Tried and tested by us!

As you might know one of our hobbies is our campervan called Kurt, Kurt is very dear to us as we’ve known each other a long time in fact since 2001 when we bought him as a high spec minibus for our coach tour business he was a great servant and when we sold the business in 2011 we couldn’t bear to part with him so we came up with the idea of converting him into a motorhome. We hit on the idea of looking for a scrap caravan to act as a donor for the interior and we soon found an ideal one so with the help of a few friends, one of which happens to be a woodworking genius the conversion took shape and indeed it ended better than we could have hoped. Now whenever we can we get away for a few nights and Kurt is often used as overnight accommodation when we attend shows.

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Kurt as a minibus

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Now as a motorhome

Having our own motorhome is also great for testing many of the products that we sell indeed lately I have been doing a fair bit of work. One of the first things we used was a Cello 12 volt TV, we opted for the 24″ smart model which has been fabulous, we love music videos so more often than not we watch Youtube, because we love music we found the speakers in the TV were OK but not really punchy so we have now added an Intempo Sound bar and the difference is amazing.

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kurt-tv

24″ smart TV with soundbar, ideal for browsing your favourite website!

The next upgrade we took from stock is the Streetwize 12V Cyclone 2 Twin Oscillating Power Fan this has proved to be a great addition in the hot weather of late, classic Mercedes aren’t renowned for their fresh air system so this worked a treat!

kurt-fan

These are great value, nice and quiet to

Interior lights were really due an upgrade next 2 of the original bus type light fittings were left and we wanted to keep them so I decided to add LED strip lights to replace the old very yellow bulbs, these are actually intended to be car daytime running lights but they proved to be ideal, we will have stock of these very soon, I’m well impressed by the samples.

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Bulbs removed and 2 x LED strips added

The original courtesy light was also very dim so I thought it would be a great test for our new Bright White 42 LED Interior Lamp 12V, these come with a switch for door switched, off or permanently on so fitting was dead easy and the light is fantastic, I’m an LED convert, also it’s worth remembering that these are very low power consumption so they are perfect for motorhome use, they are very kind to your leisure battery!

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I can read a book now ! 

So there you have it a few cheap and cheerful modifications and additions that really transform your camper or motorhome, if you need any info on anything get in touch, we really do mean it when we say tried and tested !

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The upcyclers ? Maybe not, come on folks, clean your act up !

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As you probably realise we attend a lot of car boot sales and I like the principle of them in that they offer buyers a great choice of new and used goods and also generally they are ecologically sound in that they are great for upcycling but I must admit I get really disappointed at the mess left behind by some traders.

I was at Tralee on Sunday in the most beautiful setting and I had a decent day trading although I was fairly surprised when people started packing up at 12.00, now I had a good 2 hour drive back home so I thought I’d have a spot of lunch before packing as the weather was lovely, I actually got a bit more business and the best customer of the day came to me then so it was worth waiting. Anyway I got busy packing and only when I was ready to go did I notice the scenes in the pictures, this is the junk that was left by other traders, I guess if it doesn’t sell they just leave it behind to me this is just not good enough and makes a great job of totally negating all the positives of car boot sales.

One thing I will always guarantee you is that we leave nothing behind and I’m conscious of our carbon footprint, our famous van has full solar power in the rear so no noisy generator for us! Chris in particular is on a zero waste crusade and so we are hoping to make an announcement on a whole new product line very soon.

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Are market traders really a dying breed?

As you might know we are relatively new to this business and one thing that has struck us about it from our first ever market is what an eclectic and largely friendly bunch our fellow traders are and as the years have gone by it has been quite humbling to have been so well accepted into the business, its fair to say we have made many friends along our journey to where we are now.

When our new van hit the road we were expecting some negativity as we do appear a little flash and to be reinventing the business but most traders have commented favourably on our enterprise and foresight even if they might cast us a jealous scowl when we are packed up in 30 min and it takes many of them 2 hours!

Anyway as we have come to know this weird and wonderful group of people it is inevitable that our conversations often come round to basics like the ever present question “how did you do today?” the answer to this is often increasingly negative and I often hear the comment that market trading is a dying business but is it really?

Its certainly fair to say that business is ever more challenging and its fairly obvious that if Debenhams and House of Fraser find it tough then we are going to find it more so but I believe we are survivors and that we have some unique advantages over the big names and if we exploit these then maybe the future is bright.

