Impact Report 2022 for Suncorp
Prepared by Selena Griffiths in consultation with First Hand Solutions Aboriginal Corporation and in collaboration with our Blak Markets community
Blak Markets is a festival format market that has been running since March 2014. The fee for service business model has held markets in a number of locations in Sydney including Bare Island, La Perouse (9 years), National Centre for Indigenous Excellence, Barangaroo, the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Centennial Parklands, Hazelhurst Gallery and the Markets are about to run four times a year at The Rocks in addition to four times a year on Bare Island.
In 2017 the Blak Markets model was expanded to include the National Indigenous Art Fair which provides a vehicle to engage nationally with remote art centres, and their artists, to learn and earn from the market alongside the Blak Markets stallholders. On average 10,000 people attend the Art Fair and spend $600,000 directly with the stallholders over the 2 days.
On average each Blak Market day attracts 2000 visitors to 20 – 25 stalls plus 4 cultural workshop facilitators and performances – all of these representing a small/micro indigenous business. There are over 100 Indigenous vendors on the Blak Market mail list ( not all vendors attend all events).
Customers attend the Blak Markets because of the multitude of experiences they can have. These include cultural performances, food, conversations, and the satisfaction of knowing they are buying Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander products from Indigenous people. Authenticity and nervousness about knowing how to behave in a culturally respectful way have both been identified as barriers to non-Indigenous people participating in culture despite their interest – both of which have been overcome at Blak Markets where people feel comfortable to have a conversation with Indigenous people.
Stall holders, and performers, engage with Blak Markets because it provides them with an audience that is specifically wanting to interact with, and have access to, products and services provided by Indigenous people.
Providing a dedicated Indigenous marketplace addresses United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10: Reduced Inequalities. 10.1, 10.2, 10.3. Opening the marketplace and encouraging the broader community to connect addresses SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. 11.3 and 11.4.
This report details the impacts of the Blak Market on its stallholders. It has been compiled using data collected by post market surveys over 2021 and 2022 from stall holders, performers, and stakeholders in the Blak Markets.
Understanding the Blak Markets Vendor Community
What does our vendor community look like?
All vendors at Blak Markets are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. The majority of the vendors at Blak Markets are women which addresses United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality, 5.5, 5.7, 5.8 through encouraging and supporting female entrepreneurs at the markets and online and demonstrates the effectiveness of Blak Markets with respect to SDG 5.
Vendors are mostly aged between 35 and 64.
25 – 34 5%
35 – 44 33%
45 – 54 24%
How do vendors discover Blak Markets?
85% Via social media
15 % via word of moth
Opportunities for learning and development
‘Blak Markets have been life changing for us’
Blak Markets vendors initially engage with Blak Markets as a micro business with little experience and a need to develop a combination of products, services, networks, knowledge, markets, and customers. Involvement with The Blak Markets, and its community, allows them to develop new skills through peer learning, action learning and engaged learning opportunities in a culturally supportive environment.
Blak Markets provides a safe testing ground and launch point for product, service and business concepts. There is formal and informal knowledge exchange between stall holders, Blak Markets team, and also the customers. This knowledge exchange and the associated professional development, address SDG4 : Quality Education. 4.4, and enable the vendors to develop their ideas into a viable business.
Blak Markets vendors list a number of areas of professional development that they have benefitted from through connection to the community and participation in events.
Running a business 62%
Product development 67%
Visual presentation 52%
Selling / Sales 77%
When asked if they would be interested if Blak Markets provided a training program for stallholders and performers, 100% said they would find this beneficial with 81% wanting a full day workshop format, 14% a 2 day workshop and 5% a 6 week program of 2 hours per week. Blak Markets has plans to address this need in the future to continue pursuing SDG4.4 and increase the ability of the vendor community.
