So, you’re looking to sell your wares at a local market? There are lots of things to consider when thinking about how to organise a market stall. Here are a few hints and tips that may assist you when getting organised:
- Do your homework. What markets are in your local area?
- What do the markets sell now that may be in competition to your items or that sell well? Are there buyers queuing up to buy your type of goods?
- What is the weather going to be like? Is it a factor in whether the market runs or not? Does it affect your setup?
- How often do the markets run?
- What is the cost for a stall? Is it going to be worthwhile?
- Are you required to have your own insurance? (highly recommended)
- What happens if you cancel your stall?
- Check the Market’s terms and conditions. If there aren’t any, be wary.
- Is the market purely for arts and crafts? Is it a trash and treasure market combined with crafts? Generally, buyers expect markets to offer cheaper prices. Be prepared to barter with your customers and to bring your prices down if you’re at a carboot sale or trash and treasure type market.
- Have a look at online reviews of the markets you’re interested in, or visit one for yourself and check out the local traffic, parking facilities, custom, hours of operation etc. Talk to some of the stallholders and regular visitors for their thoughts and what they’re looking for and expecting to pay for goods and stalls.
- Book ahead and pay for your site. Plan ahead and think well in advance about how you want to stock and set up your stall.
- Night markets v. day markets? Which ones suits you best? Which ones will most likely attract your target market?
- Does the market allow you sufficient space? Your stall size could be 3 m x 1.5 m, or 3 x 3 m or something different… see what options are available.
- Does it allow you space to demonstrate your craft?
- Make sure you’ve got plenty of stock.
- Don’t lay out all your stock first. Clutter = confusion and makes it really difficult for a buyer to choose the right item.
- Once an item is sold, then replace it from your stock.
- Pricing your stock is not always an easy task. Check out what your competition is charging. Talk to the market organisers as to what their customers expect – cheap or higher pricing? Visiting a trash and treasure market might be ideal for you to offload some of your excess stock or seconds at a cheaper price than normal.
- Keep it minimalistic. Less is more.
- You can pick up all sorts of display items cheaply at trash and treasure markets, carboot sales, local tips – where they keep items back from landfill for sale, recycle centres and op shops.
- Think about display boxes, cloths, ornaments, food (for functional ware) eg apples in a large bowl, trinkets, dividers and any sort of partitioning and shelving.
- Be sure to check whether you need to BYO tables and chairs or whether they’re provided. Investing in a couple of trestle/fold-up tables and camping chairs is a great idea.
- Think about the setup and how your customers are going to feel when they see your display. Is it welcoming? Is it intimidating? Is it light or dark and easy to see your display? Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable having to move into a space where you’re sitting or if it’s too far back from the main path or if they feel they’re being watched. Consider a u-shape design where they can move around easily or even just a front table where you sit or stand behind.
- Storage boxes are great to turn upside down and place under cloths to gain extra display height.
- If the ground is uneven on the market site, take chocks along to raise your table height, or if possible and safe to do so, use a hammer or pick to create a hole in the ground to lower one side of the table.
- Keep your cash float hidden. When customers purchase using a credit or debit card keep the card in their view at all times so that they know that it’s not being tampered with or scanned etc. I’d highly recommend using Square for credit card purchases – it’s cheap, quick and easy and you receive notification (via email) of sales instantly. It takes about 3 days for the cash to hit your back account and yes, they have a fee, but you can also include that in your purchase price of course. If you’re interested in signing up for their services, just click here and receive free processing on up to $1,000 in sales during your first 180 days – Square.
- What signage do you have to promote yourself and/or your business? Do you have a banner?
- Business cards and posters
- Display signs showing the price of items
- Consider displaying a short paragraph or two about yourself and your background, how you came to produce the items you do, your inspirations etc – people love a good story.
- Think about the colour of your signs. They need to be easy to read and also stand out. Bargains are always a standout in a red coloured font.
- Sandwich/A-frame boards are also a good idea as people will see them before they even get to your stall
- Consider purchasing your own public liability and product liability insurance. There are plenty of providers out there for one-off events or for an annual premium. If you’re an Australian Ceramics Association member you can organise insurance along with your membership. Regional Arts Victoria also offer insurance packages, as do various insurance brokers. It’s worth doing your homework.
- Keep insurance at the top of your priority list and protect yourself.
What to take
- A friend to help you setup and sell!
- Marquee/display tent
- Cash float
- Tables, boxes, shelving, racks
- Table cloths
- Display boxes and stands
- Stationery (bulldog clips, notepad and pen, price tags, price stands, scissors, rubber bands, Blu-tak, thick textas,
- Wet wipes and cleaning cloths (some sites can be dry and dusty)
- Promotional banner, business cards, gift certificates, flyers
- Carry bags, gift wrap, gift bags
- Tools – hammer, rope, tent pegs, sandbags, S-hooks
- Food and drinks
- Wet weather gear – umbrella, rain coat, gumboots, tarpaulins, plastic cloths
- Your products
- Trolley for moving items from your car to your stall
- Camera – always good for PR shots of your stall and promoting the event on social media!
Markets are great fun and can be a wonderful community of people who are willing to help you out on the day, look after your stall and share their hints and tips. Get along, have some fun and sell your stuff!
Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts and experiences in setting up your own stall!