So... you’re a super motivated crafter and micro business owner, and you’re looking to really connect with your audience, broaden your exposure and gain more sales. Going to market sound attractive, but don’t know where to start? The CHA are here to help!
Going to market is a great avenue through which you can promote your business and gain sales; and can successfully compliment your online, wholesale and consignment efforts. It’s your very own store front - a little bit space which you run and control. That is exciting! But you may not have retail sales or customer service experience; or merchandising training. That’s ok - everyone starts somewhere.
Before you stay up sewing into the wee hours of the morning (surviving on coffee, determination and the good will of your partner) you should make sure you have done your homework and are truly prepared.
This week is ‘Market Week’ where we share the combined knowledge, experience and expertise of many people connected with the CHA; from members contributing their thoughts on the Discussion Thread, to sellers who are known for their outstanding visual merchandising; and other friends of the CHA who have more than 2 cents worth to add.
Look out for regular posts all this week which should help you get started!
Goals and Expectations
First things first! You need to set yourself up to succeed. Have a plan. Have realistic goals and expectations. Do your homework.
It is a good idea to have a business plan (another blog post entirely) and you should build selling at markets into that plan. Know where it sits in the grand scheme of things.
Start by working out why YOU are going to market:
- Is it to shift old stock?
- Try out new stock?
- Sell your whole range, or just a portion?
- Make some quick cash?
- Gain exposure?
- Make a connection with your audience and get real time feedback?
- Build and develop your business image and reputation?
- Get people to sign up to your mailing list and encourage them to follow you on Facebook and Twitter?
- Get them to take your business details so they can buy online?
- A combination of some or all of these... and more?
Not all of these goals will yield you a heavy money tin at the end of the day, but all will be helping you with the bigger picture and achieve your mid and long term goals.
It is unlikely that you will make a fortune at your first, or even third market. That’s ok, as long as you understand it and have planned for it. To start you might run at a loss. It may take you 6 months to make a profit. But remember the reasons why you are there; and know that when you’re first starting out, there is so much more than just money to be gained from the experience.
Set some goals. Initially, aim to cover your cost to be there (stall fees, equipment hire, insurance, travel etc). Then, set yourself mini targets such as making a profit of $100, $200 and onwards.
You will most likely be making some initial investments to get set up; with tables, a marquee, merchandising equipment (‘set dressing’ if you like) a chair, signage and more. Give yourself time to recoup these costs, and remember that when all is said and done, many of these items will be able to be integrated into your everyday life (an extra table at the family reunion is always handy!) You don’t have to buy it all NOW. You can progressively expand your set up as you gain sales and can afford it. Work out what is vital, and what is just nice to have. What can be borrowed from friends and family? What can you purchase second hand or from an op-shop? Don’t push yourself into debt - remember that the aim is to make money!
Know that often, people like to see you at market regularly before they buy from you. You might have a product that they like, but maybe they don’t have a reason to buy it right away. Or perhaps they want to get a feel for you before they commit to buy. Or they just think ‘next time’. Regularly turning up at the same market will help to build your presence and reputation.
Every time you go to market, you will be more comfortable and confident with the process. Make sure that you and your family/supporters know exactly what you are aiming to achieve and take a step closer every time you go to market. And remember that goals can change…. adapt with them to remain current!
Next post: Choose a suitable market
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