Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s popular seasonal markets are hotspots for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, says local artist Darren Azgard.
The Hammersmith resident who – thanks to the experience gained at our markets in North End Road and King Street – recently got his first big break when he was asked to decorate part of the new £600million Westfield London expansion.
H&F Council aims to create the most positive environment for businesses to grow and succeed as outlined in its Industrial Strategy (pdf).
“The markets are a great place to learn what people like and how to take your business forward,” said Darren. “You quickly understand what customers want which is vital for entrepreneurs just starting out. I would recommend all young entrepreneurs to get down to the markets and start trading.”
Darren’s artwork, which its colourful imagery references White City, can be found at the entrance of the new Westfield extension.
“It hadn’t really sunk in how big a deal it was having my work on the new Westfield expansion until I began to tell people,” added the 34-year-old. “Their reaction brought home what a huge achievement it is for a local young artist to have their work displayed on the new Westfield.”
Darren has lived in the borough all his life and draws inspiration from his local surroundings with some of his most eye-catching digital and screen prints showcasing iconic H&F landmarks such as the Lyric Hammersmith, Olympia exhibition centre and The White Horse pub in Parsons Green.
He is currently working on a mural for the renowned 222 Vegan Cuisine restaurant in North End Road.
Another successful local entrepreneur, Yohannes Miller, who took part in the inaugural Hammersmith market in December, will shortly open the Dragon Cat Cafe in Hammersmith Broadway.
It will become the first place in the borough to offer authentic Taiwanese bubble tea, serving up freshly brewed tea in each cup sold.
This is the Hammersmith resident’s first business venture as well as for his business partner Yen-Ting. And the local businessman is grateful for the boost the traffic-free market gave his business.
“The Hammersmith market gave us the confidence we needed in starting our own business,” said Yohannes. “These markets are great for a completely new business. Customers were telling us that a bubble tea business was long overdue in the area and we sold well on the day.”
Before the market, Yohannes and Yen-Ting went over to Taiwan to do their research in traditional 100-year-old tea factories, and now source all their ingredients and machinery from there.
The hard work hasn’t stopped as the pair have completely gutted the empty unit within Hammersmith Broadway before Yen-Ting began putting the finishing touches to the venue.
“I’m going to need a whole new wardrobe,” joked Yohannes. “I’ve been covered in dust and dirt most days to get the shop ready. It’s been a steep learning curve but I’ve loved every minute.”
The Dragon Cat Cafe is scheduled to open later this month.
The second traffic-free Hammersmith Market in King Street and on Lyric Square returns on Saturday 26 May from 11am to 7pm.
There will be more than 100 stalls, a packed line-up of stage performances, street entertainment and a chance to eat your way around the world at the food quarter.
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