chopsticks, forks or spatulas to pack the food on site is also considered handling. 

Licensed food handlers are required to be at the stall to perform the food handling functions. To be licensed you need to attend a course on food handling and hygiene.

Here's a list http://www.wda.gov.sg/content/wdawebsite/L207-AboutWSQ/L301-WSQIndustryFramework-FoodandBeverage/WSQ_Follow_FnB_Safety_and_Hygiene_Policies_and_Procedures.html

Please click the link below:.

http://www.nea.gov.sg/public-health/food-hygiene
4. HDB / URA HOME BASED SMALL SCALE BUSINESS SCHEME

The Home Based Small Scale Business Scheme by HDB and URA allows residents to carry out activities in their HDB and private residential premises to supplement their income. Under this scheme, residents can prepare small quantities of food for sale to their friends and relatives without turning their residences into a commercial outlet.

A licence is not required from NEA. Nonetheless, residents preparing food under the scheme can refer to these guidelines on good hygiene tips to adopt.


What this means: You can't sell to the public, so you can't participate in flea markets to sell.... BUT you can participate in flea markets to provide sampling of your products and introduce your own brand... as well as to make friends!  Get them to become your Facebook, Instagram, Wechat, Snapchat friends! And then you can sell to them thereafter.

As long as you understand what the above 2 points mean, you'll be able to participate in our flea markets and bazaars without breaking any laws or government regulation.

5. YOUR ORGANISER'S OWN OPERATING POLICIES

Now that you know what happens behinds the scenes for Organisers to ensure you are able to legitimately conduct your business without the risk of legal repercussions, we leave it to your own judgement on what Organisers tell when you ask them about participating in their markets, as well as make your own business decision on participation.

TGIF Bazaars requires interested and qualified participants to provide the necessary relevant supporting documentation before participation.

Sometimes, due to curation and managing conflicts of interest, the answer may not be what you had wished for.

Too wordy above?  Here's the above information in a diagram


































Still too wordy?

Here's a summary if you want to participate in TGIF Bazaaars' markets

1. If you are selling commercial pre-packed food or snacks, you must produce proof of origin (i.e. paperwork that these products are produced in an NEA approved factory or licensed premise). You may also need to provide your own equipment to keep the pre-packed food in good condition.


2. If you are dealing with home-made food - You cannot sell such food products even though they are prepacked at our flea markets. 

BUT you can use our flea market to conduct market sampling, get them to like you on your facebook page, or as a point of collection for your friends who buy from you via social media or online or via apps such as Hcook.sg or Fieat.co .   

You must have a valid food handling certificate.

3. Your participation is subject to curation, and final approval by the organizer and venue owner. You agree to indemnify the organizer and venue owner of any damages that may arise as a result of your participation. 



If you have further questions, please feel free to check with us, OR you can check with NEA directly.

Cheers!
The Team from TGIF Bazaars

Friday, October 13, 2017

Unemployed? Here's what you can do when you're also looking for your next job


We've been hearing bad news about employment since 2016.

Many of us have lost jobs, and cannot find employment.



Retrieved Fri 13 Oct 2017. 1335 hrs
http://www.todayonline.com/business/singapore-airlines-transform-operations-and-reintegrate-cargo-business


Fri 31, Oct 2017, The Straits Times





May 5th, 2017
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/singapore-s-unemployment-rate-how-much-higher-could-it-rise-8818602



PM said in the May Day 2017  Rally that the our unemployment rate as of March 2017 will gradually go up.


Retrrieved from http://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Unemployment-Summary-Table.aspx Fri 13 Oct 2017 1335 hrs


The government has urged all Singaporean to go for re-skilling, retraining so we can find better jobs. Click on http://www.wsg.gov.sg/ for details. Loads of propaganda have been spread about this.

But reality sets in:

Does that assure me that we will get jobs? One module of coding isn't going to make me an expert that would gain the attention of recruiters? And we're competing with so many others!

