Soooooo my first market, I had a mini meltdown, semi panic attack and didn't sleep at all the night before so I actually cancelled it and beat myself up about it publicly on Instagram Don't do what I did...follow these simple steps and you will be well and truly prepared!
- KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GETTING INTO
First things first, scope out your potential market! It helps to get a feel for the types of people that visit and the general vibe of the market before committing to having a stall there. Some markets might favour boutique, highly curated stalls while others might be more of a car-boot rummage style.
While exploring the market, consider:
- What type of other stalls are selling?
- What price points are similar stalls are selling at?
- What style are the stalls? Curated, Boutique or Rummage, Carboot?
- What types of tables/racks are they using?
- Do you need a gazebo or can you get away with no shelter?
- What kind of people are visiting?
Once you have found a market that suits your aesthetic and demographic, you’ll want to answer a few more questions about the logistics of being a stall holder by going onto the Facebook page or website of your market:
- How far is the market from your house?
- How much does it cost to have a stall?
- Do they hire tables and racks? How much?
- When is the market next on?
- What time are you expected to start & finish?
- What are the set up/pack down rules?
- Can you have your car at your stall or do you need to cart gear from a carpark?
- Can you be a casual stall holder or is there an ongoing commitment?
I highly recommend for your first market to try and find one that is focused on what you sell such as a cheap second hand clothing market, an antique market or a lifestyle focused market as opposed to a local farmers market. There is nothing wrong with setting up at ‘everything’ markets but you will gain a lot more confidence from your first market being more ‘niche’ as all of the foot traffic at these ‘curated’ markets are there specifically for what you are selling.
- BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONEY!
Ensure you are prepared for the transactional part of your day because at the end of the day you bust your balls at markets and you don’t want to miss a sale because you didn’t have change or eftpos options.
Take a float of at least $100 in smaller notes and also offer eftpos if you can.
You can buy ‘Square’ readers for about $25 that plug into your phone and can accept eftpos/credit cards. These little gems are linked to your bank account and release the money to your account 1-2 days after the transaction. The fees are negligible considering the convenience they provide. They do, however, require internet access so make you are somewhere that gets reception on your phone.
If you don’t want to commit to eftpos facilities, at least have a board up that has your bank details on it so people can direct deposit money into your account if they don’t have cash with them. Ensure you place EFTPOS AVAILABLE or ONLINE PAYMENTS AVAILABLE signs everywhere!
Most markets will have ATMs in or near them but you do risk losing spur of the moment sales if the customer has to go withdraw money.
- PEACOCK YOUR STALL
One thing I always regret is trying to minimise my setup time by going as sparse as possible. Don’t do what I do. Bring everything you think will make your stall pop! Think of mats, rugs, tables, levels for displaying at different heights, decorative chairs, floor plants, hanging plants, table cloths, signage, flowers, vases and accessory hangers.
Competition is fierce at markets. For some people, markets are their full time job so they have had plenty of practice solidifying their aesthetic. Don’t be the one person with the shittiest looking stall because even though your stock may be the best, first appearances are everything!
To carry the crapload of stuff I have now told you to bring, you can either carry it in, piece by piece or invest in a fold down camp trolley. They sell these online or at camping stores. Super convenient and fully fold down to easily store in the car.
My Minimalist Approach
- STATE YOUR PRICE
I can’t stress this enough. Unless you are doing a carboot/rummage type market where goods aren’t generally sold for more than $5-$10, tag all items individually with their price.
If you have a fixed price on a rack, people can make an instant judgement based on price and may walk by without taking the time to see what’s available. Having individual tags on items encourages people to ‘hunt’ through your wares and if they stumble across something they just really love, they’ll often just pay the price without thinking about it!
Tagging each item is time consuming so I recommend either buying pre made clothing tags from a stationary store or making your own well in advance whenever you get some down time. Easily loop these through button holes or safety pin them if there aren’t any button holes.
- GET SOCIAL OFFLINE
Lastly, after setup is done and you’re standing around at 8am waiting for customers while feeling super excited (or like an anxious cucumber), smile at your neighbours and introduce yourself. I have made amazing friends from the markets I have attended and met countless other people who have enriched my day by giving advice, having a laugh or minding the stall so I could go for a wee or a sneaky kebab.
Also, don’t be afraid to speak to your customers, you will learn pretty quick who wants to be left alone and who is down for a chat. Use this time to build a relationship around your common interest of markets and sustainable shopping. Hand out your business cards if you have any and actually ask them if they could follow you on your socials. Speaking of socials, don’t forget to put your handles on signs at your stall so that people can look you up.
Now get out there and bloody smash it!
Remember, even as prepared as you are, things will inevitably go wrong but as long as you have a good attitude about it and stay positive, you’ll have a great experience! Hopefully the above tips will help reduce your anxiety about setting up your first market but if you’re unsure about anything, feel free to hit me up! The easiest way to get in touch is via my Instagram account @girlgoneretro or you could join my Facebook group “Thrifty Sisters” where you can chat with and get advice from other second hand sellers.