I just finished doing my second ever market booth/stall. And while it is fresh in my mind, I wanted to share my experience with all the first-timers out there who are thinking of selling their wares at a market or show.
First of all, a little background: What's On My Porch is my part-time, home-based business. I spend the warmer months junking for items to fix up and sell - mainly furniture and home decor. As I was growing this business, I received an offer from a nearby shop asking if I'd like to be part of their Spring Market - a gathering of vendors selling everything from furniture to jewelry and goat's milk soap to alpaca rugs. Yes, seriously.
I thought, "This is a great opportunity!" So I junked like I'd never junked before, went into a furniture-refinishing frenzy and ended up with LOTS of items to sell. Along the way, I made lots of mistakes but also had lots of triumphs. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom I have to pass on to you:
1. Get Ready
2. Get Ready Some MoreYou have items and a way to show them off, now you need a few more things. If your show is outside, you NEED a canopy. Yes, need. The sun is merciless and so is the rain. Wind can END you. So, anchor your canopy with a couple cinder blocks or bricks. Be prepared for the weather. You also need a cash drawer or pouch. I keep my prices in dollar increments. No messing around with a roll of quarters for me! Also: calculator, blankets, chairs, SNACKS, more snacks, water, sunscreen, a book or i-pad, etc. If you have access to electricity, bring a string of white lights. Paper/Markers. You want to make "Sold" signs and mark whether or not that person paid. (Hint, if you mark it SOLD, they should have paid.) Nobody wants to haul a dresser around while they're shopping. Save it. Mark it as sold. And write that person's contact info down.
3. Haggle HappensPeople expect a little haggling at a fair. Often they will bring a pile of items up to you and offer $___ for the whole pile. I'm usually a little flexible, especially if someone is buying a pile.
Hint: Don't shout at people. I let people peruse at their leisure. No pressure. If someone seems interested I might say, "Feel free to make me an offer on that." But that's all. I don't like to be badgered when I'm buying items. If I want it, I buy it. If not, then being harassed by a seller is not going to change my mind.