We have mouths to feed, bills and mortages to pay, how would I be able to sell my time in exchange for wages that are not enough even for bare minimum subsistence?

Now, let's give ourselves and the hiring companies the benefit of the doubt and assume that the willing able able employers:

1) would hire us after we're retrained and re-certified?
2) pay us enough.

What if companies are suffering themselves, like SIA, and SPH ?


My friends, this is where you also have to help yourself.

Get back to basics where making a living is concerned. Balance this with your high capital, high risk ventures. 

Get something to sell ! Especially what people would buy, or have to buy 

Make something to sell ! Especially what people MUST buy - necessities, food etc.

Price your products so that people will buy!

Start your own small flea market business. Put whatever experience and knowledge you've acquired in your previous jobs to good use.

Exploit your social media skills - use it to market your business.
Monetize your hobbycraft !
Sell your pre-loved fashion !
Be a home chef - you can sell your food through apps such as https://www.fieat.co/ !
Be a private hire driver (if you have your own vehicle)

You'll have to think about the above yourself - remember you have your own skills and abilities. 

But if you're not sure about this, or would like to pick up a hobbycraft or culinary skill visit http://www.onepa.gov.sg to find out about the courses community centres offer!



In case you didn't know, TGIF Bazaars has basic booths that are suitable for new entrepreneurs!  Visit www.tgifbazaars.com and mouse over to Our Bazaars to find out more!



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Why serious flea market businesses should also go online, and online business should go physical.

Our good friend Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba has opened their first brick and mortar shopping mall in China.


https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/05/alibaba-reportedly-set-to-open-its-first-physical-mall-in-china.html

For those of you who do not know what Alibaba.com is about, this is the Asian mother of all e-commerce platforms. It started off linking buyers directly to manufacturers, and later on it created Taobao and Tmall to link consumers to sellers.

Since then we've heard the likes of shopping web/app sites such Lazada (now owned by Alibaba), Qoo10, Rakuten (out of Singapore market), Carousell, Shopee, Etsy etc etc, some of which have closed their operations.

Their western equivalent is Amazon, who set up their Asia HQ in Singapore. They haven't set up a physical store as well, but we think eventually they would.

If you recall we already professed that every business that sells direct to consumers must have both online and offline presence - we call it O & O whilst the others are still calling it O2O. (Why we weren't quoted by the big name media is simply because, we're not Jack Ma. heh).

We've learnt that as long as a person is famous and rich, all his words would be taken as holy scriptures by many.

So we'll explain why.

ONLINE - it's the trend. Almost every mother father son daughter in the urbanised world has a mobile device that's connected to the internet. We can assume the same for laptops and computers. So going online is going with the trend. 

It's where you reach out to more potential customers. It's where you portray your brand personality. It's where people can buy from you even at 2 am in the morning when you're asleep. It's where people from another time zone with internet connectivity and where freight forwarders and delivery guys service can place their orders, and pay you when you're just about to wake up.

So that your flea market business can have a global reach.  The possibilities are LIMITED by what you have to offer for sales, especially if you are a trader type (buy stuff to sell).   If you are a producer type (make or UPCYCLE things to sell), the global reach would benefit you more.

Sometimes these folks pay so much money to SEO agencies that whatever you google or search it comes up in your first page - IRRITATING isn't it?  

And when your eyesight begins failing when you reach a certain age, you decide that going to the mall would be more relaxing for you - and you get some exercise walking. heh

Then there's social media advertising.




OFFLINE - this is where you set up your flea market booths and sell to the people who are physically there.  You get a chance to showcase your products to real life people - let them touch feel, try, taste, smell your products out before they make their purchase. It's where you let your brand personality shine by behaving the way you say your brand does.

You reach out to a group of skeptical shoppers who insist on seeing the real thing before they buy.
And you get to shake your customers' hands and thank them with a smile.  If you already have an online business you can invite them to view your products at the flea markets.

You reach out to a group of potential customers who are customers of complementary sellers, or even competitors.

