Paul Smith and Gerry Buxton design and sell T-shirts. Paul's are political – a Mile End lad's take on a middle class angst – while Gerry is fulfilling a lifelong ambition to run a fashion label. Both run stalls at Camden Market in north London. This is Europe's biggest street market and a magnet for budding young entrepreneurs from all over Britain.
But as a steamy London summer unfolds, both lads feel the pinch. Gerry's designer shirts are getting lost among the cheap foreign imports, while Paul's printing costs are eating into his profits.
The film follows Paul and Gerry as they launch major business rethink – culminating in a joint stall at the Guildford rock festival which will make or break them.
Camden Market includes the whole spectrum of business life.
Clare is the pearl queen of Camden. Her jewellery stall is a magnet for middle-aged woman in search of a bargain. Some days she takes over £1,000. At the other extreme, young fashion designer, Ria Roberts, just across the yard, is cock-a-hoop if she sells a couple of tops. Her life in the market is a constant struggle; too little stock, but not enough cash to produce more.
As the summer unfolds, Ria begins to contemplate a life beyond Camden, supplying trendy boutiques, and establishing herself as a high street fashion name.
Camden Market's entrepreneurial hopefuls include Pete and Suzie, a pair of masseurs. But they're late. All that's left by the time they arrive is a £45 stall next to the toilets. They size up the competition, fix their rates and tempt stressed out shoppers with five minute free massages.
Meanwhile fabric designer Ria Roberts faces some hard decisions. Squeezed out by cheap, foreign competition, her fashion label isn't selling at Camden. Printing fabric at home then sending it to Derbyshire to be manufactured is working out too expensive.
The programme follows both business ventures as they face up to having to plan their exit from the north London market.
Camden Market, where 50,000 shoppers converge each weekend, includes a huge range of food stalls. One of the most popular is Crystal's World Café. Crystal has run a walk-in restaurant at the market for over a year. She grew up hawking snacks on the streets of Nigeria, and came to England in the 1980s. After training as a lawyer, she but then set up a business cooking and selling African food. Her goat curry is famous all over north London.
But Crystal is frustrated. She believes that market managers, Alan and Kate, in their own drive for profits, are surrounding her with culinary competition – and her weekly costs are becoming harder to cover. Could it be time to move on?
At Camden Market in north London, British born Chinese Trinh and her boyfriend Sean are trying to develop a speciality tea business. They know they have a good product, but selling it is not easy. Sean has a background in advertising and is an expert seller, but how well will his patter work at Camden?
Meanwhile Sarah Swales is one of Camden's longest survivors and now holds one of the best pitches on the market. Her T-shirts sell well but she wants to expand the business and improve her profit margins. But will the 50,000 plus shoppers every weekend be happy to pay more?