Putting Up A Tiangge Business
Nov 28,2010 6 Comments
Tiendesitas. It calls itself a tiangge—a flea market or, if you prefer a more elegant term, a bazaar.
But instead of the ridiculously cheap goods usually found in other well-known tiangges such as the 168 Mall in Divisoria, the Tiendesitas flea market features pricey antiques, high-quality local handicrafts, and other items targeted towards the upper class.
Located on C-5 road—with Eastwood City, The Fort, Valle Verde, and Acropolis in close proximity—this outdoor shopping complex covers 30,000 square meters of Ortigas land and features 12 stylized bahay kubos with Maranao-inspired design.
Each giant bahay kubo is part of a Tiendesitas “village,” and there are eight of them: the Handicrafts Village and the Fashion Village, where you can find fashion accessories as well as home décor; the Personal Care and Novelties Village, full of organic soaps, lotions, oils, incense, etc.; the Garden Village, with its stock of orchids, potted plants, and trees; the Antiques Village; the Furniture Village; the Food Village, where you can get various Filipino delicacies such as suman, lechon, puto bumbong, and sisig; and my kids’ favorite, the Pets Village, swarming with not just adorable dogs of all shapes, sizes, and sounds, but also exotic pets such as box turtles, iguanas, tarantulas, even snakes!
The name of the game
Like all tiangges, Tiendesitas is a treasure trove of goods you can’t normally find in regular shopping malls.
And though the average pricing in Tiendesitas may be somewhat higher, the deals waiting to be made are still better (read: cheaper) than regular malls can offer. Because, like in all tiangges, haggling is the name of the game.
This is the tiangge advantage for the consumer: if you’re looking for the best quality goods at the best (i.e. lowest) possible price, you can usually find them in a tiangge.
And if you’re a seller looking for a stall spot that costs less than those in a regular mall but still has an excellent amount of foot traffic, then a tiangge is a good option for you.
Now, what would it take to start selling in a tiangge?
First, of course, you need capital. The startup cost of selling in a tiangge is minimal compared to buying a full-fledged franchise. Village and school tiangges offer the cheapest rates, while hotels and other prestigious flea market haunts can cost you more.
The startup cost includes your per-day payment of the space, which can range from Php500 to Php20,000—the amount will depend on how long the tiangge will run.
If you want something more long-term than a few weeks, you could check out the more permanent tiangge fixtures, such as Tutuban Mall’s night market, Greenhills Shopping Center, and St. Francis Square.
Because the tiangge format is so casual, tiangge owners sometimes don’t even bother to do their legal paperwork. In some places like Quiapo and Baclaran, many stall owners don’t carry business permits.
However, it is always much more prudent to secure your papers before starting to sell, even with an “informal” tiangge stall.
Another thing you should be wary of is the danger of transacting with the wrong people. It can happen—and has happened—that a stranger would pose as an authority at the venue, collecting fees without the owner’s knowledge. Needless to say, if you pay your rental fee to unauthorized people, you can say good-bye to your money.
To prevent this, make sure you personally meet the venue owners and always transact directly with them or, if that is too inconvenient, with a representative they have personally introduced to you. Some high-end tiangge venue hosts also give their stall owners and all representatives IDs for heightened safety. This way, you can be sure that you are paying your dues to the right person.
Now the big question: what do you sell? Most tiangges have a motif: second-hand clothes, mobile phones, handicrafts, etc., and you would, of course, be best advised to stay within or near that motif.
In fact, some tiangge organizers require that you provide them with sample products and be reviewed as an applicant before actual start of the tiangge.
But as we’ve mentioned before, tiangges do allow you more leeway in choosing your products than regular malls do. You can generally sell the most outlandish things, from 80s clothes to frogskin wallets to antique LP (long-playing) records. Again, your main consideration would be the venue (would the most likely patrons be able to afford or would find interest in your items?) and the motif (don’t try to sell your 80s clothes in a cake-bake tiangge, but you may be able to find patrons at an organic food one).
It will be most helpful if, for a month or so before you sell, you research on the area and see what particular items are crowd favorites there. Thinking of your consumer ahead of time will increase your chances of getting the revenues that you want.
Tiangge selling can last from days to weeks, and in short-term setups, it is best to sell items that are not too perishable in case they do not get sold.
Managing your tiangge business
If you have chosen a tiangge at an accessible location, and if you have secured a nice spot to lease in it, you are instantly assured of consumer traffic. There are always buyers in a tiangge, especially when major holidays, such as the Christmas season, are approaching.
Of course, it’s highly likely that your fellow sellers will have almost the same wares and almost the same prices in their stall. Therefore, you should have a plan on how to make your stall stand out and get noticed.
When the sales start to come, it is highly recommended that you have a spreadsheet where you can record and compute all the incoming and outgoing money from the business. As much as possible, make the money revolve and get most of your latter expenses from your earlier income.
One last thing: you may be thinking of hiring somebody else to man your stall for you. While this is a good option for regular mall stalls, it is best that you man your tiangge stall yourself. Not only will you not have to pay another person to watch over your goods, you will also have better control of how low a haggle your customer can make.
You can even further lower your price if the buyer is buying in bulk. These are decisions that a hired person could find great difficulty in making.
And because you are not paying anybody else to man your stall for you, you can lower the price even further for your customer.
Now remember, Filipinos are suckers for the last price, so make sure that the pricing signs you place on your items are not really your final price. That way, you could make satisfactory adjustments for hagglers later on without losing your profit.
Finally when you’ve set up a tiangge stall, don’t forget to market it. Tell the world about it in blog and forum posts; tell your friends and relatives about it on Twitter and Facebook.
You can make the most of your stall by selling your wares online as well. Take pictures of your inventory and post them on eBay.ph, Facebook, and Multiply.
Online or offline, people love tiangges.
And for entrepreneurs, with their low startup costs, quick setup, wide product choices, and easy marketing, a tiangge stall is great for jumpstarting business.
So what are you waiting for? If you could use a little extra dough for Christmas, start planning your tiangge stall now!