Tuesday, March 25, 2014

For your first market...

There are so many little details that can escape you on market day. Even as an experienced stall holder things can slip your mind so I've asked all the ladies from the Handmade Craft Market what advice they would give to new stall holders and those starting out in a small, handmade business.

They are in no particular order, cover a range of things and help you plan your stall. 

Practice setting up your display before market day, make sure it is visually appealing, with neat, attractive table coverings. Interact with people, speaking to them, greeting them - don't sit there reading or playing with your phone. Talk to other stall holders - make new friends and enjoy the market day.

Make sure everything is priced clearly and decide ahead of time if you accept haggling or not. It's rare, but people will try it sometimes. Have a good cash float and don't leave sorting it out until the last minute. If all your prices are rounded to neat dollars you won't need silver coins. If everything is rounded to 5 or 0 endings you won't need any gold coins.

Make the most of your space. Visit lots of different markets and look at how other stalls are set up and how they display their products, talk to the stall holders as well. Get family and friends to road test your goods and get their feedback.

Be nice to the market organiser. They are doing their best and your support will go a long way.

If there is no marketing there is no business. Use the market as a marketing opportunity to reach potential customers. They may not purchase from you on the day but they may go home, think about it and tell their friends. So collaborating with the market organiser to get the word out will be a great step in promoting our wares to the local community - so share, share, share!

Respect your fellow stallholders. Be nice to them, lend a hand if needed (toilet breaks etc), we all work hard at our crafts and we all deserve to be treated with courtesy.

Be passionate about what you sell. Customers can tell if you believe in your product.

Keep any negative comments or experiences about anything for the trip home. Stall holders pick up on any negative vibe.  

Make a list and check things off as you pack and unpack. Keep a list of what you sell as well that way you can match up your lists and check for things like stolen goods - not a nice thought but it can happen.

Think about cool/cheap ways to give a little height or dimension to your stall - try and think of your market table as a shop window - it's never flat, they always have interesting pieces to give dimension.

If you have access to a laminator, print signs and laminate them as it saves you having to re-do them or signs becoming tacky from tape going market to market.

Have a draw card product or something that's specially priced. People may be drawn in by a 'Market Special' sign and then once they are at your stall you have the opportunity to interact with them.

If you are planning on attending lots of markets an eftpos machine is highly recommended. For the outlay of the machine each month it pays for itself - especially around Christmas time - when people say they are going out to an ATM they may not return and you've lost a sale.

Try not to put little pieces towards the front of the stand where little fingers are going to pick them up constantly. The last thing Mums want to be doing all day while they're trying to enjoy the market is telling littlies to put it down or don't touch, or feeling embarrassed when a stall holder gets up tight because the kids have touched something. If you don't want kids touching it, don't put it at their eye level and within their grasp.

Have your bags ready with your business cards included. Sometimes its easy to get flustered if you have a few customers at one time, so try and streamline your sales process by having things ready and within reach.

Print off some thank you notes with a small discount or free shipping etc for customers that purchase from you. When you are thanking them for their purchase tell them you have an online store, can be found on Facebook etc and that you have included a voucher for them to use. They have purchased from you because they love your goods, so try and keep them as a regular customer with a little incentive to visit your online store after the market.

I can't wait to see you at the market on Sunday, especially at the new venue. Counting down the sleeps now!

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