Firstly we are mobile unlike a shop keeper if a venue isn’t working for us we can move to somewhere that is, also if a particular line isn’t performing well, we dont normally have thousands of units to dispose of so can sell them off and move on relatively quickly. What I’am saying is that flexibility of stock and the ability to move makes us unique in retailing.

Unfortunately though, despite feeling upbeat, we are being forced into abandoning some markets that are just not making money for us, at one time we were attending markets on Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday but sadly it seems that the weekend is the only time we can turn a profit, we will make occasional appearances at some mid week markets but our emphasis this year is going to be on developing our online business and of course our Saturday visits to Limerick and Sunday at various venues, hopefully this will help us combine the best of both worlds.

So, to answer the question I do believe that the future for traders in Ireland will not favour the traders that turn up in a plain van with no identifiable company name or brand as increasingly they will have to go online to survive and I think we need to give customers the confidence to buy from us, I have noticed a few people buying say a Stanley knife or tape at a market will remember “that fish crowd” and order a larger item online a few days later, so I think the future is bright but it is about managing retail time and online time, what do you think? I always love to hear from you.

We also have a few events booked again and so be sure to follow our facebook page for our latest news and day to day events.

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Our famous van, the inside story!

One of the things that we like to think makes our company stand out from the crowd is our very unique van which converts into our stall, we often get asked about how it was built so here is the inside story.

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Our story really begins when we started trading in 2015, we bought a Renault Master high roof van which was a great servant and our stall consisted of 2 gazebos and tables, setting this took a massive amount of time and effort, moving 20 crates of tools in the rain isn’t for the faint hearted, indeed things came to a head one icy morning at Ballysimon car boot sale when Chris slipped from the van and had a nasty fall.

We started to think about a better way to display and transport our goods while also reducing the amount of effort and time spent in setting up, my background is in truck sales and bus operation so I like to think I know a bit about vehicles, we looked at several stalls both here and in England and decided that a purpose converted vehcile was the way to go.

The choice of base vehicle was an easy one, we were very happy with the Renault master and by a strange coincidence I worked for Renault for a few years, we wanted to keep the low floor but wanted a bigger box to work with and after much searching (something which comes natural to me after many years in the motor trade) we found a slightly tired looking but mechanically good Renault Master Loloader in the West Midlands.

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I flew over to Birmingham courtesy of Ryanair and a deal was done, our new steed went straight to work and called into Manchester to collect some stock before going up to Durham where our UK lock up and a ver good friend with a coachbuilding business is located.

 

In the best traditions of coachbuilding schemes were scribbled on envelopes and scraps of paper and and an idea was fashioned around using standard sized crates for display.

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The plan involved first of all cutting into the GRP side panels to create a canopy, there was no going back now!

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Next ramps were built out of aluminium to accept the display crates which were mounted onto trolleys of which there would be 4 with the rear ones built to the same slope as the front ones once they were lowered to the ground.

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The sloping shelves proved a little more tricky to sort and I can be seen deep in technical discussion with John, the upshot of this was that we could accommodate 20 crates which gave us quite a display area in addition to the area above the rear wheels which we have built a collapsible shelf for which stows against the bulkhead for travel.

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Next was one of the more challenging aspects of the conversion, we wanted some display space right at the front of the vehicle next to the passenger side cab door, various schemes were discussed including a canvas lean to type of structure but the lads came up with an utterly brilliant cover formed from marine ply which folds flat by very clever hinges, its fair to say we all doubted how this would work but it turned out great.

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Here we see the basically finished vehicle with the shelves folded out and a shelf added inside at the back which carries stock crates. It was up to us now to add finishing touches and a means to display stock.

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We decided on silver for the vehicle to get away from the white van image, with all the work half the van needed painting and it had a few battle scars from its previous life so it was completely repainted and fitted with a colour keyed front bumper with daytime running lights to complete the makeover, the picture shows it on board the Seatruck ferry Clipper Pace as it arrived into Dublin Port from Heysham in April 2017.

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The next job was lettering and the large sides gave great advertising space which we used to the max! With a nod to the tradition of naming our vehicles Celtic ………. which started during our coach operating days we decided to name it Celtic Trader.

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The next job was displaying all our wares and even Tony Tiger Barratt got involved!

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display

So here is the finished result and its fair to say we are delighted with everything about the vehicle.

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One last job was adding lighting to our van and I installed a 80 watt solar panel on the roof along with a solar controller and a 110AH leisure battery with a split charge relay so the auxiliary battery is charged from the alternator on the road. The lighting consists of 6 of our 10 W LED lights (for sale here!) so we are also green in that we dont have a need for any generators or mains electricity.

