I’ve sold my products at a few different craft fairs and markets now and it’s a pretty enjoyable experience. You get to talk to people about what you do and get the fun of instant sales. I’ve learned a mixed bag of things from them:
- They give you an audience who can provide instant validation as to whether people like your products. This comes in two forms – positive comments/feedback but more importantly, sales. It’s hard to know what a good day’s work at a market looks like but I’ve found it’s worth keeping an eye on roughly how many sales the stalls around you seem to be making. If you’re not making sales at the same rate then you’re either at the wrong market or you need to change your product.
- Whilst the above is true, fairs and markets are highly variable things. When starting out, it’s hard to predict which ones will do well, what time of day will be busy, and who will spend big. The only way to learn is to do a few different ones and see which make most sense for you and the things you sell.
- The two things you can guarantee that will improve sales are the market being near Christmas, and if it’s on a weekend. The weekend thing is very annoying when you have kids, as I don’t really want to be spending my Saturdays and Sundays working when I could be having fun with them, so that has limited the number of those that I do.
- The best decision I made for my market stall was buying a card reader from my very first one. Cash is becoming less prevalent by the day so they’re now essential (and not expensive to buy, I use iZettle). Don’t risk missing sales without one.
- In terms of your stall setup, it can start off pretty basic for the first market. Don’t feel the need to spend big on fancy stall accessories straight away – wait until you have some money coming in from product sales. My first market (see below) was embarrassingly crude but people liked the products and they sold well, so it didn’t seem to matter. Since then I’ve slowly improved my setup at each market I’ve done so everything looks more professional.
Here's my first market stall: an assortment of old bits of board, odd picture frames, hastily written signs, under a leaky borrowed gazebo (and it was a very wet day).