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Young market traders reach UK competition final

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Four young South Wales market traders are to showcase their skills in the final of a UK-wide competition.

They were the highest placed competitors in the National Young Traders Market Competition regional final held in Swansea city centre.

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They are Swansea-based Caitlin Penry, of Caerynys Shed Jewellery, Anthony Johnson, of AJ The Confectionist (Llanelli), Bianca Samuel, of Austringer Cider (Port Talbot) and Harry White, of Blanc Homeware (Brecon).

Harry, who specialises in vegan soy wax candles, sustainable homeware and greetings cards, was the overall regional winner.

The South Wales final was hosted by the Swansea Council-managed Swansea Market. The event was funded through the Welsh Government Transforming Towns Town Centre Business Fund.

Council joint deputy leader and cabinet member David Hopkins said: “Our judges were impressed with the quality of the offers and the ambitions of the young traders. We wish them all the very best as they continue their endeavours in market trading.”

Blanc homeware were another finalist at the Swansea Market Young Traders event (Image: Swansea Council)

Swansea Market traders showed their support of the young traders.

Wayne Holmes, of Market Spares, said: “It was fantastic to see the next generation of traders with products that you don’t normally find in a traditional market.”

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Ian Curtis, of Storm In A Teacup, said: “It was encouraging to see young traders starting out in their businesses. Hopefully they’ll join us permanently in our market soon.”

The competition, open to any young trader aged 16-30, is run by the National Market Traders’ Federation (NMTF).

The regional final saw 17 young traders display their goods and talent.

They were judged – by Swansea Market supervisor Darren Cox and young entrepreneurs Joelle Drummond and Sarah McNena, of Swansea’s Drop Bear Beer Company – against criteria such as presentation, product, pricing, customer service and sales techniques.

The event featured entertainment from performers such as Bloco Vale Samba, young musicians, street performers and market mascot Jack.

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The national final is due to take place in Stratford upon Avon on August 25 and 26.

Anthony Johnson, of AJ The Confectionist in Llanelli – another Young Traders finalist (Image: Swansea Council)

NMTF CEO Joe Harrison said: “We were delighted when Swansea offered to host the first-ever Young Traders Market regional final in Wales. On the day we were delighted at how well things went.

“We needed enthusiastic traders selling an excellent range of goods – and we got that in full measure.

“A great deal of the success of regional finals — and indeed the YTM campaign as a whole — is due to the time and effort put in by the market operators.

“The Swansea team did a marvellous job and we’re confident that the event attracted such a lot of interest that it’ll be even bigger and better when hopefully we return to Swansea next year.”

Bianca Samuel from Austringer Cider at the Swansea Market Young Traders event (Image: Swansea Council)

South Wales Regional Final – Category Winners

AJ The Confectionist (Anthony Johnson) – specialising in fudge and fondant brownies. All hand-made with unique flavours and techniques.

Austringer Cider (Bianca Samuel) – craft cider made in the heart of the Afan Valley. Sulphate free and with 100% pressed juice.

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Caerynys Shed Jewellery (Caitlin Penry) – bespoke handmade silver jewellery, inspired by nature and the coast.

Blanc Homeware (Harry White) – vegan soy wax candles, sustainable homeware and greetings cards

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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