Q&A with Kelly Conway aka Queen of the Markets

 

Super Market is now one of Glasgow's biggest and most loved regular independent trader markets, run by Kelly Conway who has a passion for all things markets and small business. 

Super Market is a successful, affordable and friendly platform for small businesses to meet the public and sell directly to them, a step which can be vital and often missed when setting up a creative small business. 

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Hey Kelly! Can you tell us a little about your work and what you get up to?
I run market style events. I bring together from 20 up to 70+ of the very best independent businesses alongside amazing street food and drink all in one place for the public to enjoy. I host the events in different venues all over Glasgow. 

What's your favourite part of your job? What's your why?

I’m going to answer these two questions in one - nothing feels better than when a small business does amazingly through one of my events. The whole point of what I do is to encourage the public to spend their money carefully, locally and with small business in mind. Small acts of careful spending can be make break small businesses and this leads to a huge impact on our local economy. Just today I had a message from one of our stallholders - we had an event at a local University as part of our freshers activity and they took part. The University Union has since placed a HUGE order with them having learned about them through the event. That for me is why I do it; I’ll be celebrating that one.

My events are created to be a springboard for small businesses to grow and develop, the idea is that a small business becomes a medium business, perhaps with a premises and no longer needs us and makes room for the next small business - that’s success for me! 

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Where has your job taken you?

My job is very localised, so really I spend most of my business life in Glasgow. But I am fine with that as the flexibility of working for myself means I get to travel. So I guess not being tied to a desk has taken me to Berlin, LA, Amsterdam, Malaga, Paris amongst other places … I would rather work on a beach any day.

In what ways do you think online communities like The Collective are important for freelance creatives?

I would say for me it would be the ‘keep going’ and ‘being held accountable aspect’ of supportive communities. We have all had, and will continue to have, moments where we want to pack it all in. Money is tight, hours are long, someone is mean to you, you feel you are not good enough and it is tempting to just quit - but having a community surrounding you stops you from packing it all in, you can discuss it with them, it keeps you going and makes you want to try harder. 

It is also a fantastic place to discuss, without judgement or shame. In the early days I had a bad review from someone who just really didn’t ‘get’ my events, it really got to me, but I shared it on an online community group, they encouraged me to draw up a response - the person ended up taking down the review … which is a lot more constructive then me just getting upset in private!

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I am hoping my work within The Collective acts a little like the work for Super Market, acting as a springboard for businesses and helping them to grow - if I can help the members grow to the next level, then I will be happy.
— Kelly Conway

What excites you the most about being a mentor in The Collective?

I can’t wait to meet everyone who is part of the group, I find small businesses so inspiring and I am sure I will learn such a lot from everyone. I am hoping my work within The Collective acts a little like the work for Super Market, acting as a springboard for businesses and helping them to grow - if I can help the members grow to the next level, then I will be happy.


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Kelly is one of our brilliant mentors in this year’s Collective