2016 was my first ever market season as a vendor, and honestly it was a bumpy road with a lot more disappointments than I was anticipating. However, it was good experience, as well as great (although I loathe the word it’s true in this case) exposure. I handed out all of my business cards over the 4 markets I did, gained a number of followers on Instagram, and overall feel like I got the word out about my product. Ups and downs aside, there are some things that I think I can pass on to other newbies.
#1. Bring water….and food.
I was brought food and coffee (thank you Max!) during my first market, so my second one was an eye opener. If you don’t have food and get hangry like I do, BRING SNACKS. Or else you spend your profits at whatever food vendors are at your location; OR, even worse – there won’t be any food vendors, and you start staring at potential customers like walking bacon strips. It’s just not a good time.
#2. Bring a buddy
There are alternatives if you can’t convince someone to accompany you, but if you can it really helps. It’s helpful to have someone with you to watch the table, talk to, and help you set up/take down. Also if you’re busy they can answer questions or just keep an eye on the table while you’re distracted.
#3. Square is your bestest friend.
Not kidding, not one bit. For those of you who don’t know, Square is a mobile card reader and app. Over half of my sales were done through square, so despite them taking like 3% (or whatever it is) it was worth it. Not just for the payment option, but because it can also track your inventory, among other features.
4. Don’t get discouraged
If you make very little sales (or none at all) on your first go, that’s okay! I was very discouraged after my first market, because even though it wasn’t really my demographic, I did have some other more neutral – pieces but that didn’t matter, I didn’t sell a damn thing. I was incredibly discouraged and wondered if I was crazy to even think I could sell my knitting. But then a couple friends I consider very successful told me that at their first markets they didn’t do so well either – and they were selling to their demographic. It’s not you, I promise.
5. Finally, have fun!
The first question I get asked when a show is over is if I had fun or not. The truth is that I usually do. Things that helped to make the show great were to make friends with my neighbours, keeping an open mind about the show, and bringing something to work on. If you’re just standing there waiting for people to come to your table, it gets boring quick – and don’t be on your phone the whole time, that can make it look like you don’t want to be there.
I hope this has been a helpful list, what are some things you wish you knew before starting your first market season?
Laura Clark | White Willow Wearables