Markets are the perfect way to put yourself out there & help your customers put a face to your business! It also helps all the market go-ers discover your brand if they’ve never heard of it before. It’s like a breath of fresh air when new customers gush over your perfectly placed products! That’s all great & makes you feel like you’ve go it going on, doesn’t it? It should!
Market prep & getting to that point takes a lot of work, but don’t be scared! We’ve got all the tips, tricks, do’s & don’ts of market season right here for you! If you’ve been wanting to give markets a go, now is your chance my friend.
The most important step in getting your market season started is finding the perfect market for you & your brand. Head over to our Finding the Perfect Market post to read all about our fave markets & learn how we pick our markets!
So you’ve read all about finding the perfect market & you’ve picked your first market, now it’s time to prep! The dreaded market prep. It can be really fun, but it can also be stressful. Our first piece of advice is take it one day at a time! Below are other tips in prepping for your first, fifth or twenty seventh market.
Take it one day at a time
I know, I know I already said this, but it’s that important that you should hear it again. Don’t think too far ahead that you overwhelm & stress yourself out.
Find what works for you
Real descriptive, right? What I mean is that you need to figure out if you get the most done by creating an assembly line or making each product from start to finish! For me, I choose to do an assembly line, because I find it helps me stay more productive & surprisingly I get done much quicker with my projects.
Pressure to Conform
Just because someone else preps for their market a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Find what works best for you & stick with it.
Noise or silence, you choose!
I have tried a lot of things to keep me engaged while creating. I’ve tried listening to my favorite show on Netflix or Hulu. It’s usually something I know well & can “see in my head” without actually watching. So for me, I listen to Friends or Grey’s Anatomy. I typically end up watching it, so I’ve found this isn’t the best way to stay engaged.
I’ve tried listening to audiobooks too. Y’all. I wanted audiobooks to be my jam so bad, but I got halfway through the book & realized I had no idea what the book was even about.
Music? I tend to listen to music that gets me going! Usually EDM, Trap, 80’s or lipsync radio are my go-to’s!
Podcasts! My new favorite thing to listen to when while I make & market prep are podcasts. I pop my headphones in and catch up on all my fave podcasters. Here are a few of my faves: Straight Up With Stassi – Stassi Schroeder, Business Boutique – Cristy Wright, Goal Digger – Jenna Kutcher.
Think About Your Top Sellers!
For me, this is the hardest part of market season. What to bring. At the beginning of the year, I sit down and reflect on my last market season & think about what my biggest sellers were. Which items sold the best, in what colors, should I change anything about them? If there is anything new you want to introduce, think about that as well!
Anything I don’t want to bring back, if it didn’t sell well or I just didn’t enjoy making it typically ends up in my clearance bin! This is a great thing to have at markets. People love to see the word sale or clearance!
Life After Market Prep
Now that you’re finally done prepping after was seems like forever, you’re ready to start thinking about your market & market set up! We have some great tips on your booth set up on our Finding the Perfect Market post.
Both of my maker besties also have great posts about setting up your booth & giving your booth that extra umph! Katie discusses do’s & don’ts of booth set up here! Taylor has a couple great vlogs about getting your booth set up, watch them here!
Do’s & Don’ts to Success!
Alright, enough chit-chat about prepping for markets. Let’s do a quick rapid fire general do’s & don’ts of markets!
Do: Accept credit cards! Square has a great reader that you can get for free! Head to https://squareup.com/i/ASHIVY1000 to get free processing on up to $1,000!
Do: Bring enough petty cash with you! Most people carry their card, but some people still prefer cash. Here’s the break down of how I do my cash: large markets – $400 ($200 in $1’s, $100 in both $5s & $10s). Small markets – about half of that.
Don’t: Take other forms of payment. I recently went to an event where everyone wanted to pay via an app (Venmo), it just makes it difficult to track exactly how much money you’re taking in.
Do: Link your Etsy to Square! My maker bestie, Katie makes a listing for each item she brings. Be like Katie. If you’re like me though, not wanting to put in the extra work, at least make a listing on your Square app for each category of items you sell (i.e. blanket, burp cloth, bib, pacifier clip, etc.). Linking your shop to square helps your shop out in the long run, it increases your sales!
Do: Bring a wall charger for your phone or purchase a battery pack! This will keep you at ease if you tend to lose battery life quickly.
Do: Set up offline payments on Square (only if you’re comfortable of course)! Markets that have Wi-Fi for you to use are great, but the Wi-Fi doesn’t always work because there are so many people trying to be on it at one time. If you set up offline payments, you won’t have to worry about the internet crashing. The only thing with offline payments is, if a card is declined you won’t know until you connect to Wi-Fi again.
Do: Price all of your goods! People hate asking how much something is.
Do: Also put prices on a letter board or type them up & frame them by category (i.e. – I post frames around my booth that say, Mittens – $30, Llamas – $22, etc.)
Do: Have something eye catching in the front of your booth! I have a standing letter-board that has a funny quote on it, it never fails to catch people’s attention! Try balloons or a giveaway. Lure the shoppers in!
Don’t: Start your market without standing 5 feet away from the front of your booth to look at it. Shoppers decide in 5 seconds, FIVE SECONDS, whether or not they want to come in!
Do: Greet Every. Single. Person. that comes into your booth to shop! Whether it’s a “Hi”, “How are you”, “Are you shopping for anything specific”, “Let me know if you have any questions”, “Can I help you find something?”. Your customers want to be acknowledged & do it with a smile!
Do: Say thank you to each person that purchases something! A thank you can go a long way!
Do: Use your entire space! Unless there are two different elevations in your booth, then spread it out as much as you can, while keeping it all on the same level.
Do: Bring water & snacks!
Don’t: Keep your business cards in one spot! Instead, spread them out through your booth.
Do: Pack an “Oh Shit Kit”! My kit includes: extra paper, a notebook, scissors, shipping tape, twine or string, tags & pins, thread & a needle, bandaids, pens & sharpies. Anything that you think you may run out of that is specific to your set up, include in this box!
Do: Create an open concept in your booth! You want people to be able to see in your booth while walking by. If possible, create two ways to enter/exit your booth.
Do: Have a rain plan! This could include umbrellas, rain boots & plastic. If you don’t have the money to buy panels for your tent or even a tent that includes panels, buy plastic drop cloths! We tape those up as “sides” in our booth.
Do: A practice booth set up! This is so helpful for us. It helps us to not over or under pack for the show. We know exactly what we need to take. On that same note, take pictures of your booth!
Do: Pack your vehicle the day or night before! This keeps your stress level low the day of your market!
Don’t: Rush to pack up & go home. We are always so eager to get home, but we really hate when we get home and have to unpack everything to repack it correctly. So take your time. Pack up everything the correct way.
Do: Use as much of your own items & borrowed items as you can! My husband always complains that I borrow things from our family, but it really saves me money!
We hope that if this is your first market season, you’re feeling a little more prepared after all our tips & tricks! If you’re a seasoned veteran, we hope that you found a new tip or two to help you out this upcoming season!