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Off to Market

Featured in the winter issue of Hazed Magazine, June 2013

Some Tips for Running a Successful Market Stall

If you’re a designer or crafter with wares to sell, you may have considered running a stall at a local market.

After you have booked your spot and created sufficient product, you may find you succumb to nervous-fueled dreams at night. You know, the ones where it’s the big day but you forget to take your stock. Or you get lost and can’t find the market. Or the market is buzzing … but you forgot to put on any pants!

Breathe. Relax. We’ve got your back. While we can’t come help you put on pants, we can help you have some confidence on the day.

Spring will be here sooner than you think and that’s when many markets take place. Now is an ideal time to start building stock levels if you hope to run a stall of your own. It’s also a great time to begin gathering items that will enhance the visual appeal of your market space.

Did you know potential customers will judge your stall in about two seconds?

Having an eye-catching display does take a little forethought, but like any retail space, your display communicates a lot about the quality of your product and also who you are as a designer.

When laying out a table for display, it’s good to think in terms of heights and textures. Variety creates points of interest and allows you to showcase some key pieces. Think of your table as a backdrop or a frame for your beautiful creations. Using “risers” or boxes near the rear of your table is an easy yet effective way to achieve height. By covering these with a neutral coloured paint or fabric, it allows your items to stand out and shine without visual interference.

Alternatively, you can create height and interest by hinging two noticeboards together as a display stand. Mesh or a chalkboard inside an old frame would work well too.

Smaller items can look charming when gathered together in a cute jar, bowl or even a cocktail glass. Being resourceful with your display will not only be cheaper, but is a great way to enjoy your creativity on a new level.

Make the most of the floor space by placing a vintage suitcase or coffee table in front of your main table. This helps to add various heights for visual interest and larger items can be displayed there to free up your valuable table space.

Also, if you make adults clothing or accessories, make sure you wear your work if possible. People love to see how clothing falls on a real body and how an accessory sits on someone.

Pricing your work is a small but crucial step and can lead to missed sales. Some people hesitate to ask and may assume it costs more than they can afford.

One final point to bear in mind is that clutter is not your friend here. While you want variety and choice available for customers, make sure your space feels clean and orderly. You want an atmosphere that is relaxed and enjoyable.

Now your stall looks amazing and you’re all set to go! You are totally gonna rock that market.

Keep in mind though that there are some elements beyond your control. Bad weather can strike, the market may be poorly advertised or the stars generally haven’t aligned in your favour. A market can be very fickle in terms of sales, so if you have a bad day, don’t take it too personally. Of course, there is no harm at looking objectively at your stall and making improvements for next time, but don’t give up completely. Pamper yourself when you get home, unwind a little and tackle everything else tomorrow.

One good experience can undo several bad ones and at the end of day, nothing is lost as it is still good for brand exposure. Selling any remaining goods online means you’re not left out of pocket and any customers following you up in the days afterwards can be referred directly to your online listings.

There is something special about this opportunity to connect personally with your customers and to hear what they have to say. Take the time to listen and chat with people, including other stall holders. We can all learn a lot from each other when we just slow down a little.

off to market

Filed under: Work

About the Author

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Freelance writer, sewing enthusiast, and coffee appreciator living in NZ


    • Hey fellow Runway competitor! It’s so rewarding to see other people part with their hard earned dollars just because they love something that you made. Can’t believe you’ve nearly finished your first competition entry! Good job!

  1. Cat

    I’ve never been a stall holder, however, as a customer you’ve raised really great points here.

  2. Pingback: Balmain Markets | Mel's Hand-made Cards


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