That's what markets, flea or otherwise are about - gathering of sellers who offer lots of stuff, sometimes similar or identical for sale. Which is also why larger markets, with wider offerings and superior experiences will attract more shoppers. 

(Retail mall landlords who use flea markets to draw footfall - take note : you will have to lift your curation requirements if you really want flea markets to contribute footfall to your malls).

SHOPPERS LOVE CHOICE


If you analyse this, it's really about the experiences shoppers get at flea markets.  And loads of shoppers buy on impulse.

If you expect to do well at a flea market using the same method running an online business (i.e. sit back relax and hope that SEO will do its job), well you're wrong.    Bringing your offline business into flea markets requires you to adopt new tactics.  

Because you're facing a different set of human psychology altogether. You've got to create moments where you can captivate, capture or engage your customers.  Like how the uncles and and aunties would gather around the morning market stalls.  

There is a 'show and tell' element involved.  How can you have a 'Show and tell' element that engages or captivates your customers?




It is our conviction that for any flea market, or retail business to be successful, it must be present both Online AND Offline.

If you're serious about profiting from this model, it's not too late to start.  

Come chat with us at the Sentosa Boardwalk Bazaar where we are every weekend.











Monday, July 31, 2017

Venue report updates as at 31 Jul 2017

Venue report updates : Please refer to text in red:


S/No.
Venue
Dates
Operating hours
Demographics
Description / Recommendation
1
Sentosa Boardwalk Bazaar
Every Sat and Sun
Sat: 3 – 11 pm
Sun: 11 am – 9 pm
A lightly curated market.
We are into our 5th year th the Sentosa Boardwalk, every weekend.

Estimated 15,000 per weekend (Sat and Sun) based on and calculations by TGIF Bazaars and verified by statistics provided by Sentosa Island.

Families with (young to grown up kids), teenagers, working adults, courting couples, tourists, staff of establishments in Sentosa)

Tourist- locals ratio each weekend also depends on whether there are major events taking place in Sentosa or RWS).
The presence of tourists means that customers are fresh – who are unlikely to have made purchases from you before.
The presence of locals there means that there are repeat visitors and customers – who are likely to have seen your products before.
Shoppers there look for affordably priced products, as well as bargains. Has good natural footfall as it is situated between Vivo City and Sentosa Island. It is our flagship bazaar. (5th year and running).

Shoppers have spent up to $50 per product there.

Recommendations as a platform for:
       Retailpreneurs and businesses with both online and physical presence to reach out to new customers.
       Marketing / activation platform
       Lead generation and promotional activities.

2
TGIF Bazaars @ ONE KM MALL regular editions
Alternate weekends, twice a month, Fri – Sun
Fri : 4- 10.00 pm
Sat : 12 - 10.00 pm
Sun : 12 - 10.00 pm
A moderately curated market.
We’ve been there for 2 years, twice a week.

Estimated outdoor traffic of 12,000 per weekend (Fri – Sun).
Comprising of 85% of local families, some of who are residents of Tanjong Katong area and 15% expatriate families.
Fashion, accessories, gadgets, toys.
Customers have spent up to $50 per item.
3
United Square Mall Bazaar
Postponed till year end to become a period of festive market
to be advised
A heavily curated market.
From our 1st 2 editions there, crowd comprises of 90% locals – families who send their kids there for enrichment classes, and who patronize the eating establishments there.
To be advised after our 3rd edition there.
Collectibles and artisan products appear to be doing ok there.
4
Katong Square Artisans’ Bazaar
Every last weekend of the month
Fri : 4 - 10pm
Sat: 2pm - 10pm
Sun : ​11am - 9 pm
A moderately curated market.
Our 5th and 6th edition there at the time of producing this document.

Estimated outdoor traffic of 3,000 to 5,000 (Fri – Sun).

Comprising of diners of the restaurants there guests of malay weddings held at the ballroom, hotel guests, residents of katong who dine there and shop at I12 Katong
Mix of fresh and repeat visitors.
Ladies jewelry, fashion, collectibles, vintage items, artisan collectibles have proven to do well there.

