HOW TO SET UP A MARKET STALL
So, you are looking to sell your products at a local market? There are lots of things to consider when thinking about how to set up a market stall. Here are a few hints and tips that may assist you when getting organised:
Do your research
- Do your homework. What markets are in your local area? What markets are in your local area? There are some websites that list markets and when they operate in your 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?
- Have a look at online reviews of the markets you are 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 are looking for and expecting to pay for goods and stalls.
Applying for a stall
- Most market organisers will have a form for you to complete including your name and address details, contact information, products to sell, compliance with their rules, terms and conditions etc. There are several things to consider.
- What is the cost for a stall? Is it going to be worthwhile?
- How long is the market for – a few hours? A few days?
- Are you required to have your own insurance? (Highly recommended – see below). There are also various insurers and brokers that allow you to have insurance per event/market or you can purchase insurance for a nominated period.
- What happens if you cancel your stall? Will you get a refund? Will someone else take your space?
- Check the Market’s terms and conditions. If there are not 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 are at a car boot sale or trash and treasure type market.
- Book ahead and pay for your site. Plan 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?
- What position is your still likely to be in – close to the entrance, exit or food suppliers? Close to the entrance is not always a good idea – sure your stall may be the first one people see, but often, visitors will want to see what else the market offers before coming back to your stall, if they do. Being close to food suppliers can be a plus, or not. Most people are interested in buying food and not in anything else. They may however eat and browse.
- Make sure you have got plenty of stock. Sometimes it is difficult to know how much to take, however, more than what you think is good. If you sell out – bonus! Always good to have something to replace a sold item. Keep your stall looking healthy and full. An empty stall looks like all that is left is what everyone else didn’t want.
- Don’t lay out all your stock first. Clutter = confusion and makes it 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, car boot sales, local tips and their shops – where they keep items back from landfill for sale. Visit hardware stores, recycle centres, online market places and op shops.
- Think about display boxes, cloths, ornaments, trinkets, dividers, food (for functional ware), plants or fruit e.g., apples in a large bowl and any sort of partitioning and shelving. Remember, shelving can be free-standing, on a table, stacked, or hanging. Storage boxes are great to turn upside down and place under cloths to gain extra display height.
- 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.
- 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 always keep the card in their view 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, gift vouchers and posters – can they be placed around your stall so that they’re easily visible?
- Display item prices
- 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 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 offers insurance packages, as do various insurance brokers. It’s worth doing your homework. This is highly recommended in case someone makes a claim against, you, your products, or your practices. Check out insurance companies that support vendors like you and in your industry. Chat to other stall holders too or the business organising the market – they may have some contacts you can enquire with. Insurance is often available for just one day, or for a nominated period.
- Keep insurance at the top of your priority list and protect yourself and others.
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
- Floor mat for the ground – could be a rug, bamboo mat, rubber mat etc – prevents dust from getting into your products
- 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, tape measure
- 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!
- Towels – just in case it rains – one for you and one for your tables and products
- On social media – use your own photographs or videos or ask the market organiser for permission to share theirs
- In local newspapers
- On your own website – product and blog pages
- On the local radio – can you organise an interview to discuss your business? Perhaps you can take along another stall holder with you.
- Letterbox drops
- Local stores may display a poster in their windows for you
- Local galleries
- Other markets, festivals and other events prior to your scheduled market day
- Local community groups
- Word of mouth
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!
Please leave us a review on our website and let us know your thoughts and experiences in setting up your own stall!
Cheers, Deanna 😊