A little while back Ann and myself decided to give the local craft markets a go. Reluctant to give up our weekends we sort of resisted the idea for a bit, but a few factors kept pushing us to give it a go.
After some thought the idea started to grow on us. The whole concept of marketing our work and actually, maybe, selling some work were both big factors. We do want to build Rocket Rose Art so that it does supplement our retirement so we made the choice to give the markets a go and see what response we received.
The preparation for the markets was a little more than we expected, but mostly it went smoothly.
A couple of things we considered, and I suggest you should do the same –
- Do your research – We spent some time actually going to the local markets and paid particular attention to how similar stalls were set up. Things like the brand of gazebo they were using, tables, table covers, signage, promo material, pricing, cash handling and so on. This helped us compile a list of the things we needed to decide on and purchase.
- Gazebo – This wasn’t a big issue. On checking around there were only about 2 options for us, but you must consider the size of the stall area and what you intend to do as you grow.
- Tables – Consider how you will layout your stall. Not all tables are suitable, and again consider how you want to grow.
- Brand/Image- You should consider how you want to be seen. You branding and image. If you are just wanting to sell a few of your craft items this probably isn’t that important, but as a business we need to brand ourselves and our image is essential.
- Insurance – A biggy. Public Liability insurance is required by all markets, but we opted to also cover Product Liability. Look around before buying. We found a lot of time can be wasted doing this so consider using a broker to do the leg work.
- Money – Consider the size of your float and how are you going to carry it. Be safe.
- Yourselves – The day can go slowly so be dressed appropriately and consider refreshments. If you are alone, leaving your stall can be very difficult.
On The Day
With just a few nerves we rolled up on our first day and proceeded to set up. Amazingly, everything went well. No hiccups. This is probably because we did a run through with the gazebo, tables and layout at home.
We were positioned under a tree in beautiful Queens Park here in Toowoomba, and it was great. A beautiful day, a slightly cool wind, after all it is Toowoomba, but not enough to really bother us. Well, maybe it bothered Ann a little as she feels the cold more than I do.
The crowds came in slowly and built to a peak around 10 am.
Did we sell much? No not really, but adjacent stall holders all said it was a very slow day. However, we enjoyed showing many visitors what we were doing and talking about the techniques we use and what we are about. We had quite a lot of genuine interest in just what we are doing and that was extremely encouraging. The few sales were a bonus.
Feedback from shoppers was a bonus and did help us review what we were doing and what we might do.
All in all we were very happy with the day.
There are a few things we would do differently.
- More marketing – We probably should have let more people know we would be at the markets, and should have posted it on this blog and anywhere else possible.
- More signage – We need more signs to immediately communicate what we have. Things like making it clear what is sterling silver as opposed to silver plated.
- More branding – Sounds funny, but we feel that the stall needs to have a very clear identity. We will try to get some large images of our studio to show that we really do make everything we sell.
- More products – Having a larger selection for shoppers to choose from means we will appeal to a larger market.
So if you have ever thought of going to a market, give it a go. Minimize you investment and if it doesn’t work you won’t have lost anything.
We certainly will continue going to markets for some time. It is great research and it is fun.