Customers have spent up to $75 per item at our market and $200 for vintage collectibles at another market held there.
5
The Grandstand is FUN Suburban Flea
Once a month, check website for details
Sat 1030 - 1900
 Sun: 1030 - 1900
A lightly curated market.
Provided by venue:
Weekend crowd for Sat and Sun : 5,000

60% expatriates, 50% locals. They go there for breakfast, lunch and dinner in  the restaurants there such as Ah Yat Abalone, Pasar Bella, Tung Luk restaurant.  Children attend enrichment programs in the centers there and there are plenty of car dealerships there.

More repeat visitors than fresh visitors.
During our 2nd edition, we note the following:

Crowd for indoors:

Sat :
1030 - 1430 : breakfast to lunch crowd;

1430 - 1700 : lull - a handful of folks having afternoon tea there.

17:00 - 20:00 : Dinner crowd.

Sun

1030 - 1430 : breakfast to lunch crowd;

1430 - 1700 : more bustling compared to to Sat

17:00 - 20:00 : Dinner crowd.

Note : Fashion, toys (because of the children), jewelry and accessories sell well, but we also have feedback that the customers there can be quite picky - i.e they prefer products that are more exquisite - so please put some effort in your product display.

Crowd outdoors : unable to determine as we didn't do outdoors in 2nd edition.
SP1
Special Project :
The Sentosa Merlion Plaza Artisans Bazaar
Daily 14 Jul – 29 Aug for first series
Daily : 1630 - 2200
A heavily curated market.
Strategic location – natural gathering and photo op for tourists and visitors to Sentosa.
Located at the confluence human traffic of Sentosa Express, Merlion Cable Car Station and Resort World Sentosa.
Fresh customers every day, except for staff working in Sentosa.
The crowd there consists of 80% tour guided groups, 10% free and independent travelers and 10% locals.

Weekend crowds are obviously better but it doesn't necessarily translate into better sales compared to weekdays.

Customers have been reported to spend from $10 to more than $100 per item there.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Entrepreneurs... we'll let you in on a secret.

Pssst !|


We foreseen the situation with the retail scene a couple of years back (please read our blog archives). And today we're seeing greater evidence that shopping mall management are shifting their mindset, from the surge in demand that we're experiencing.

Without dwelling into more boring details, this is the type of products we see for the next 2-3 years that would sell

Artisanal story telling - artisan products with stories to tell, not mass produced.

Handcraft products - made by entrepreneurs themselves - consumers want to see proof that these are made by themselves

Customised products - could be handicrafts that can be fully or semi-customised to customers' needs.

Hipster Foods - fads that come and go - we saw coconuts, melons, mangos... what next - honeydews, papayas or..... but HEY ! Can someone please come up with hipster halal chee cheong fun?

You are entrepreneurs.

Sell what you want to sell, or sell what people want to buy.   You decide. ;)




Thursday, June 29, 2017

An analysis of our current venues : Updated 31 Jul


Our bones are still aching from our Ramadan Flea at ONE KM MALL, and our team is still recuperating... heh.


It hints of our ages... *bleah*

Any how we took some time to complete what we had started prior to Hari Raya, so here it is!


S/No.
Venue
Dates
Operating hours
Demographics
Description / Recommendation
1
Sentosa Boardwalk Bazaar
Every Sat and Sun
Sat: 3 – 11 pm
Sun: 11 am – 9 pm
A lightly curated market.
We are into our 5th year th the Sentosa Boardwalk, every weekend.

Estimated 15,000 per weekend (Sat and Sun) based on and calculations by TGIF Bazaars and verified by statistics provided by Sentosa Island.

Families with (young to grown up kids), teenagers, working adults, courting couples, tourists, staff of establishments in Sentosa)

Tourist- locals ratio each weekend also depends on whether there are major events taking place in Sentosa or RWS).
The presence of tourists means that customers are fresh – who are unlikely to have made purchases from you before.
The presence of locals there means that there are repeat visitors and customers – who are likely to have seen your products before.
Shoppers there look for affordably priced products, as well as bargains. Has good natural footfall as it is situated between Vivo City and Sentosa Island. It is our flagship bazaar. (5th year and running).

