It’s been close to 3 years since doing my first craft/maker market! My first market was in the middle of the pandemic in November 2019 which is crazy to think about looking back. Since then, I've done dozens of markets; all in different locations and now across two different states. Markets can be very intimidating so I put together a quick list of my favorite hacks & tips!
1. Offer a freebie in exchange for Instagram (or other social media) follows
This is one of my favorite things I’ve started doing. I offer a free sticker if you follow L&K on Instagram at markets. Creating a solid following for any brand is so important. If a customer is already browsing my booth, I know they like my product which makes them ideal for becoming a part of my following. So, I'll offer them the freebie. They get a free sticker of choice and I get another supporter (and if you're wondering no, they usually don’t immediately unfollow!)
Of course, do this with something small. Don’t be giving away a super high-priced item.
2. Make friends with your booth neighbors
Aside from just meeting other cool makers and getting into the maker community, always introduce yourself to your booth neighbors. Something alwayyyys happens at a market and you never know when you’ll need help so make friends. If they’re more experienced then you odds are they’ve been through the same thing and if they’re a newbie maybe you can lend a hand or advice. Community, in my opinion, is the best part about markets. Everyone wants each other to succeed & make lots of sales.
3. Have a mystery box/bag of items at a discounted price
Sometimes you have left over product or seconds that you JUST want to get rid of. A grab bag is my favorite way to unload product quickly. I started offering a Mystery Pack of old or seconds cards for 50% off their retail price and they’re always a great seller. They’re still perfectly good cards but often just have little blemishes that I don’t feel comfortable selling at full price.
You could totally do different tiers for these (for example, a small bag at $10, a medium bag at $20, etc.) or a mix & match type situation. There’s lots of flexibility with these!
4. Have a business card or a promotional card easy to grab & take
Not every customer who browses your booth with purchase something but they might take your business card! They’re interested but not quite ready to purchase so make sure you have something in an easy to grab location that they can take with them. Include your logo, your website, social handles, your contact info (if applicable), and maybe even a discount code. Give them a way to find you after the market is over.
I keep a small bowl with my business cards at the corner of my table; an easy to grab location even if you’re just walking by.
4. Test Run Your Display – tape it off!
Always, always, always, do a trial run of your display BEFORE the event. There’s nothing more stressful then getting to the market and having no idea what your display will look like. Things happen day of; maybe there’s traffic and you get to the location late, weather is always a gamble, maybe your spot gets moved, any myriad of things, you want to have a plan going in.
I like to tape off the size of the space on the ground then fill in with my display pieces a few days before. You get to work out the kinks and experiment with how you want it to look without the time crunch or customers waiting for you to be done. Once I have everything the way I want it, I take photos of the set up to have as reference the day of.
DIY’ing displays is totally doable too! You don’t have to invest crazy amounts of money to have a great display. For example, here’s my How-To on how to make an A-Frame display (great for cards, prints, etc.).
6. Bring a Stool
This one seems simple but it’s something I can’t live without at markets. People love interacting with makers at markets, it’s part of the draw, but standing all day hurts by the end of the day. I love a stool because you’re still fairly upright, not too low to the ground, and aren’t hiding behind your product. Customers can still interact with you closer to eye level but you’re sitting – which is magical by the end of the day.
There you have it! My favorite hacks & tips for markets thus far. At the time I’m writing this it’s summer in Dallas, aka 100+ degree weather every day, so it’s been a while since I’ve done a market. Hoping fall comes soon so I can get back out there!