Markets have been a part of my life for the last 15 years! I started by selling my handmade beaded jewellery. I paid $10 for a stall - took my 2 wobbly card tables and had to stand in a pile of dirt to sell my goods. I made enough money to cover that $10 fee, and be able to go spend up big the following week on more supplies to make more jewellery!
Since then, my businesses have changed a few times and I've done a variety of market stalls, street festivals, school fairs, shopping centre pop-ups and in-home markets! I've paid stall fees that have ranged from $10 - $400.
Along the way, I've learnt a thing or two, so I thought i'd share my tips for those of you starting out!
So you've booked your stall, paid your fee, made your goodies and market day rolls around......
Tip 1- Be prepared!
Anything can happen on market day - so prepare for it all! I take a large travel bag (that often weighs more than my stock!) and fill it with everything i might need.
I have a pencil case with - scissors, sticky tape, blu-tack, bull dog clips, string, zip ties, tape measure and a little sewing kit.
To prepare for a change in weather I pack a few plastic bags, a large plastic sheet, small umbrella. a hat, sunscreen and fly spray. This may seem a little extreme - but I have used every single one of these items!
I also have a small torch for if I'm packing up in the dark.
And another pencil case with personal items like lip gloss, headache tablets, deodorant, hairbrush etc.
I'll also take a small floor mat to stand on. Your legs get really sore standing on hard ground all day!
Tip 2 - Make your stall attractive!
You've spent all that time making your items - so lets display them to sell! Customers are attracted to interesting stalls. So think about ways you can get height and depth in your stall -use the whole space you have paid for!
Use clothing racks, wooden crates, mannequins, baskets - anything to add a bit extra character! Just remember not to clutter too much!
Be sure to use floor length table cloths on your tables too. Personally I think there is nothing worse than seeing crates of stock and mess under tables. This space is great for storing things - but the customers don't need to see it!
Tip 3 - Price Tags, and Signage
I have found that customers are more likely to buy if they can clearly see the price of a product. Some customers will feel too embarrassed to ask, and therefore keep walking.
It is also good to have signage stating anything that makes your product unique - ie. handmade, locally sourced ingredients, relevant certification - anything that makes your products stand out and special from others!
Also take into consideration that some people may also not be able to speak the language or know how to ask. You may also be busy with another customer - therefore not giving you a chance to speak to everyone passing.
Tip 4 - Marketing Yourself.
You've got yourself this far in the market world - so lets try and get people to remember you! This means having a nice big sign and business cards with your business name and contact details. Some customers like to think before purchasing, so will take your card to get in contact later.
If you send out newsletters - have a sign up form for customers.
Sometimes you will unfortunately have quiet markets and maybe not even sell enough to cover your fees. But if you can hand out some business cards and gain some Facebook followers - this can sometimes lead to other opportunities later.
I once had a market where I sold nothing. I was so disappointed as I'd paid my stall fee, made all that product and stood there all day to not even make $1. The following day I was contacted by someone who picked up my card and they placed an order with me for a couple of hundred dollars. I was glad I had taken my business cards!
Tip 5 - Dress To Impress ( but be weather appropriate)
The way you present yourself says a lot to potential customers.
If you sell items to wear (clothing, jewellery, accessories, makeup, etc) wear your goods! Customers like to know what things will look like on- so what better model than you!
Also keep in mind the weather for the day. It's always good to layer clothing for markets especially when you have an early set up or late pack away when it can get cold, but so you can strip off as the day warms up. And I always try to wear comfortable shoes (as you'll be standing most of the day).
One mistake I have made before is wearing a nice summer dress. This was all good until I had to set my stall up. It's quite difficult to set a gazebo up without bending over!
And of course the most important thing to wear is your smile!
Tip 6 - Be involved!
Make the most of your market day by really being involved! Greet every customer that passes by! A simple 'good morning!' will do! Tell customers about your products. This can be a little uncomfortable the first time you do it - especially if your shy - but you soon get used to it!
Stand up - use eye contact and don't spend the whole time on your phone!
If you feel a little bored or restless - instead of grabbing out your phone, adjust your stock- rearrange it. Restock sold products, arrange your business cards.
Have a chat with your stall neighbours. It's always good to get to know them, in case you need to pop to the bathroom, grab a drink or need help with something! Just don't forget to tend to customers when they come!
So there's my top tips for selling at the markets! I hope they help you to have a super successful day!