Welcome to Craft Market Success!
Craft Market Success is a series that we created to help entrepreneurs/makers who are interested in doing craft markets but could use some help getting started. We will walk you through the entire process, from nervous start to successful finish. Even seasoned craft market exhibitors will find some useful tips on how to refresh their market experience.
For this series, we teamed up with Leslie Kuny of Westcoast Leslie Designs. She has had extensive experience in both participating in and hosting her own craft market, the SHIFT Handmade Market. We knew Leslie’s expertise would mean she’d be a great go-to source for useful tips and ideas. Plus, she’s pretty fun to work with!
The third post of our series is Market Day Is Finally Here. Leslie will share some great tips to help you prepare for and enjoy your market day. Enjoy!
It’s a couple days out from the market and the butterflies are starting to build and the doubts are creeping in…
Today we’re talking about how to really set yourself up to keep you from being TOTALLY stressed the day of the market! Here are my tried + true tips about how to keep your market day less stressful.
And yes, I actually do ALL these things!
#1. PACK YOUR VEHICLE THE NIGHT BEFORE!
DO NOT stay up until 2am making more inventory.
It’s too late.
That’s like cramming for the exam outside the lecture hall. It’s not going to make a lick of difference.
Have a good dinner and pack up your vehicle as much as possible. I also make sure to always take my Emergency Market Kit and my “Day Of” bag (more about that in a bit).
By packing up ahead of time I RARELY forget anything. I’m calm and I’m not under any pressure. I make sure I’ve got everything I need like mirrors and bags and oh yeah, bootcuffs!
It also gives me time to make decisions like “do I NEED to bring this?”. I also value my sleep more than anything so I would rather stay up a little longer the night before then wake up earlier the next morning!
#2. PREPARE FOR HUNGER
Get a little bag together with some simple, tidy, snacks to keep your blood sugar up. We all know we’re not ourselves when we’re hangry and trust me, no one wants to buy from a hangry crafter! My go to market day snacks include Cliff Bars, Lara Bars, trail mix, spinach salad (IRON!), veggie + pasta salad, veggies with hummus or a protein smoothie.
If you’re looking for some filling and delicious food, check out Certified Nutritionist Annaliissa Kaap’s blog. I make my smoothies the night before (packed with protein) and sip as I drive to the event – that way I kill two birds with one stone. Oh, and don’t forget a refillable water bottle! Staying hydrated is especially important during a looooong market day.
#3. MY “DAY OF” BAG
Every market you will see me with a tote bag that has EVERYTHING I need for the day. This includes snacks, water bottle, yarn, crochet hooks, extra postcards, business card, etc.
Also, don’t forget to bring your cash box with you. Make sure you have a good float, your payment processing stuff, pens, calculator and phone. I even bring my charging cord during long shows…you don’t want a dead phone!
#4. ARRIVE ON TIME
A lot of events have to set up BEFORE the vendors get there, VERY early in the morning. Please don’t show up before the load in time. Everyone needs time to set up and that includes the hosts of the market.
Be on time. Unload quickly.
Pull your vehicle up to the event, unload everything into the building or into your booth and then move your vehicle.
THEN go and build your booth.
This allows other vendors to load in after you with ease. Plus you’ll also be out of the way and can focus on your booth. Also if you’re running late, text the organizers or other vendor friends so they can relay the message to the organizers.
#5. WATCH YOUR FOOT PRINT
We’ve all seen people who take liberties with the space they’re given.
DON’T BE THAT VENDOR!!
Most events give you 8 feet across and 4-5 feet of depth.
DO NOT BRING AN 8 FOOT TABLE AND A SEPARATE DISPLAY TO GO BESIDE!!!!!
Sorry about that….this is obviously something that gets my goat because I believe in fairness. If the space you’re allotted is 8 feet wide- then that’s all you get!
If you usually use an 8 foot table and separate stand-alone display piece, you can’t bring both for that space!!!
You’re going to encroach on your neighbor and that’s just a lack of respect. By taking up more space than you’re allotted you are saying, “I am more important than you, fellow maker”. If I’m your neighbor, I’m probably not going to say anything because I’m too nice and I don’t want to piss off my vendor neighbor. However, I’m going to be REALLY frustrated!
It also shows a lack of respect for event hosts, who measured and marked out everyone’s booth space based on who paid for what. It says to the hosts “I didn’t read my acceptance email about how much space I have and I didn’t adjust my display to fit within the booth I bought”.
Imagine if EVERY vendor did that? It would be a nightmare. There’d be nowhere for shoppers to move and all the vendors would be trapped behind displays.
There are also fire regulations for isles and emergency exits that market organizers consider when parceling out land for booths. Safety is key!
#6. BE FRIENDLY BUT REMEMBER YOUR PURPOSE
Some vendors LOVE to socialize and chat with other vendors.
And I do too.
But I’m there to sell, to form relationships with shoppers and build my business.
Chatting between shoppers is AWESOME! I have to say that handmade vendors have become some of my favourite people and I’m blessed to call many of them friends.
Here’s a rule of thumb I live by at markets even when I’m just visiting the market:
if I’m chatting with a vendor and a customer comes by, I stop talking to my vendor friend and leave. This isn’t being rude, this is allowing the vendor to do their job.
So if I’ve ever walked away from your booth or stopped talking to you, please don’t be offended! I want every vendor to be successful. Our discussion about coffee or how tired we are isn’t gonna help your sales.
I also stop talking to vendors if a shopper comes up to my booth because
1). I’m at work and
2). that shopper deserves my attention
There will always be lulls at markets and those are great times to get to know your neighbor. But when it’s shopping time, let’s help our shoppers and educated them about our handmade artisan wares.
So there you go.
Following these 6 steps on market day will help you stay calm, stress-free and neighbourly.
Read the 4th and final post in our series here!