Sarah Thornton from Finders Keepers shares her how-to guide on running a successful market stall.
Running a market stall for selling my vegan lip balms is something I have been toying with for a while now.
So what has stopped me? Well mostly I need to make the right amount of stock to take to market, as I hardly think 100 lip balms will be enough to sell at a market. And I need to do my research on what the best way is to sell, sell, sell.
So when I read an article in one of my fave magazine breath, where they interviewed Thornton from Finders Keepers, one of the most successful markets around (well in Australia they are anyways), I got very excited and then had to share those tips with you. Cause you know, one of you might be toying with the same idea I have had also.
Here are six tips from the woman herself:
Before you learn about your ideal customer, you must first learn more about yourself. What do you want to achieve with a market stall and are you looking to just have some pocket money, or begin a small business, which will one day go large.
The answer to these questions will determine which is the right market for you, what type of market you need to access and how you should present yourself at said market.
This includes research into costs for a stall, where you want your stall, and try hitting up some of your fave market and see what stall appeal to you and how you could adapt your branding into something similar that you liked at the market.
Once you have found the right market which suits you and your branding, for what you want to sell, you will then need to approach the organiser of the market place to determine whether any costs are associated with having a stall there.
Some have waiting lists, so be prepared to wait a little. And depending on what you wish to sell, you may need to have insurance before you can sell. For example, if you wish to sell homemade beauty products, some markets will request you have proper insurance before selling your products, to protect you from any allergic reactions or other issues which can arise from selling beauty.
Money, Money, Money:
Fingers crosses, once you start selling at the marketplace, you may or may not have a good turn around on the day. But there are a few costs to bear in mind when selling at the market.
Things like cute bags to place products in for your buyers, signage, business cards, and anything else you may wish to use to make your stall really stand out. You don’t want to be out of pocket, so do try and stick to a budget and don’t go over the tops with your decorations.
Keep it simple and clean and, then maybe if you turn a good profit a few times at market, you’ll be able to up the ante of your stalls display later on down the track.
Time to Plan:
Now that you have got your stall concept, your budget and you have registered where your stall is going to be and have booked and secured a space, date and time – now is the time to plan your works.
Make a thorough checklist of everything you need to get done before market day, during market day and after market day. This will allow you to compensate for anything you may have missed and prep you better for your big day.
Checklists are a great way for remembering everything you need to get done, from equipment you need on the day to remembering to go to the bank and swap notes for change – or perhaps you are super tech savvy and you have rented an eftpos machine for the day. These are the things you need to know and set up before your big day.
Whether you are going simple, or have the budget to spice up your stall decorations, think of ways you will grab the attention of shoppers. this could be freshly cut flowers on the stall for candles. Or perhaps a diffuser burning beautifully scented botanical oils for beauty products to entice people to stroll on over.
there is no pressure to splash your cash on lavish decorations, but do think about ways you can get creative in a good way to make sure your stall doesn’t get missed by those walking past for a good market shop.
Expert Tip: Long tablecloths on your stall table are a fabulous way of giving you storage space under the table for extra stock, cash, food and drink, and anything else you need to shield away from the public eye, but need access to ASAP.
Your day has finally arrived and now you need to work your magic and get people buying your products. Don’t be disheartened should it take a while for people to come to you. They will.
be mindful of what you are doing behind the stall though. Sellers who are slouching in a chair and playing on their mobile phone is a real turn off as most shoppers will think you are disinterested in the market, the stall and even the products you are selling.
Stand tall or use a bar stool behind the table if you can’t stand all day, to keep you present at your stall. Always chat to people as they walk by. A simple good morning is often enough to get people walking over. Or get creative behind the counter (if possible) and make your products at the stall so people can see you in action.
- Make sure you are selling products for the right price and the right demographic. If you are selling lip balms for $20 in a low economic area, they may not sell. think about dropping the price to $10 and promote them as gifts or even wedding favours for example, to entice more sales.
- Wear comfortable shoes, pack plenty of food and water and try and tee up a friend or family member who you trust to do the job right, to come at a certain time of the day to give you some respite – like a pee break.
- Consider have a small gift to give people for every purchase. For example if you are selling candles, have a posey of freshly cut flowers and for every sale, your buyer gets a rose stem (or something more affordable) as a thank you for the purchase. It will be remembered.
- Do create business cards for the day. You don’t need a website, but at least something with an email or phone number, so customer can call if they decide they wish to order big from yo, or find out where you will be selling next.
- Canopies or tarps are not part of the deal at markets. this means you will need something of your own to keep your wares (and yourself) protected from the elements. These can be bought from Bunnings for a decent price and you’ll have protection from any type of weather during the day.