Monday, February 29, 2016
My Top 10 Obvious Tips For Selling at Local Markets That You Didn't Think Of
Last year I had my most successful local market showings to date, getting out in public with my wares paid my bills during a tricky transition from reseller to freelancer- AND it was fun, too! No matter what you do, local markets and/or conventions are an incredible way not only to make profit but to get your brand out into your community and make lasting friends and connections. My first solo showing for my new organic body care brand will be March 2 at the Jacksonville Landing and I've been hard at work behind-the-scenes combing over everything with a fine-toothed comb to make sure it's profitable and runs smoothly. I thought I'd share my Top 10 Obvious Tip for Selling At Local Markets here for anyone else who's getting out there for Spring! Why "obvious"? Because as experienced market-goers know, there are so many little "obvious" things you'll have forgotten once you get there! It happens, especially early on! Luckily, it gets easier every time.
1) Start Preparing at Least a Month Ahead of Time
Everything takes longer than you expect! Yesterday I labeled merchandise for over 10 hours! There are so many extra things to worry about that will pop up to accomplish that you can't anticipate. Get as much as possible finished way ahead of time so you can sleep and be rested for the busy market day.
2) Bring help!
If you can, have 1 or 2 people to help you set up at the least. It's better to do a market with at least one other person in case it gets busy in case you need cashier back-up or a bathroom break. If you have to do it alone, it's certainly doable, and your fellow vendors will always watch you wares in your brief absences.
3) Photograph the entire process for whatever you're making
A lot of markets want proof that what you're making is actually locally and/or handmade, especially now that it's easier than ever to simply order things from overseas and claim it as your own.
4) List ALL of your ingredients on your labels
I've had to go back and re-create labels for myself AND for clients because different markets or stores didn't want to see "a proprietary blend of", they wanted every single ingredient listed out. And that makes sense because people need to know exactly what's in their products to prevent allergies.
5) Make a Check-List and Check it Twice
Make a detailed checklist of every single thing you could need. Leave nothing to chance. Then go through it and check to make sure you have everything packed and ready to go the night before (or further ahead of time if you'd like). Don't leave anything to chance, think of everything you need (like say, electricity) and call ahead to make sure you'll have access to it. Just a few obvious things people often forget include: water, food, more than enough change...
6) Take Weather Into Account
Have all of your signs, table cloths and products well bolted down in case of wind. Watch your breakables, think up ways to have them in boxes or other ways to keep them safe. Consider side-flaps for your tent for rain or, of course, canceling for inclement weather. Have ropes, weights, and back-up twine, scissors and tape handy in an organized market tackle box.
7) Look up the parking situation and call about rules ahead of time
Many markets don't provide assigned parking and some may not even have convenient bathroom access! Call ahead to ensure these seemingly "obvious" things are provided.
8) Consider rolling carts
These can be a life-saver, especially if you're setting up alone and/or have a long walk to your car. You're going to be tired after the market, every little energy and time saver you can incorporate is a huge help.
9) Make everything easy to break down and light-weight
Think twice about brining hard to set-up and/or heavy items. Do you want to lug it to your car, then back to your house? Can you lug it? Time is money, make set-up easy.
10) Have an Organized Way to Roll In and Out
Have all of your merchandise and supplies EXTREMELY organized! Invest in good sturdy boxes of the right sizes so your merchandise doesn't rattle too much, bring lots of bubble wrap for breakables if needed.
I hope sharing these "obvious" blunders will help you if you choose to set up at local markets soon. I had to learn a lot of this the painful way and I'm sharing so you don't have to! An easy market arrival and break-down is such a wonderful thing because markets are a lot of fun and can be extremely profitable if done right!
I'm sure I left things out! I'd love it if you market pros shared your tips in the comments. What do you do to prepare?