Friday, July 3, 2015

It's Market Season - here are some tips!

It’s Summer market season - time to show off your new creations and get out and socialize after a crazy Winter and Spring.  Lately, I have had a lot of fellow craft divas ask for some tips - what sets your booth apart from the rest, how do display for the best visibility, how do you survive the chaos.   So here’s a quick look at some of what I think - take it and use it if you’d like, or just scan thru, either way, hope you can find something that helps you this season.

One of my favorite vintage markets to do each fall - Junk Salvation here in the great Northwest!

Booth Set up

This is one of the biggest hurdles to leap over - what is my booth going to look like?!?!  Two weeks prior to your event, get your tape measure and chalk out, and chalk out the perimeter of booth size.  This will help you to see how “big” your space is - you might be shocked to see what it looks like.  Don’t panic, there are some great ways you can make it feel intimate and like your own storefront.

Don’t get stuck on one aspect, play around with it and think outside the box.  There is no “right way” to set your booth up.  Here’s a look at one of the very first outdoor markets I did - at the time, we thought it looked great, then each week, we’d readjust until we found something we absolutely loved.  I have included pictures of the progression, after much works, we stack things and go vertical whenever we can :)


One of the things I learned early-on, was to see what other vendors were selling and how did the display their items.  Walk around and see get to know your competition (although I never see them as such, I love making connections at every event - you never know when they might have a lead to another great show).

Walk thru your booth and look at things from a customer’s prospective.  
Are you items easy to see or does it feel cluttered? 
Are the price tags easy to find?  
Do you want your price tags visible with price showing, or turned so the price isn't visible initially?  
Do you have things staged in a way that is easy for someone to pick something out and bring it to you to pay?  
Is there anything in your booth you DON’T want to sell (props, staging materials)?  I have gone into markets thinking I’ll never sell this or that, it’s part of my set....only to have someone very interested and make an offer - be prepared for this, as it happens more than I thought possible.

Here’s a look at what our booth started out like - very first time we did a market….  Not that great, but we were happy with our first attempt

Then we stepped it up a bit for the next one, went vertical and LOVED that look.

Now, I’m an old pro and have the quickest set up of any vendor and love the look!

Misc Tips

Don’t overstaff your booth - I can’t say this enough.  I know your friends and family are excited to see you in your element and might want to hang out and watch you in action.  It’s hard for customers to push through a crowd in a small space - I have seen people want to come in, but keep walking because of having too many “helpers” in the booth.  

Be sure to greet each person who comes in, it’s your time to connect with them.  Think back to those times you have visited a shop and no one welcomed you - did it make you want to spend money or run the other way?

Pricing - are you willing to office a discount if someone wants multiple items?  It’s a good way to draw people in, so consider it.  

Custom Orders - is this something you are willing to do?  I usually do accept custom orders and ask for payment and a small shipping fee upfront.  This ensures they are serious and you aren’t spinning your wheels trying to track someone down after you have made an item.  I have learned this the hard way….I still have a custom family name sign hanging at my shop after almost 6 months, waiting to be picked up and paid for.

Pricing - don’t over think this, you set the price and can do whatever you see fit.  For example, prior to going to a show, I make sure all price tags are on the items. Often you don’t have time to do this after setting up your booth, so better to be prepared than rushed.  Be confident with your pricing, I’m sure you have worked hard making whatever you are selling and no one wants you to give things away.  Before you price, take into consideration any credit card/payment swiper fees, state sales tax (if required) and another other small fees that might come up.  Also, be prepared to have people haggle at some shows - if asked, I’ll give a discount for multiple items purchased when asked.  But that is entirely up to you, it’s your business and you are in control of this part!


It’s ok to set goals for each market you are at - it can help you focus on what you want to accomplish. 

Most of all, be confident and know that each market fluctuates - sometimes there are a lot of people in attendance, others there may be hours between folks who stop by your booth.  Just have fun and know you are doing what you love!

Feel free to comment or contact me with questions - I love helping other vendors and crafters brainstorm on what makes their booth a success!

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