Got lovingly, handmade items to sell, booked a stall, but are new to markets and fairs? Us too!
We attended our first food and craft market at the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells last weekend. It was a good learning experience for us, though we were lucky enough to have some friends who are veteran craft fair goers impart their knowledge onto us. Being new to the scene is tough as you never know what to expect or how best to prepare. Hopefully with our handy tips and craft stall checklist we can help you get prepared for every outcome for your upcoming market or fair.
Joe, pleased that I was taking photos immediately (Thank you for giving up your Saturday to help me with this!)
Things to check in advance:
How much does it cost?
Make sure you know the cost for everything you need and require. Sometimes there will be extras you need or don't need that you don't want to overlook. occasionally small discounts will be available if you are thinking of doing multiple events.
Do you have enough stock?
Don't go overboard, but do ensure that you have a good stock of the items you are taking and prepare this well in advance. If you have a particularly popular product take a few extra incase they sell like hot cakes.
Is a table or canopy provided?
Some markets and fairs will provide this for you and will be worked into your stall fee. It's always good to check as you don't want to double table or have to set up on the floor!
Do you need to provide anything for the organiser?
Ask in advance if there is anything you need to provide as you don't want to run the risk of loosing your spot. Most times you will be required to invest in public liability insurance. This covers you, the event and customers, should anything go wrong. After a bit of research and recommendation I invested in insurance with Ian W Wallace Ltd who specialise in markets stalls and the like. Make sure you cover only what you need as this is reflected in the end price.
Is someone able to help you on the day?
It's going to be a long (and hopefully busy, successful!) day. Don't power through on your own! You will need help setting up, minding goods and eventually need a break for food, drink and the loo! Besides, it's more fun with two of you.
What's the weather going to be like?
A few days before have a look at the forecast and be prepared! Layers for chilly and liquids and shade for heat. It's very important to look after yourself. Think of how the weather might impact your good on the stall. Are they sheltered? can they spoil?
Things you will need:
Check with the organiser whether this is included or if you are able to hire one from them if you don't own one yourselves.
- Table cloth or cover
- Crates, boxes or shelving to display your wares
It's always a good idea to price items clearly so customers can see how much something costs. Sometimes people might be too shy or embarrassed to ask about the cost of an item and this could lose you a sale!
- Stock to replace sold items
- Boxes for transporting and storing stock in
Quite important this one. You want your stall to have lasting, memorable impression on your visitors. Help them remember you with signage of your logo and additional branding where possible. I got my beautiful wooden sign handmade by SignsAtSimplyWood stunning craftsmanship!
Be careful with this one. Whilst you want your stall to look pretty, you don't want people to be confused as to what they can and can't by. So keep it simple. For example, I invested in some faux ivy to wrap around my wooden crates and some LED string lights to add light in the darker spots.
Double check with the organiser whether this is included or if you are able to hire things from them if you don't this yourselves. Be prepared!
These were vital for us as not everyone wants to buy then and there. They might need time to think about it or they might want something special like a custom order. This is a great way to get people to remember you later and visit your site or social channels. I went with moo for my business cards, here's a 10% off referral from me for moo cards :)
If you are planning to do more markets or fairs in the future, these are worth their weight in gold. People don't always carry cash or enough on them for a purchase at your stall. Help them out by accepting cards and be sure to make a sign or advertise that you accept cards as well as cash. there are a number of different makes available, its good to research to find a suitable one for you.
- Portable charger for your devices
+backup pen. Pens hate working.
Notepad to keep track of stock
(and doddle when its quiet!)
- Receipt book
- Mailing list signup
Leaflets/promos/business cards... again
Good for popping in with a purchase
Float of cash and change
Take a look at your prices and think about what people would likely pay with and what change you would need to give them. Take a fair bit of change but not too much.
- Cash box or BUMBAG
You will know your prices like the back of your hand. You may forget though and if you have a friend helping you they might need a quick break down of your items and prices. Keep a couple handy behind your display for you and your helper.
Food and drink supplies
Be mindful of sticky or messy foods if handling products that might spoil from messy food fingers.
Try and bring chairs that are as high as possible, preferable bring stools! you want to look approachable even when you are sitting down and also be able to still keep an eye on things.
Repair kit for products and display
if something gets damaged on your display make sure you can handle it. Bring scissors, tape, clips, clamps, pins - whatever you need to make it right again.
- First aid and medicine
Weather specific clothing and protection
Stay dry, warm/cool, un-sunburnt. Think about your display on your stall too. It was likely to rain when we did ours, so my lovely Dad gave me this massive polythene sheet to fling over stuff in the event that the heavens opened (Thanks Dad!)
Products to make
When things get quiet its a nice idea to bring some products to work on and it also gives visitors an insight into the processes and you may even be able to make a custom order for someone right there and then!
We hope that this helps you as you prepare to attend your first market or fair! The number one thing to remember is to enjoy yourself. If your are selling loads or not much at all, smile and be engaging, make a good lasting impression on the people that see your brand stall as it may lead to sales later.