So there you have it, the story of a very different vehicle, it lovely to hear the complimentary comments from customers and we make no secret of the fact the business has improved, we hope our display and stock gives people the confidence to buy from us.

Probably the greatest advantage to us is the saving in back breaking work and its lovely to be set up in 30 minutes when other traders can take a couple of hours!

 

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When they’re gone, they might well be gone!

I think most of you will agree that we have a fairly unique little business but I think people often wonder how we can offer such great deals on many items, I make no secret of the fact that we specialise in the bulk purchase of end of line stock from major manufacturers and so many of our offers are unlikely to be repeated, a good example is a very popular top quality item our Evolution RAGE3-B 210mm TCT Mitre Saws, we purchased a big quantity of these and are offering them at a great price, not surprisingly they have sold really well but because the Evolution range has been changed slightly we are unable to get anymore in the near future, so if you want one claim yours today.

I hope this example goes some way to explain how we operate and explains why things disappear from the website every so often however the good news is that new bargains are being found for you all the time.

We do also of course have regular stocked lines and I’m delighted to announce the we are now official stockists of the Streetwize range of car accessories and camping equipment so if you see something in particular from that range that we dont stock please get in touch and we can order anything for you on our stock order.

Another new line is Titan drills, we have stocked the Titan chop saw for a while and got very favourable feedback so we have got a good deal coming on a few Titan cordless drills and some 240 volt hammer drills so watch thsi space for news, we might even have some samples for sale at our next events so why not come down and meet us and maybe even catch yourself a bargain!

Regards,

Richard

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Rain rain – go away!

It has been a fairly trying time lately due to our favorite topic of conversation in Ireland, that’s right, the weather! We had to cancel our last 2 planned events, Mitchelstown on Thursday and worst of all Blarney on Bank holiday Monday, we don’t take these decisions lightly but we have to consider the risk of damage to our stock and the likely lack of customers. We dont mind showery weather but the South Westerly airflow is resulting in lots of heavy rain. We are going to brave the weather on Sunday to make a long overdue return to KK car boot sale at Kilkenny.

Our time hasn’t been wasted this week however, you will notice changes to our website and some great new ranges like Breo fashion watches , check them out, they are lovely and amazing value.

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More events coming!

We have another busy spell coming up, here are our next events and markets:

28.05.17 – Limerick Car show, Limerick racecourse.
29.05.17 – Kilmallock Market, Kilmallock mart.
01.06.17 – Kilrush horse fair, Francis street Kilrush.

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Kiltulla Vintage show this weekend.

I must admit this is one of my favourite parts of my job, I really enjoy the vintage scene and chatting to people about all things vintage as well as hopefully selling them a thing or two! We are heading to Kiltulla County Galway for 2 days and so the full Red Fish Trading roadshow is rolling, I’m driving our lovely new van and trailer while Chrissy is at the helm of Kurt, our faithful camper which is providing tomorrow nights accommodation!

Next week we are going to meet a few suppliers in the UK so wont be at Kilmallock or Mitchelstown but we will be back at Limerick Ballysimon Market next Sunday.

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Busy spell coming up.

We are on the road quite a bit over the next few days, here is a list of our next markets and events:

Thursday 27th April – Mitchelstown Market
Saturday 29th April – Cillin Hill Saturday Market Kilkenny
Sunday 30th April – Limerick Ballysimon car boot
Monday 1st May – Kilmallock Bank Holiday market
Thursday 4th May – Mitchelstown Market
Saturday and Sunday 6th & 7th May – Kiltulla and District Vintage Show Athenry, Co.Galway

The week after that we are taking a short break until Sunday 14th May to sort some new stock but there’s plenty of chances coming to catch yourself a bargain!

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Our new image and some diverse stock!

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Things have been hectic lately with us putting our new van on the road, it certainly is different and we hope one or two of you might have seen it by now. the van really offers something new in that it has a display area far superior to the gazebos and tables that we previously used, also for us it makes life a lot easier as most of our stock is simply rolled out on wheels saving the back breaking task of moving 20+ crates of stock every day as well as erecting Gazebos and tables. We think the van reinforces our intention to offer a new level of professionalism to sales at events and markets, we hope you agree, its a bold statement but we always like to create something different in business!

Our stock is really changing to, we are continuing to sell our core lines of Stanley, Titan, Impax and Streetwize but when we see something we think our customers will like we give it a go, hence our stock of Breo watches and Dulux cushions!

Anyway we are delighted with the response to our new image and are trying to visit some new events and venues so watch this space – exciting times ahead!

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