Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Getting ready for market

Here we are, the countdown to Capitol City Public Market opening day. It starts on Saturday April 19th. Am I ready you ask? Oh heck no! I don't have enough product, I'm not organized, and I'm not sure of my set up. Funny, but I'm not really worried about any of that. I am worried, however, about the weather. Mother nature can do brutal things to outdoor markets, and my main enemy: wind. The tent turns into a giant kite, and I turn into Mary Poppins, holding on to the center, ready to fly away. Not to mention displays and signs can blow over.
Weights: check! Walls: check! Heater: check!

So with one year under my belt here are some of my tips for doing an artists market or craft show:
  • have alot of change. Then get more.
  • put your information on the customer copy of your receipt book before you start, you can use a stamp or print labels, this way, if somehow they don't get a business card, they still have your info.
  • Make a price list with tax and total, if you're like me my math skills are completely absent early Saturday morning. I still use a calculater for figuring change, that and plenty of caffeine and I'm in business.
  • Have things in different price ranges. I like to have available impulse items, like magnets & keychains. People like to have something to bring home when they've been enjoying themselves and these small items can fit the bill easily.
  • Have discounts for multiple item sales. I have a 3 for price on most of my items, for instance all necklaces are $18.50 or 3/$45.00. People will remember someone who has a birthday coming up, or that new outfit they need to accessorize.
  • Raise your tables. This makes a huge difference, and thanks to my friend Angie for sharing the tip. I used pvc pipe as "stilts" to raise the table up to 36". High enough so people don't have to bend over to see things and the little sticky toddler fingers can't grab things as easily.
  • Put something at eye level. Have something interesting to draw people to your space. Whether it's a colorful sign or a hanging display, it will make your booth more interesting. (Last year I had the wall o' bottle caps, I may do something different this year!)
  • Get a banner for the front of your tent. Make one if you have to. Create brand identity and get your name out there.
  • Give your customers the option of wearing their purchase or carrying a cute bag. I have at least 50% want to wear their new treasure, and advertise for me in the process.
  • Dress appropriately, layer. You never know with early spring, and if you happen to be set up in the shade it's going to be even colder. If you're in the sun, you may need some sunscreen. Prepare for both! Pack some "little hotties" hand warmers and a tube of SPF.
  • Know where the nearest atm is, especially if you don't take credit cards.
  • Have a sign-up book for e-mail mailing list, you can let your customers know about new items, special sales, or send them coupons for their next visit.
  • Learn to smile when someone asks how you make things or other trade secrets (I'm still working on this one!) It's okay to make a joke or be evasive about answering, just don't be rude.
  • Have different levels on your display tables. This brings more visual interest as well as gives you more room to showcase your wares. Last year I stole my husband's shoe shelf from the closet, this year I found some shelving at Lowes that you can easily break down and remove the legs. I'm looking forward to being able to pack things into the car easily.
  • Bring your tools so you can alter or adapt things to your customer's wishes. I will happily switch cord lengths or change a pendant to a key chain to please a customer.
  • Make friends with your neighbors. You never know when you might need change for a $50 or run out of credit card slips, or simply need a quick potty break!
  • Please don't just sit behind your table, greet people, welcome them, walk around and interact! Show that all of these wonderful creations came from you and yes, you do have a personality. :)
  • Most of all have fun! I am so fortunate to be able to sell at this venue, and I love seeing people shopping and having a good time.

I'm sure I have a few more tips, but I think I've given you enough for now, and I've got to get to work, the clock is ticking!!!!


BelleBabies said...

That is tax spreasheet idea is SO smart! I'm going to steal it for my upcoming show!

Janice said...

Thank for the great info, I'm doing my 1st this summer and need all the help I can get. I like the raising the table one, clever.

Jamilary - beaded creations by Jamila Thomas said...

So helpful! I'm taking all kinds of notes

Snitterdog said...

Great advice! thanks for sharing this link with me in the forums! :) (the greene fairy is my other shop :)

Jessica said...

I am doing my first market this summer - in fact my very first at the Kuna Farmer's market last saturday. These are GREAT tips and I will definitely keep them in mind!

J said...

Thank you for taking the time to write down these tips! Doing Crafty Bastards this fall - my first show.

Josie of