We all work late nights and crazy hours leading up to markets. Sometimes the thought of extra time spent on a display or set up is the bottom of the priority list. I’ve been there. But those times I’ve taken a day to think, shop, and execute a few extra details has always paid off.

It may seem like you’re giving up precious retail space to make room for some extras in your display. Don’t fret – the minuscule space you give up will pay off in a space that feels well thought out and professional.

Here are a few details you can try out at your next market that shouldn’t break the bank and hopefully help you tell your story and sell your product a little better.

  1. Understand how customers shop

Think about the layout of the market and decide which direction customers are approaching your space. This will help you know what they are seeing first and you can build out from there. This means every market your set up should be different, so plan for flexibility in your display set up.

Customers read left to right, top to bottom, front to back. Place the items you want to sell most in these key positions as a customer shops your space. You want to make sure you’re showing off a feature item, a new item, your most expensive item, or maybe a limited time item.

If you’re at a multi-day market where customers often come back, rotate your items through this space. As your market progresses notice what people are drawn to – if you have something hidden they keep finding, move it! Have no shame in selling your favourites first to those who are eager to come early.


2. Mix and Match your materials

Take note of the material, texture, and sheen of your product. Think about what your products opposite is. Maybe you’ve got some great knit items – contrast them on wood, metal, ceramic, stone, or even glass. Do you sell metal items – off set them and let them stand out by having a display with contrasting materials that are soft in nature. Offset patterns with solids – and vice versa, bring in a little pattern to your space if you need. I saw a candle display that was on this beautiful floral table cloth. It practically stole the show – eye catching and different I definitely found myself smelling her candles.

It’s great to use layers and a variety of display options in your space to define zones, product differences, and showcase key items. Which leads me too..

3. Build up and out

Use all the space you’ve got and don’t forget to use vertical space as much as possible. Vary the heights of your products and your display. Add in shelving, boxes, raised backgrounds, or anything else to can to prevent your space from being flat. At a pipe and drape show… use those babies to maximize your display. Be big and bold – draw the customer in.

If you’ve got a booth, consider how you can set up your area like a store. Shelving plus tables, or a stand to hang items can all benefit your sales. When you’ve got a dynamic space with height differences the customer’s eye is forced to wander and process all the options.

Photo by: @lindsay_skeans on instagram

4. Put on the Lipstick

Lights, greenery, music (if permitted), scents – what is going to set you apart? Lights can not only act to enhance your product visibility but they generally create a comforting and dynamic ambiance. Lamps, string lights, candles – there are so many affordable options.

Think about what extra you can do to make your booth stand out. Make it ‘on brand’. I loved when Amber of Dixie and Twine strung up a bunch of balloons at MakeIt Calgary in the spring – perfect for her booth and definitely caught the attention of so many people.

Photo: @dixieandtwine on instagram

I had a market at a damp and dank spot once. Luckily I was travelling and had my diffuser with me. I threw in some woodsy scents and had people lingering in my booth all weekend long. It’s going to be my definite go-to ‘wow’ factor for market season this fall and Christmas. It will be subtle though… don’t overwhelm anyone.

What about something alive? Seasonal florals, succulents, a tree. What would your brand accessorize well with – how can you make sense of using greenery in your space. So you’ve got a black thumb – well ain’t nothing wrong with fake plants either. Adding in the small details makes your booth memorable for those customers who are going to take that second trip around.

5. Ditch the chair

Do you love talking to the top of someone’s head? Do you like looking into someone’s bosom? It can be a little uncomfortable. Think to large, established retail shops – their employees don’t sit. Your cashier at the grocery store doesn’t sit. The associates at furniture stores don’t laze around (and they’ve got comfy couches). This isn’t a lecture and I sit from time to time too, on my stool.  My stool is eye level with my customers, and I try really hard to avoid it until Sunday. We all need to eat and take a load off, try not to get stuck there – try to get a volunteer to cover your booth. If you’re sitting and a customer comes, get up!

Being at eye level with the customer means you’re engaged, ready to answer questions and help them find a product. Standing means you can move quickly and place your product in the customers hands. People who hold a product are more likely to buy it. The psychology of you passing them an item versus telling them they can touch is worlds apart. Stand up and sell your product like you believe everyone should own it.

Photo by: @lindsay_skeans on instagram

So where are you going to get some of these great ideas at reasonable prices? Here are ten shops to help you personalize your space and tell your story. Shop the kitchen and storage sections for your best bets.

  • Ikea (omg yes, so affordable and functional) – like everything
  • Bouclair – baskets, mirrors, seasonal accessories, carpets
  • Canadian Tire – lights, plants, pots, seasonal decor
  • Superstore – baskets, decorative platters, seasonal decor
  • Home Depot/Rona/Lowes – plants, pots, string lights
  • Home Sense – picture frames, baskets, storage containers, decorative platters, carpets
  • Michaels – baskets, picture frames, seasonal décor
  • Dollar Store – seriously yes. Depending on the store you can score some great items.

Kourntey of Agnes in August

website | instagram 


Cover photo: by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *