The Craft Market Equation - there's more to it than you think!

Spring in Australia means the Craft Market scene starts to hit it's stride ready to peak for the Christmas season.
Having done many of these seasons myself and knowing many Haby Goddess readers are themselves craft market stallholders, I wanted to discuss a topic that is often discussed amongst stallholders.  And that is the measurement of the day's success on a particular equation.

The total amount of sales in $ value - stallholder fee = Success or Failure

Many attend markets with an $ expectation in mind and if they don't achieve that figure then they are disappointed. By having a different approach you may have a very different result.
There is so much more to gain from attending a market than the total sales at the end of that day.
  • Engage with your customers regardless of whether they are going to buy your product.  They may next time.  Most visitors to markets are there because they want to be, it's a day out. Use this relaxed & friendly atmosphere to ask questions and find out as much as you can (only if they are happy to engage in conversation of course). Do they come here often? Is today a typical crowd/numbers? Ask them why they like coming to this particular market? What are their favourite stalls? It is not all about getting the sale - think of it a lot like social media. Get off your iPhone! Don't sit to the back of your stall gossiping to the friend you've dragged along - it drives me crazy!
  • Have a mailing list sheet available to record as many contacts as you can.   Mention that you may not be at the next market but you can keep them up to date via an email newsletter. Explain to them the benefits of joining your mailing list. Even though they may not purchase this time round or you never attend that market again, you have begun a relationship with a potential future customer.
  • Postcards, Flyers, Business cards - be well stocked and offer as many as appropriate.  Position in more than one place throughout your stall.  Add extras to all bags with your purchases.  Every card given is a new contact made.
  • Talk to other stallholders - network.  I have made some wonderful market friendships over the years, even with my competitors. These friendships may lead to many other opportunities down the track like collaborating on joint projects, shared links etc.  They may share of another market where they had a great success or the attendees were more your ideal customer base.
  •  Compare the cost to other advertising forms.  By doing this market, how many new people will be exposed to your product compared to print or online advertising for the same cost. Can you get advertising for the same price? Remember people are able to touch and see your product first hand.  You can explain things about your product that may be difficult to in writing.
  • Exposing your product to potential retailers.  Many retailers trawl craft markets looking for products that will give them an edge over their competitors.  If you are set up to wholesale your product have all the info & retailer kits ready to hand out.  If you say "I'll get something in the mail to you", they could quite possibly move onto the next stall and find a stallholder who has all the relevant information available.  Even if you are not wholesale ready, some retailers may offer consignment style arrangements.
So there is some food for thought when you're attending your next market.  Even if the sales for that day are not as high as you expected, the hard work you put in during the day may very well pay off down the track.


Rie said...

OMG.. I hate it when you stop by a stall & the person is too engrossed in their phone/newspaper to be bothered with the customer !! I just wanna tell them if they can't be bothered then they should just go home!!

Anonymous said...

This is a great article ! Thankyou :)

trudi@maudeandme said...

How I rate the day depends on the weather! Happy to sit in the sunshine all day and chat to people. Another story if it is drizzling and horrible.

Megsy-Jane said...

Thanks for the great article Jodie. We do a local market, which is mostly a farmers market so 90% of people visiting the market are there for the day out or to buy produce and plants. It has been a good advertising place and we do get return business. I was actually happy on the day, which was a particularly slow one due to some other major events on that day, when we didn't sell A THING. Why? Because you can't do any worse than selling nothing, it has only happened once and probably won't again. I also get a lot of people dropping in just to say hi which is lovely...though I do notice if some of my Mum's friends pop in, and stand IN the stall socializing, it does drive away we try to usher the ladies over a bit when they get gossiping lol!

Tori said...

Thank you for this post! It's very helpful : )

Adelle said...

Check out The Market Roll, for around 200 markets in Victoria and Sydney - PLUS see the stall holders who'll be there on the day!

Lots of helpful and fun market info in our blog too!