Shoppers have spent up to $50 per product there.

Recommendations as a platform for:
       Retailpreneurs and businesses with both online and physical presence to reach out to new customers.
       Marketing / activation platform
       Lead generation and promotional activities.

2
TGIF Bazaars @ ONE KM MALL regular editions
Alternate weekends, twice a month, Fri – Sun
Fri : 4- 10.00 pm
Sat : 12 - 10.00 pm
Sun : 12 - 10.00 pm
A moderately curated market.
We’ve been there for 2 years, twice a week.

Estimated outdoor traffic of 12,000 per weekend (Fri – Sun).
Comprising of 85% of local families, some of who are residents of Tanjong Katong area and 15% expatriate families.
Fashion, accessories, gadgets, toys.
Customers have spent up to $50 per item.
3
United Square Mall Bazaar
Postponed till year end to become a period of festive market
to be advised
A heavily curated market.
From our 1st 2 editions there, crowd comprises of 90% locals – families who send their kids there for enrichment classes, and who patronize the eating establishments there.
To be advised after our 3rd edition there.
Collectibles and artisan products appear to be doing ok there.
4
Katong Square Artisans’ Bazaar
Every last weekend of the month
Fri : 4 - 10pm
Sat: 2pm - 10pm
Sun : ​11am - 9 pm
A moderately curated market.
Our 5th and 6th edition there at the time of producing this document.

Estimated outdoor traffic of 3,000 to 5,000 (Fri – Sun).

Comprising of diners of the restaurants there guests of malay weddings held at the ballroom, hotel guests, residents of katong who dine there and shop at I12 Katong
Mix of fresh and repeat visitors.
Ladies jewelry, fashion, collectibles, vintage items, artisan collectibles have proven to do well there.

Customers have spent up to $75 per item at our market and $200 for vintage collectibles at another market held there.
5
The Grandstand is FUN Suburban Flea
Once a month, check website for details
Sat 1030 - 1900
 Sun: 1030 - 1900
A lightly curated market.
Provided by venue:
Weekend crowd for Sat and Sun : 5,000

60% expatriates, 50% locals. They go there for breakfast, lunch and dinner in  the restaurants there such as Ah Yat Abalone, Pasar Bella, Tung Luk restaurant.  Children attend enrichment programs in the centers there and there are plenty of car dealerships there.

More repeat visitors than fresh visitors.
During our 2nd edition, we note the following:

Crowd for indoors:

Sat :
1030 - 1430 : breakfast to lunch crowd;

1430 - 1700 : lull - a handful of folks having afternoon tea there.

17:00 - 20:00 : Dinner crowd.

Sun

1030 - 1430 : breakfast to lunch crowd;

1430 - 1700 : more bustling compared to to Sat

17:00 - 20:00 : Dinner crowd.

Note : Fashion, toys (because of the children), jewelry and accessories sell well, but we also have feedback that the customers there can be quite picky - i.e they prefer products that are more exquisite - so please put some effort in your product display.

Crowd outdoors : unable to determine as we didn't do outdoors in 2nd edition.
SP1
Special Project :
The Sentosa Merlion Plaza Artisans Bazaar
Daily 14 Jul – 29 Aug for first series
Daily : 1630 - 2200
A heavily curated market.
Strategic location – natural gathering and photo op for tourists and visitors to Sentosa.
Located at the confluence human traffic of Sentosa Express, Merlion Cable Car Station and Resort World Sentosa.
Fresh customers every day, except for staff working in Sentosa.
The crowd there consists of 80% tour guided groups, 10% free and independent travelers and 10% locals.

Weekend crowds are obviously better but it doesn't necessarily translate into better sales compared to weekdays.

Customers have been reported to spend from $10 to more than $100 per item there.