It's market season!
If you're anything like me, you have a love/hate with markets. They can be so great for business, but oomph they take a lot of time + energy to set up, and can I just say #introvert?
I wish I could swing by each of your tables with a pumpkin spice latte + a high five, but alas. I did however, gather some of my go-to items, tips, and inspo.
Hopefully you find a nugget or two in here to add to your current process. Either way, wishing you all the best at your markets!
Use cash and Square
I know there's a real impulse to go cash only, but if you're selling on Etsy, you can boost the strength of your listings by running them through the app (via Square). I know, I know, fees. But, when Etsy's algorithm notices that an item is popular (ie. something selling over and over in a single day at your market), it boosts that item in all search results. Let your craft fair sales boost your online sales.
And cash of course, because sometimes people go out of their way to make sure that small business owners don't have to pay a penny to anyone else, and we're super grateful for those folks too.
Create varying heights
Your table should look good both close up and far away. Close up is easy, but the trick to catching eyes from far away is to create height. Instead of laying everything flat on a table:
- Add cute floor level storage bins and have knits "overflowing" out of them.
- Utilize a chair to create a medium height. Throw a cute blanket or faux fur over it, and then stack it with a few knits.
- On top of your table, flip cute boxes sideways or upside down, and stack knits and signage on top.
- Add shelves or a clothing rack to create substantial height and begin to enclose your space a bit from your neighbor.
To give you a better idea of how the scale of all these items work together, I pulled together some of my favorite items (affiliate):
Answer questions before they have to ask
At my first big market, I felt that every other time I turned around I was answering one of the following two questions:
- "How much is this?"
- "What is this made of?"
I vowed that I wouldn't do a market again without having that information printed and next to each product, so I made cute little tags. I use the tiny log tags to place next to tabletop items (hats, headbands, etc.), and the hangtags to hang on a clothing rack alongside hanging items (scarves, sweaters, etc.).
This tiny sign *template* is a market-must-have. Customers always want to know price and materials, and these tiny signs will do all the communicating for you. This template allows you to beautifully format your signage in minutes. Simply update with your content, print, and cut. Place signage in tiny wooden log, or hang on clothes rack.
Download the template
People prefer to shop without feeling they are being watched. Plan to bring a project or two to keep your hands and eyes busy. Not only will it allow your customers to shop pressure-free, but it will also make customers more interested in your work. As makers, we're so familiar with the making process that it loses some of it's fascination, but to non-makers it can be totally mesmerizing. Let them see how fast you are, how careful you are, and how much time and effort goes into a single piece.
Focus on lower priced items
It always comes as a shock to me, but what sells best online is typically not what sells best in person. I've found that a ~$30 pricepoint has the greatest conversion at markets. Year over year, the following 2 pieces are my top-selling pieces:
Leverage the mirror
Increase your customers confidence by allowing them to see your knitwear on them. They'll almost always ask for one, so it's better to be prepared.
I recommend a full size, standalone mirror.
Add something cozy
Tis the season to be cozy, right? Add a faux fur sheepskin rug somewhere in your booth to soften up the harsh lines of tables, boxes, and poles. A fur can also compliment the texture of knits, creating an uber cozy space that inspires buyers. You can drape it over a chair and then stack knits on it, place it under your standing mirror like an accent rug, or lay it across a table and style other items on top of it.
I pulled together some booth layout ideas, creative ways to hang things, DIYs, checklists, and more.