6 Tips for New Marketplace Vendors

6 Tips for New Marketplace Vendors

Last year, when we sat down to discuss where we wanted to take this business, we debated doing Marketplaces and Farmer's Markets in a year or so. That’s why when we signed up for our first market in March, we were unsure and nervous about how to begin, but since that first marketplace, we have been trying to do two a month and have learned so much. We are far from experts on how to do a market, but we thought we could share what we have learned and hope that this knowledge helps you. These tips are not in any order or preference.

Tip 1:  A Marketplace should feel like a community. It's hard to say it, but some venues and organizers are only looking to cash in on your booth fees. You need to do some research about the location, and the organizer of the marketplace, and talk with some of the other vendors. Most marketplaces are advertised through social media and the vendors that have signed up will post that they are going to attend. Chat with those vendors, see if they have attended the event before, and what they have to say about the location and organizers.  Even ask about what day of the month the market is on. Is it always on a day that other high-traffic events are on and attendance is weak? Once you find a marketplace that clicks tip 2 will come into play.

Tip 2:  Get to know your neighbors. During outdoor marketplaces, weather can be the greatest unknown and can change at a moment's notice, and your neighbors just might be the ones that help hold your tent or products down. You should also look at it as a chance to network with other artisans. Too many times when you sign up to sell your items in a marketplace the first thing that goes through your head is who is my main competition for sales. But I can tell you that this mindset will not serve you well. All vendors at a marketplace are artists with their own style and vision which shoppers can appreciate. So many other things can happen in a marketplace that worrying about what your neighbors sell will just set you back.

Tip 3:  Take time to shop in the marketplace yourself. This is kind of a hard tip to follow if you are working at your booth alone but if you can, get a chance to go shopping at some of the other booths.  Chat with your neighbors, try new products, and get inspired. There is also a good chance you might find different locations to try setting up shop.

Tip 4:  Don’t always rely on the venue’s Wi-Fi or internet. If your point-of-sale system needs a dedicated internet connection, using the venue Wi-Fi or network will work, but depending on their coverage and signal strength, it could leave you with spotty availability. One solution would be to use your phone as a hotspot or look at getting a dedicated separate hotspot but again depending on the cell signal, you may run into weak signals.

Tip 5:  If your booth includes items like tables, pop-up tents, or heavy displays, I highly recommend loading your vehicle with those items the night before. Position these items so they will be the first items that you can pull out for setting up. Also, investing in a foldable wagon is not a bad idea. They take up very little space but can be vital for your setup and breakdown process.

Tip 6: Dollar Store Saranwrap will be your best friend. When you have a limited amount of time for setup, having your displays already filled and just wrapped with saran wrap so nothing falls off is a big savings of time. When done correctly, you can reuse that wrap at the end of the day to help secure your product at closing time. These little tricks can also help you plan out your booth or table setup.

After sharing all these tips with you, I have to say that we are still new to this too and there really doesn’t seem to be just one right way to set up a marketplace booth. Do what feels right for you and what you are selling, remember to have fun with it and enjoy your days out. The main point of dragging everything out to a new location is to share your creativity with the community and grow your brand.

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