We are often asked what our best advice is when running a stall/table at our monthly markets and it’s really difficult to give a quick answer because there are many things to consider. But, there are some which are vital which will mean the difference between an “OK – I made my table money back” market and a really great, “I made three times the table money back”.
So Kerri and I have put together a list of 10 tips which we think will help you begin to achieve success at any market or fair you do.
Know You Product
The first and most important thing you must understand before you even book your first market/fair is what your product is and it’s USP (Unique Selling Point). What it is about your product that will make it shine, makes it different than that of others, what is going to grab people’s attention when they first see it and then make them buy it. Have one main product as your USP then any other product would be a secondary product.
Mock up your table design at home
You might think that as a creative person, winging it is how you roll, but there are some things that you just can’t roll with. Not when it concerns your livelihood. You want to do this for a living, then you absolutely must spend time creating a perfect display.
When you go into a shop and see everything over packed, in a jumble or simply too busy and mixed, what is your immediate thought? It’ll be something like “ooh I can rummage for a bargain” or “Too much to look at, so I’ll go to another shop”
It doesn’t cost much to create a brilliant eye catching display, there are many creative ways you can achieve it without breaking the bank, and remember it’s not just about the product, what you sell is also how you sell your product. You can only find the perfect display by mocking it up at home first. Make it just right. There is also so much on Pinterest to help you on your way. Check out our Craft fairs and Markets board for ideas. Then, make sure to take a photo of it so you can easily replicate it at the market.
When you have that perfect display and venture into that first market, it can be daunting at first. So many things can worry you, “will people love my product as much as I do, what if I don’t sell anything, will it be right for me, I am nervous to speak to people, I am nervous to sell my product. I don’t know what to say” etc etc. Trust us, we’ve all been there. You are not alone.
But if you start off following these tips, you will feel a lot more sure of everything and it will help alleviate the nerves.
Understand your product’s worth
Research how to work out the correct price for your products, don’t under-price it, consumers will see that as you not believing in your product, conversely, don’t over price your product. We hear over again “customers just won’t buy it” There will always be customers who think a product is too expensive, but the right customer will also always come along. It’s a difficult one to work out, but you need to spend time understanding what’s right. Also, as with all retail, research your competition.
Have a Good Few Conversation Starters ready
This one is straight forward – but important. Be sure to stand, smile, say hello and if appropriate, start a conversation. The importance of being approachable and to approach should not be underestimated. Start with a Hello and go from there, you will know when the customer just wants to browse. Have a few conversation starters written down and hide them so that you can check them when customers are approaching.
Have a box of tricks
There are always going to be those moments, when something may break or you may need to give small change – have a money tin, and be sure to have a card machine as more and more people only have cards nowadays. There are many on the market which are a reasonable price and only charge a small amount of interest on what you sell.
Have blue-tac and string… trust us, there will be a time you need it 😀
Try to be prepared for all eventualities.
The Less is More Question
We are always being told Less is More. But what does that really mean? Well for Kerri and I, we feel that it’s about showing our best products in their best way but with a simple style. Know which of your products sells most and give them prominence, but don’t crowd your stall/display, but don’t under dress it either. As we’ve previously explained, a good mock up at home will help you find the right balance. You don’t need to put all your stock out at the same time.
Be well organised
Make sure you are all packed up and ready before the day of the market/fair. Have a checklist to make sure you have everything you need. The more fairs you do, the easier that will get.
On the day of the market, make sure to get there early enough to unpack and create your display. As you’ve mocked up already, you should be able to do that within a good time. Don’t take too much with you otherwise you will end up with lots of boxes and nowhere to put them.
Know where you need to park or drop off so that there is no stress of not knowing on the day.
Be comfortable and warm
Be sure to dress right for the occasion. If you are outside, be wrapped up in the winter, wear winter boots with thermal socks, your feet will get really cold if not. Fingerless gloves, hats and scarves, thermals, the works, be WARM. In the summer, be cool but not too cool if you get our drift. You want to welcome the customers in 😉
Start smaller than your heart wants to
It’s exciting when you first start out and you want put your all into it, but be realistic, start small and take baby steps. You have to find what works best for you. It can change- keep an open mind and be patient.
Lastly- Be strong
When you are regularly running a market stall/fair, it can become a bit like – up-pack, pack up, un-pack, pack up…etc But it is a fantastic feeling when you make those sales and people really love what they see. There will be good days and bad days so be prepared for both. One day, you you might not make a sale, but be sure to always give out your cards, that way, you are still getting your name out there. Sales may well come in the form of later online sales.