Putting Up A Tiangge Business

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?

Tiangges offer fabulous finds at great prices

Simple startup 

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. 

Legally speaking 

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. 

Sell-anything mode 

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. 

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