(Due to the length of this post, it will be published in two parts. Part 1 is an introduction and summary of the markets I’ve sold at. Part 2 will express my experience tips under certain categories – and is rather lengthy.)
After four markets and one pop-up shop, I decided to reflect upon my experience for the past 6 months. My decision to start selling at markets was from as I was no longer at university, and I was completing my small business training I thought it would be a great experience to practice my skills – and it had been something on my mind for a while. I’d like to go to markets; seeing what people create and I have a fascination with products.
At this point, I’ve been practicing origami casually for around 2.5 years, and thought that it would be a good challenge and experimentation to make products that people could buy, have in their home/space and simply adore it.
I applied for my first market back in late April and found out around then that I had got in a month before the day. This was a busy time as I was finishing – and would finish my course – 4 days before hand.
Below is a timeline split into the experience of each market:
June 1st: Design Exchange, Mining Exchange:
- First market.
- Had a short time to make everything.
- Even though I had many supplies, still had to purchase more.
- Needed equipment to display items on (table, garment racks, etc…)
- Experiment; see what people like/dislike/what sells well at different prices.
- Market name under graphic design name.
- Sh*te weather
- Cost $155 for the stall, 6hrs.
Summary: Cost way too high for selling origami – or anything in general with the consideration of time and if you had to travel – but a good first experience.
- Experimenting, re-designing identity/create new logo
- Trying to find out about markets
- Twilight market
- Frist market under new identity and set up
- More streamline product line
- Really hot day (somewhat stuffy inside)
- A lot of looking, not really buying
- Made less than $10 after site of stall.
Summary: Felt as though I was going on a downhill with the whole experience – everybody looking but no-one buying. After two markets, was hundreds of dollars in the negative and wasn’t looking like I would get out of it. Was here when I found out about the ChristmasFest market.
December 5th: ChristmasFest Lakeside market (Pleasant Street P.S.)
- Twilight market
- Had one hour to set up (which is not long for me, takes me ages)
- In a corridor area, had to have display close to wall and stand at one end.
- To get to the outside area, I was in the main passage way to this space, thus had lots of people walking past.
- Lots of interest.
- Something different to what other people were selling, hence the interest.
- Became colder in the evening, thus people were waiting around where my stall was.
This was a great confidence booster that I was after and came in good timing. Made money back on the stall plus more. Very happy at end of night. I offered something quite different from a lot of other stores, and something new. Had a lot of interest and an offer to join a community craft group. I even had a few people tell me that I should put my prices up – which I took on board for the next market.
December 20th: Creswick Market
- Five days before Christmas – last minute buying gift time.
- Relatively warm day – lovely weather.
- Had my set up near the two entry points to the hall and on a corner (helped with my display for the garment rack.
- Lots of interest and delight from customers – even some from the market before came along.
- People surprised with the relatively cheap prices – had someone buy something and told me to keep the change ($1, but hey).
- Got given lollies and badge by organisers as a gift for selling away. (really handy b/c I was hungry.)
Very much enjoyed myself at this market. Still didn’t managed to sell any of my flower balls, but one day I will. Financially; best market thus far I’ve done. Had someone invite me to a market they were setting up in Hepburn area. Had interest to make more items after market. Generally, I believe people were fascinated with what I had – something new/new angle. Got to meet new people and look forward to going back and selling there; at which I might as I had people interested in some items, but not in Christmas theme.
- Organised the day before, thus only had the night to advertise it on facebook.
- On main street on town, people just pop in if walking past.
- Took me forever to set up and pack down b/c I had to park far away.
- Sat in space and made origami (people can watch me make it.)
I was only perhaps expecting to make $10-$15 on the day, and ended up making $40 – so I was quite pleased considering it was only organised the day before. It was lovely to talk to people who came in and asked about things – even if they just wanted a look. So, I made more money than what I would have just sitting at home and making stuff thus I’m glad I put the effort into setting up (and mum was happy that I sold a few more bits.)
***Part 2 of this post will discuss some tips from my experience. ***