Vendors also identified a number of areas of content they would like in the training program. Blak Markets will use this data to inform content of future training program(s). Responses are listed below:
- I would like to learn how to have payments to be made over the phone
- Selling on social media Making/editing videos on camera Crowdfunding Using payment systems like square for other tasks
- How to promote and drive sales online. How to grow a broader network of customers through my stallholder presence.
- Examples of Indigenous business and how they operate
- Promotion, retailing opportunities and social media
- How to put employees on (eg. Trainees), how to insure yourself and your employees for safety and sickness etc. in small business
- Sales, Marketing, Innovation and Negotiation
- Online marketing, websites-shops
- How to set up an online business or tips on growing the business.
- Customer Service, Professionalism & Merchandising
- Selling successfully at Markets
- Running a business; displaying products at markets; pricing; promotion
- Visual presentation
Benefits of being part of Blak Market vendor community
Understanding Blak Market vendor involvement benefits
To help us understand the benefits of involvement in Blak Markets, vendors were asked a number of questions.
90% of vendors indicated participation in Blak Markets helped them feel more connected to other people in the community?
85% of vendors indicated participation in Blak Markets helped them feel an increased sense of belonging to the community?
Increased connectedness to, and inclusion in, community addresses SDG 11, 11.3 and 11.4.
81% of vendors indicated participation in Blak Markets helped them feel more confident and optimistic about your future? This contributes to wellbeing.lak
When asked what the greatest benefit of being part of the Blak Markets was, responses were diverse, outlining many areas if benefit from access to markets, peer learning and knowledge sharing, economic benefits, cultural and social connection, connection to broader community, increased self-worth and pride – examples provided below.
- Networking with other community members
- Opportunity to educate others about our Country, learning from others
- Having strong community support. And learning how to grow my business from first-hand experience from other deadly stallholders. And meeting lovely customers who are eager to connect with our culture and us as Blak businesses.
- A platform to showcase our continuation of our culture
- The support of Aboriginal business by other Aboriginal business owners and allies within the community. We have tried mainstream markets but nothing compares to Blak markets
- I make a living wage
- Being with mob
- conversation with customers, promoting our artists, making sales and generating incomes for our artists
- Sense of belonging and sense of worth – feeling valued by our Blak community
- Community Connections
- Connecting with people from my community here at La Perouse, the leadership team at First Hand and Blak Markets is outstanding, the team on the ground are so friendly and welcoming and helpful.
- Meeting new people, selling my stuff, connecting with mob.
- Networking with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and community
- Connection and sense of community with mob and feeling part of the bigger picture. Allowing us as artists to self-determine. Connecting us to people who are interested in purchasing directly from the artist and who want to support the wider Aboriginal community.
- Connecting with community, being visible as a Black Business, being consistent
- Meeting other stallholders; supporting blak businesses; sharing culture
- Being involved in the deadly event and seeing all the deadly art in at showcasing there talents
- being connected to ideas and community
Creating a cycle of continual experience improvement
Blak Markets practices continuous improvement, asking vendors for feedback from their experience to determine new ways to support them better. Vendors were asked how their experience could be improved.
- Keep it as is, I just love going there
- Locations with stronger/reliable internet connection.
- Everything seems to go ok and I’m sure everyone who visits benefits in some way from the experience
- More social media cross promotion in between markets to help us when markets are not on. We get online order the week before and sometimes the week after a market but nothing outside of this. It would be nice for some consistency.
- Not sure, I have a great time now
- More food vans
- Blak markets is great! Very inspiring what you do for mob, It’s a bit left field but just wondering whether there is any way for Blak markets to find ways to support businesses to get our merch up on our websites – could there be a sponsor to pay for updates to our website? We can’t afford to update our website and we don’t know how to do it ourselves – not sure if anyone else is in this position too?
- Everything Blak markets do has been beneficial and encouraging
- We think you do a wonderful job!
- More markets across Sydney, Blak Markets invite potential companies like Harris Farms and IGA Groups to experience the Markets and meet potential suppliers to their stores.
- Making the site safer for children; more activities for children
- More food and drinks available as they go too early
- Tap into small grants