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Market Stall Mastery: Deciding on a Makers Market and How to Prepare for a Successful Market Day

I'm definitely no seasoned marketeer by any means, however, I did spend A LOT of time searching Google and Pinterest for tips and tricks on how to be best prepared for my very first makers market. If you're a small business and debating whether markets are for you or how to be best prepared for them, you've landed in the right place!

There is so much to benefit from when selling at markets. It's your chance to meet your customers in person, gain feedback and improve your offering, as well as network with lots of other small business owners.

Image 01: Sticker display at Salad Days Market in The Shard

Cracking the Market Code

Before you commit to a market, let's break down a few essential things to have in mind.

Location - Think about the market's location. If your products have a niche appeal or cater to a specific area, targeting a market in that area could be a formula for a successful market day. On the flip side, markets are also the best way to explore new locations, diversify your audience, and expand your brand's reach, so definitely bear this in mind when choosing what markets to apply for.

Choose Your Market Wisely - There are so many amazing markets out there, all creating opportunities for small businesses to sell their products IRL. This is great but equally can feel really overwhelming when deciding which ones to go for.

The Host - The market's host plays a big part in your success. Do some research and ensure their values align with your brand's ethos. In short, find a market that resonates with your brand. For instance, if you specialise in contemporary goods, a vintage market might not be the perfect fit.

Another thing to know is whether there is any form of social media promotion from the market host in the lead up to the market day included in your market fee. This is a great way to get new customers on your social pages and also new potential customers on the day of the market too!

Time It Right - I can admit that with my first ever market, I was super naive about how much prep went into it. I would recommend assessing your schedule and ensuring you have enough time to prepare. Many markets have strict policies on date changes and cancellations, so be mindful of your availability. Avoid double booking and unnecessary stress. With all this being said, I promise the more markets you do the easier they get.

Congratulations if you have booked and confirmed your first ever market!!

Now for the exciting part— planning for the day.

A big part of this is deciding what products to bring. Don't feel obligated to haul your entire inventory to the market. Be strategic. Consider your target audience and curate a selection that aligns with their preferences. Remember markets are also a great way to trial a new product and get live feedback on it.

Image 02: Trialing new frames at Salad Days Market

Checking the size of your stall or table in advance is also massively important as this can dictate what and how much you end up deciding to bring with you on the day. Have a balance between having enough stock and ensuring it fits comfortably within your table space.

Set the Stage:

Take the time to map out where you want things to sit and how you will display everything. I always find creating a mock-up at home on the kitchen table or living room floor, a really helpful way of visualising the space. Arrange your products, evaluate the display, and anticipate any potential challenges. Put yourself in your customers' shoes. Is your brand name clearly visible? Can visitors easily understand what you're selling? Is your stall inviting and easy to navigate? Don't forget to display your prices clearly! A cohesive and visually appealing theme will make your market stall stand out and give you a better chance at making sales.

Tip: Make sure to also take a picture of your mockup, for you to reference on the day for a speedy setup.

Image 03: Table mock-up at home on my kitchen table

Image 04: Table arrangement at Oru Space pop-up Image 05: Table arrangement at Salad Days Market.

The Ultimate Market Day Checklist:

Every market I do, I have a checklist that I use to make sure I don’t forget anything on the day. This list includes:

  • Packed and labeled stock

  • A large tablecloth to cover the table provided

  • Display fixtures and holders

  • Clear signage (featuring your logo, pricing, and social handles)

  • Card reader - I use Sumup which I love.

  • Cash, with lots of change

  • Business cards

  • Bags - think about how your products can be taken home by your customer and ensure the bags you provide work with your product!

  • Additional packaging - if you have fragile items, make sure you offer additional paper or bubble wrap

  • Note pad - to take notes of any suggestions, get contacts or track sold items.

  • Scissors, cellotape, and blue tack - You never know when you may need these and would be surprised how many times they have saved the day!

  • Snacks and water - Most markets allow you to have someone help you, but if you are going solo, having water and snacks on hand will keep you going for the day

  • A jumper or light jacket - weather and the temperature of the market venue can be unpredictable. Every venue will be different and not being prepared will only leave you feeling uncomfortable on the day.

So, there you have it! I hope I have covered all the essential parts of preparing for your first makers market. Remember, it's not just about selling your products, but about embracing the opportunities that come with taking part. Connect with your customers and other small business owners and above all else, enjoy the day!!

Image 06: Sneakxr Fest market - having a chin wag with my market neighbour @AliceandtheInk


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