How2: Market Survival Tips

The farmers market season is upon us, are you ready to sell your artwork at a local market?

This week marked my fifth year selling at my local market. I’m sharing some strategies for a successful day at the market.

• Practice your display at home first

• Have different levels on your display tables. This brings more visual interest as well as gives you more room to showcase your wares.

• Make sure your displays are sturdy, they should stand up to customers & wind.

• Have a lot of change. Then get more. The alternative is to have tax included, you will need to back out the sales tax at the end of the day to pay the state, but you won’t be burdened by a bunch of coins.

• Put your information on the customer copy of your receipt book before you start, you can use a stamp or print labels, this way, if somehow your customer doesn’t get a business card, they will still have your info.

• Make a price list with tax and total, if you're like me my math skills are completely absent early Saturday morning. I still use a calculator for figuring change, that and plenty of caffeine and I'm in business.

• Dress appropriately, layer. You never know with early spring, and if you happen to be set up in the shade it's going to be even colder. If you're in the sun, you may need some sunscreen. Prepare for both! Pack some "little hotties" hand warmers and a tube of SPF & sunglasses.

• Give yourself plenty of time to set up, if you are done early you can always go grab coffee or say hello to fellow vendors

• Some markets have a selling before the bell policy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t interact with customers, talk to them, get their purchase ready, you just can’t take the cash until that bell rings.

• Taking credit cards… if you have a smart phone look into the
square or other apps, other options available include Pro-pay & Paypal. These are good temporary solutions unless you want to commit to a contract that could last for a couple of years.

• Know where the nearest ATM is, especially if you don't take credit cards.

• Have a
sign-up book for e-mail mailing list, you can let your customers know about new items, special sales, or send them coupons for their next visit.

• Make sure your prices are clearly marked.

• Have things in different price ranges. Not everyone can afford the original, have some prints too. Greeting cards & postcards are great impulse buys especially with tourists. Smaller pieces that pack well are a good idea too, as many markets can attract tourists.

• Get a banner for the front of your tent. Or make one.
Create brand identity and get your name out there.

• Put some things at eye level. Have something interesting to draw people to your space. Whether it's a colorful sign, work of art, or a hanging display, it will make your booth more enticing.

• Make friends with your neighbors. You never know when you might need change for a fifty or run out of credit card slips, or simply need a quick potty break!

• Please don't just sit behind your table, greet people, welcome them, walk around and interact! (if you must sit, see if you can get a stool or bar height chair, it makes you more approachable & eye contact easier with customers)

• NEVER let a customer leave empty-handed. Give them a
business card or a flier, a sample of some sort, something to remember you by. I’ve done pin back buttons, temporary tattoos, and candy with my logo on it as take-aways. Other ideas include upcycled bookmarks, mini matchbook notebooks, magnets, postcards.

• Most of all have fun! The customers at farmers markets are already in tune to sustainable options, and you’ll find they love local artists.

Images & Text ©
Miss Courageous


onewomanstudio said...

Awesome tips! And just in time!

kimmy said...

Wow! you have that down to a science. makes me want to do a show or two.

alexkeller said...

fantastic advice!!!

French Elegant Jewelry said...

Make sure you weight down your tent and bring food and water. My tent almost flew away on my first show despite 20 lbs to a corner. Oh and were did you get candy with your logo. I'm thinking of stapling candy to my business cards.

Rachael B. Winkley said...

Fantastic - some of the best market advice I've read!

Anyone's Guess said...

Great advice; thanks for the tips!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the advise! Some I knew, but some new to me. Yes, just in time for the start of the markets. I would also like to know where you get the candy with your logo. I would love to do that as well.

Miss Courageous said...

hi everyone, I printed my logo on labels and put it on the candy, easy peasy. :)

Anonymous said...

You also have a great eye catching color scheme to your booth, Millie -- it can be seen and recognized from a long ways away!
Wonderful tips!


Unknown said...

It is great fun to give out professional looking greeting cards, only for people to discover that you created those custom greeting cards yourself. I have had family members, associates and even clients get amazed at the level of customization and professional finish that my own custom greeting card printing has.

adult greeting cards