It's market day! You have done your research and chosen a particular market. With a sigh of relief you've been accepted - Yeah! - and you have also spent a great deal of time getting prepared. Your stall is set up and looking just how you planned it, and now you are waiting for the doors to magically open.
Job done, right? No, it's only just started.
- Get a good nights sleep. Being sluggish and feeling generally crappy isn't a good look and it makes it hard to roll with the punches.
- Dress for success. Find a market-day outfit, fix your hair and put some lippy on! Remember you are the face of your business. Some people will buy something from you because they want to buy a little piece of your uniqueness.
- Be polite and professional to your fellow stallholders and the Market Co-ordinator. You don't know who they are, whom they know, what blog they write, what connections they may have etc. Rudeness won't open any doors.
- Be open to forming friendships and using this market as an opportunity to network. Personally I've made some great friendships with other stallholders, friendships that have helped my business grow.
- Don't let things faze you. Be prepared for all situations and have a Plan A to Z. Take ownership of the situation and deal with it.
- Complaining isn't going to get you anywhere. Having a b*tch to customers or other stallholders isn't going to change anything, suck it up and deal with the issue professionally after the market.
- Set realistic expectations for how much you're likely to sell - because it really does fluctuate so much. Factor in the weather, economic climate, time of year when setting sales targets.
- Be prepared to tidy or reorganise your display throughout the day. Sure it looked good at home but if it's not drawing the shoppers in, then move things around. If no one's looking at the gorgeous dress you've put on your mannequin, change it for another that may catch their eye
- Take responsibility for your choices; know beforehand what your goals and expectations are.
- Smile and maintain a positive attitude. Trust me this can sometimes be hard but you need to find the positive in every situation. Find that elusive silver lining.
I've done a few markets and I've seen some good, bad and down right ugly behaviour by stallholders.
I was at one market a year or so back where the attendance was down and I barely made my table price. Some people moaned about this and yes, I too was disappointed, but instead of lamenting all those nights crocheting my little heart out and voicing this to my fellow stallholders, I decided to use this opportunity to do a bit of networking. After that market I received a boost in Facebook fans due to shoutouts from my fellow stallholders and I also picked up some wholesale work, which well and truly made up for the lack of sales on the day.
Note: This article was first available in the Billycart Markets Newsletter 2012, Issue #1.