It’s November which means market season is officially here! For some, that’s really exciting (I’m in this camp). While for others it can be super stressful (They’re a lot of work, I get it!). Here are 10 things I bring with me to markets that make them as easy as possible.
- Wheels. This seems like a no brainer but for so long I put off buying a cart/wagon. I’m a strong, independent woman who can carry her goods right? Yes, but also no haha. Making multiple trips back and forth to the car is extra work you don’t need to be doing. Save your back, arms, and hands, and invest in some wheels. You won’t regret it I promise.
- A POS system & cash. You can take credit card payments manually but did you know you get charged a higher fee for those transactions? It might not seem like much but by the end of the day it makes a big difference in your profits. Similarly, always bring cash/change. I don’t know what it is lately but I’ve had more and more people paying with cash. Don’t turn a customer away just because you don’t have cash with you!
- Tape. If you have smaller, lighter goods this one’s for you. The majority of what I make is paper and let me tell you wind and paper are not friends. For outdoor events I often have to tape most things down. If I don’t have tape with me, I’m constantly getting up and down to pick things up which gets annoying if you’re at an event for 6+ hours.
- A tall chair or stool. When you’re at an event you want to be high up & able to talk to people ya know? I end up standing most of the time at events so I’m not hiding behind my displays but let me tell you, a bar height, collapsible stool is a game-changer. You’re still up high (and able to see people browsing your product) but get to save your feet. 10/10.
- A photo of your complete set-up. Every time I’m going into a new space or venue I always set up as a test run first. Then take a picture and use it as reference while I’m setting up. On the day of an event don’t overload yourself with decisions; you’ve got enough to worry about already. Plan it out in advance so you can just go in and recreate it.
- A discount card to hand out. If you’re like me, sometimes you’re just not feeling super social/talkative the day of an event. Instead of handing out traditional business cards, I’ve started handing out a little card (same size as a business card) that has my logo, a short sentence of what I sell, a discount code, and my social handles. It gives me an easy talking point and hopefully encourages them to find me online. Win-win.
- Learn your load in & out locations and find where the bathroom is. Like #5, go in prepared. Admittedly, I get anxious when going to a new location. I like to look up the street/venue on Google Maps so I know what it looks like/can know I’m in the right place. That’s probably overkill, but do what you need to do to get familiar with where you’re going. Do you need a parking permit? Is there a vendor specific parking location? What time is your load in group? Similarly, when you get there ask or find the bathroom! Crucial. You get it.
- A buddy. Some people are more comfortable doing events alone (hi, it’s me!) but help can be invaluable. I know many people who will bring their partner, a family member, or a friend to events. They help with set up/tear-down, be your hype person, be your check out person, amongst other things. Personally, I like to do events by myself, I'm less self conscious that way, but I do like having someone come just to help with set up & tear down. Whatever works for you!
- Something to pass the time (can double as a conversation starter!). Some events can draaaag on so bring something to do. I often will bring my sketchbook or my iPad and work on drawings. Patrons love to see what you’re working on/see creatives at work and it’s often a conversation starter. We’re small business owners, there’s always something to do. Use the time to catch up on those small mindless tasks.
- Get to know your booth neighbors and the event organizers. This has helped me so many times! Not only do you make a connection but small biz owners are always willing to help. Same with event organizers, they want you to do well! If something happens (and anything can happen) they’re there to help. Introduce yourself and know their contact information.
It’s a long list but these are the top things that have helped markets get gradually easier. The more you do, the easier they get. You’ll figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.
Did I forget something? Got an idea? Let me know!