Being a Market Vendor can be a rewarding, enriching, and awesome experience. It can, also, be a lot of hard work, early mornings, and long periods away from your family without any discernable payoff. Our experiences operating Splat and Co
in both bi- weekly Farmers Markets and seasonal specialty crafters fairs has shown us that paying attention to a few seemingly simple and small details can help you immesurably in the end.
1) Be Branded. Your identity will go a long way and this rings true on two levels for us. Our space was designed after checking out hundreds and hundreds of other vendors, both online and at our local farmers market. Our overall goal was to present one single cohesive visual for people to grasp and hold on to and people often ask us where our brick and mortar store is located.. or they remember us from disparate events weeks and months previous. Your booth is your stage and your performance is the interaction with your audience, the patrons, so make it a memorable one.. visually and verbally.. right down to your on-stage costume and presence (try to stand and look approachable or do your craft if it is slow,sitting at the back of your booth reading a book or texting will not encourage people to stop). Also keep materials such as tags, signage and brochures cohesive to really emphasis your brand.
2) Be Prepared. Arriving early is always a good thing, not always possible but it’s a good idea. Being fully set up when the clock strikes “go” is incredibly important; you want to start your day at your best not stressed and running about. Mind you, there are some days when that isn’t possible.. sometimes patrons are handing you money before you’ve finished setting up, but remember.. they don’t have a clear association with the start time as you might and well.. they might just be really eager. Having a checklist of items to bring; items you can’t do without like a receipt book and the smartphone plug-in for credit card processing, or have a craft show day kit that has all the necessities in one place. And for good measure, did you do the dress rehersal at home before heading to your launch day? We run dress rehersals for any new events.. especially if the booth/ table size is different.. it gives us a great chance to see our booth set up and we even take a picture of it for reference for the day.
3) Be Engaging. Questions, comments and salutations go a long way to bring potential customers into your stage. Do you have samples people could try? Do you have an unique item that people just need to know about? Or is it just an awesome day to be alive and everyone should know it? Engage your potential clients in a positive, effective manner to draw them in to your booth. One way we achieve this is by asking them as they are walking by if they have heard of dryer balls. We find many people walking by are curious what these wool balls are and once we start to explain what they do it tends to draw in a crowd and sales, it also can attract them to look at your other items. A big part of the engagement of strangers is also being aware of when to back off. Granted, it’s impossible to pre-qualify potential customers and make the right comment to the right person, but making sure you are actively engaging them is important.
4) Bring in Sales after the show.
Marketing yourself to bring in customers after the show or repeat customers is a great way to grow and earn beyond the show. Have an online shop
and make sure to have materials available to send your potential or returning customers to. We always have stacks of business cards throughout our display as well as postcards with a cute photo of our products. Information sheets are also great for products that need some explanation. We have a stack of sheets with our dryer balls so people can read about them if we are busy with another customer or they can take one. The sheet has all the facts about the balls and our contact info. Mailing lists are also a great way for people to know what you are up to so have a mailing list sign up with an incentive; sign up and be entered in a draw. And last but not least we have coupons we hand out to all purchasers to save at our online shop, we also hand them out to people who seem on the fence about purchasing.
5) Be Professional
. Market vending is just like any other microcosm or experience; there will be good days and bad, there will be good customers and bad just like there are good vendors and bad. We’ve been positioned beside stellar market mates and just the opposite; we’ve had days that outstripped our modest hopes and others where we’ve cycled the 95 minute ride (uphill) home with that 100+pound trailer locked to the back wheel in blistering summer heat.. after speaking to virtually nobody the whole market day and we are happy to say that in all, the decision to start Splat and Co
is not one we regret, in the least. And with that in our minds, we keep our chin up, booth organized, and make sure that we are always ready for a chat or a handshake.. either brighten up our day.
Written by Jamie and Mike owners of Splat And Co. We are a husband and wife team who enjoy crafting, art and being active. We have a three year old daughter Bean, who is our inspiration for Splat And Co.
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