If this is your first market you might be feeling a little worried about what to do and where to start – so here are some tips I’ve collected to hopefully help get you into market-mode!
Before the market
1. Once you’ve booked, start to tell people you are going. Whether it be in person or via Facebook etc, let potential customers know what you will be selling and what new stock you might have. Your customers will get excited and make up their minds about what they want to buy before they even get there!
2. If you have a new product or special, competition or offer please post to our Facebook page and I will happily share.
3. Have a wide price range of items available. There is a great post on The Finders Keepers website that explains it well:
Your product strategy should be to think about offering more than 1 item category, offer a variety of colours and styles and at varied price points. Price points ideally should be divided into 3 main categories these are:
A. Bread & Butter items – look at creating a tier price scale to draw customers in. Entry point items include products that can generate a higher turnover but might result in less profit margin.
B. Mid Range – Mid range items are those that are special yet affordable and have an even margin that means more of a profit for you and are essentially what make up the bulk of your work.
C. Highlight pieces – your highlight pieces are the ‘wow’ factor items that draw people in, they may generate less sales but with a higher profit.
So, how exactly does that look? Here is an example: If you are an artist that creates beautiful illustrations, you can sell your framed prints as your highlights, a variety of sizes of your unframed prints as your mid and cards as your bread & butter.
4. Take advantage of the seasons – for example, if Father’s Day or Christmas is coming up think about what products you can have that will sell really well on the day.
5. Work on your display ahead of time, practice at home and take photos so you can easily set up on the day.
6. Have beautiful, eye-catching tags. Many items are purchased for gifts so include a lovely tag with your logo, contact details and perhaps a nice quote or saying. You want to make it easy for people to order more from you.
7. Business cards are a MUST. Many shoppers don’t purchase on the day but contact stallholders for custom orders later. Hand out business cards as much as you can, you never know whose hands they’ll end up in!
8. Think about packaging. It is often quite simple to create that “wow” factor and wouldn’t it be great for people walking around the market to be asking “where did you get that?”
9. You can find really interesting and different props to display your goodies at op-shops or garage sales. It might take some practice to spot a potential item, but you’ll be able to pick up an inexpensive display and all it might need is a quick coat of paint! Some of our stallholders custom make shelves or other displays to suit their products.
10. A bunch of fresh flowers or helium balloons can work a treat.
11. This tip is from Studio Exsto: Do what you can to break up the flat surface of the table. Our eyes enjoy wandering and if you give people different levels to look at you will have them standing at your stall a lot longer. Take some of your awesome creativity and think outside the box. Fabric, furniture items, display stands, and if all else fails, lug a few heavy books with you to give your flat table some added dimensions. Use anything that you can to go above the table – at and above eye level is very eye-catching. Just 3 or 4 helium balloons pegged to your table might be well worth the investment.
It is hard competing with fellow stall-holders for business when you have a similar product. Try and think outside the box with the way you display your items. Again, sometimes simplicity is the key.
On the day
12. Make sure prices or information signs are clearly displayed for every item. Many customers won’t feel comfortable in asking and you don’t want to lose a potential sale over something so easily fixed!
13. Don’t forget your float! Think about the prices of your products and what sort of change you might need. There are ATMS nearby to direct customers to.
14. Make sure you have a sign or banner so people know who you are and can easily find your stall.
15. If you have a newsletter, have a signup sheet handy on your table and consider offering a giveaway to those who give you their details.
16. If you do custom orders, have a photo album or digital frame showing different designs, colour selections and sizes to make it easy for customers to choose and place an order.
17. Have a positive attitude. As one stallholder commented: “Believe the show is awesome – NO MATTER WHAT. Some of my most amazing shows have seemed slow – only to blossom weeks later with an offer or an order I never would have garnered otherwise.”
18. Pack some snacks and drink to eat throughout the day – or make sure you pre-order breakfast and/or lunch which will be delivered to your stall . It’s important to keep your energy levels up – it can be a long day!
19. Another stallholder tip: “Don’t complain. Not no way. Not no how. Not during the event. That vibe is sticky and will cling to all your good intentions in your work. If you have suggestions for improvements – thoughtfully provide those to the appropriate audience after the show.”
20. Dress the part. If you make scarves, necklaces, hats etc – wear them. Model your products and make sure any “helpers” do as well.
21. Another stallholder tip: “NEVER GIVE UP…we have all had our bad days. Think of every show as a learning experience…how you can improve…smiling no matter what is great advice.”
22. Be friendly! Everyone loves a friendly stallholder. Engage your customers. Make a comment or tell a brief story about something they might be looking at. If they have an interesting shirt or necklace on, comment on it. Compliments are a great way to break the ice!
23. Let your customers look at your products comfortably – they are more likely to make a purchase if you aren’t watching them like a hawk or have a desperate ‘dying for a sale’ look.
24. These tips from the Organisers of the Bendigo Handmade Market: Smile! Please. Nothing worse than a sullen stall holder oozing generally unfriendliness. Keep in mind that the impression we get of you at your stall is the impression we take away of your business. Be approachable and enjoy yourself! Take an extra minute to chat to customers when you have time, take the opportunity to talk to your stall neighbours and network a little bit if you can. Research who else will be at the market and support other handmade businesses too.
25. Remember… It’s not just about the sales! Every market is also about you advertising and marketing your business, getting you name and products in front of people’s eyes. You never know who will pick up a business card and contact you later. There’s a lot more to your stall on market day than the sales you get.
- There is some more great information on The Finders Keepers website so click here to have a read.
- Click here to see the Made on the Left blog on great stallholder display ideas.
- Below is a great pictorial checklist on what to bring, and here is the full article with some more great tips and ideas.
And one last checklist, just to be sure!
If you have any other tips please share them below and I will add them to this list for all stallholders to see!
PS There are loads of examples of market stall setups and displays on Pinterest – maybe you’ll find some inspiration and ideas?