By Michael Kanaabi Dollar
Makers of top-quality art and crafts, jewelry, high fashion and other products from Uganda, are teaming up with some of the leading exporters of high-value products including fresh and dried fruits, coffee, jewelry and other products to hold 3 open pop-up Christmas markets at the beginning of December
These are meant to give opportunities to buyers locally to partake of some of their wonderful high-quality products this Christmas season.
The group is made up of 50 plus vendors who sell nonfood domestic items like Christmas decorations, jewelry plus crafts and 20 plus food vendors all brought together under the Southside market Uganda.
This initiative took shape (the Southside market) back in 2020 led by Meg Jaquay and a group of other sellers with an aim of selling products to the expatriate community in Kampala mainly from the USA and Europe plus an elite group of Ugandans who really appreciate quality in the products they buy.
When will they happen?
Two locations have been singled out for these pop up markets and the first and last will take place at the Dancing Cup restaurant and café which is located on Luthuli Avenue in Bugolobi on the 2nd and 9th of December.
The other Christmas pop up market will take place on 3rd December in the beautiful suburbs of Entebbe at Muti Garden Café which is located on plot 12 Queen’s road Entebbe.
“The nature of the locations for these markets is in such a way that they happen at restaurants which have cafes specifically enabling shoppers beauty to enjoy brunch or lunch as part of their shopping experience, shop their groceries for the week and also have their Christmas shopping done in one place with their families and children too having some time to eat out and unwind” says Meg Jaquay.
20 different product categories of products will be on sale during this year’s edition of the Southside Christmas pop up markets. These include Christmas decorations with living Christmas trees as one of the planned products on sale, home décor, hair and body products, jewelry, upcycled items fashion and more.
For the farmers market which includes the food category, shoppers will have various high-quality meats, bakery, live plants, salsa, fruits and vegetables to mention but a few.
The holiday season is already taking shape so special items like Turkeys for American Thanksgiving will be on sale, for Christmas there is peppermint bark and Christmas fruit cake made with tropical fruit and banana wine.
This on top of lots of good Christmas flowers which include Christmas wreaths and hanging flowers to add some good décor to your celebrations this year.
Who will be selling at the Pop markets?
According to Meg Jaquay who is the Founder of Southside market and the lead organizer of the Southside Pop up markets, the sellers are a mix of small businesses, global brands and NGOs mainly supporting women’s groups to better their livelihoods.
Key among the sellers this time round include Quilting from Gulu which makes body throw-ons, Compassionate Women initiative from Jinja, Seeds and Stories from Fortportal which makes products from Natural banana fibre and supports the circular economy by ensuring all waste is used to make other products and Sewing projects which helps women who have been victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking start a new life as skills artisans.
More established brands like Akola jewelry which sells it’s products in the USA but started here in Jinja Uganda and Arise Kollections formerly Sseko which is also selling it’s products on the American market will also be present at the Southside Christmas pop-up markets this time round.
What is Unique about the Southside market?
Since the group got together back in 2020 they hold a farmers market every Saturday at Dancing cup restaurant and café in Bugolobi and they have done it consistently since then apart from the lockdowns when they had to sell the products entirely online.
This consistency and ensuring they sell only quality products to Ugandans, those visiting the country and the Expatriate community is part of what makes the difference for them.
One of the Southside market’s key aims is to cross-sell what Uganda is capable of producing and showing it off to audiences both locally and abroad, the bar was set high for members and sellers from the onset.
“ We set out to build a brand ‘Southside market’ with emphasis on quality and consistency which we consider to be the best way to attract and retain good customers both locally and outside Uganda besides getting lots of referrals,” Meg says.
This has also been carried into our recruitment of new sellers into the group as we have their products tested, appraised and checked thoroughly to ensure they meet the required quality when you apply.
In relation to the above Meg says they have encouraged the sellers in the market to put together gift sets of products that work together, especially for the Christmas market sales in order to give customers more value in a single package than would be any other ordinary seller.
The sellers are also consistently reminded to ensure the aesthetics and visual appeal of their products is top quality and this starts from the process of product making and finishing plus the packaging too as this makes people eagerly want to buy at first sight Meg added.
Santa Claus is coming to the markets
And to ensure the children have a great time too, Santa Claus is slated to show up for the Southside Christmas pop-up markets and will have a fun-filled day taking photos with the little ones besides giving them lots of candy and other goodies.
“There is going to be a surprise by Santa for a little girl from Mityana who is coming to the market with her wish being to have her brother back home for Christmas. Santa will work his magic and the little girl’s brother who works outside the country will show up then be able to fulfill her wish of spending Christmas with him” says Meg Jaquay the Southside market Founder and CEO.
Having started in January 2020 just before Covid hit a few months later, Meg and her fellow entrepreneurs and sellers within the Southside market set up a website www.southsidemarketug.com through which customers would be able to order products online and have them delivered which is still very active today.
They are also on social media as SouthSide Farmers market on Facebook and Instagram where you can check out some of the amazing products on sale.
And for the products ordered online one can pay using credit or debit card, cash upon delivery and mobile money as well not forgetting that one can also shop from the Southside farmers market that happens every Saturday from midmorning through the late afternoon for all quality, healthy and organic foods both local and imported.