Behind the Market Table: Part Two

(I know, I know, I’m a little late on this. I’m sick, and my brain gets all boggled when I’m sick.)

Okay, so you’ve packed up you necessary stationary and personal items and food and so on.

But what products are you going to bring? That’s the real question, isn’t it? That’s what customers are going to see and care about, not how many kinds of tape you have in your kit.

Whether you keep plenty of stock on-hand or need to make it, you’ll still have decisions to make. Themed markets can be easy. Upcoming holiday? Bring matching items. But you’ll still have some things to consider.

You’ll want to have one or two larger, eye-catching displays. For me, that’s fancy necklaces or necklace sets. But these tend to be expensive and take up lots of space on the table, so don’t bring too many. And while it’s wonderful when they sell, their real purpose is to draw people to your table and get them looking and asking questions. Once they’re looking at your table, chances are they’ll buy one or more of your lower-priced items.

Focus on mid-priced items. I find $20-40 is a good sweet spot, but this may vary depending on what you make. Obviously, don’t under-sell yourself. The majority of my table is somewhere in that mid-range. I find that most customers are coming in to spend their money at a variety of places, so while they may be walking around with $200 in their pockets, they’re not willing to spend it all at one table.

And then I usually have a few items in the $5-10 range, too. If your items are geared towards kids, you may want to have some things that are even cheaper, so kids can use their own pocket money to buy things.

Okay, so you’ve got your price range figured out…but how do you know what to bring in that price range?

If you already sell online, start with popular items from there. But if you make customized items for sale online, bring only ready-made stuff to your table. Have a sign about custom options, but don’t expect a lot of custom orders at your table. Most customers are going to want to buy items they can walk away with right then.

Planning for a theme is always fun. It could be an upcoming holiday, or you could bring products that tie in with the market’s theme. Think of what the customers are going to expect. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Halloween, the holidays, back to school, the seasons. Tailor your offerings and signage to whatever gift-giving event is coming up. You can also just make up your own theme. Have a new product line? Do up a special feature on your table for it.

I also make some items specifically for markets. The hair accessories, namely. They’re too big and bulky for shipping in an envelope, and I don’t have a steady supply of appropriate-sized boxes, so I don’t list them online. New items I usually launch at markets, too, to drum up interest. Like this shiny new thing? Better come to the market to snap it up first.

How much stuff should you bring? Some vendors I know pack their tables with stuff. Personally, I like a little blank space in between displays for balance. That part is up to you, and something you may experiment with over time. And if you want, feel free to draw up a scale chart and plot out your displays. I tend to arrange stuff as I go. I have preferences for certain things (like my tall necklace spinner, that goes off to one side, and the Shaman’s Trinkets bracelets go next to it, since the ST bottle necklaces are on the bottom row) but everything else? It all depends on what I’m feeling at the moment. Maybe it takes longer than coming in with a set plan and just setting things out, but it’s what works for me.

It’s always worth it to bring some extra items. If it looks like things have sold from your table, customers are more inclined to buy. What I do, with my Shaman’s Trinkets bracelets, is I have several on display and sell from that. And then I have extras in a box. I don’t restock the display until I’ve sold several. Customers will often ask me which ones are most popular, but they will sometimes just look at the display and see that, say, Protection has sold the most, so they want a Protection bracelet. I’ve seen the same thing working in retail. Customers will often assume that the item with the lowest available stock is the most popular and therefore worth buying. But you definitely don’t want your table getting so bare that you have nothing.

I hope that gives you some idea of how to plan out your market table.

Read Part One here.
Read Part Three here.


Business Firsts: Online Market Night

Today is a big ol’ mess of emotions.

I’m excited and nervous and tired and rather hungry. All of these combined are making me seem loopy and spacey to anyone who’s not currently inhabiting my head.

Because tonight is a big night. Tonight I am partaking in an online market night on Facebook known as Market Night Spotlight. It’s a wonderful group run by an awesome lady whose fan club I’ve kind of tumbled into. I don’t even recall whose links I followed where, but I wound up in her Dojo. And because she’s awesome, she organizes and runs (with the help of a few other equally awesome people) a monthly themed market for artists and crafters.

This month’s theme is Halloween, so of course, I had to make something.

This is my first foray into this kind of market. And this one is, I think, a good place to start. There are lots of spots that are open to anyone who wants to make something, take a decent photograph of it, and submit it for approval. (I follow another monthly market that features the work of the three organizers and one hand-picked guest artist, too. I’ve thrown my name into the hat, but no dice so far.) And everyone who participates is full of wonderful, positive energy. Also, at the last few markets (that I know of, anyway,) every single item has sold before the weekend runs out.

So my odds are good that I’ll have my first online sale this weekend. Which explains why I’m excited.

Earlier today, I was nervous because the market has a very strict two-hour window to post items, and I’ve been at Where Faeries Live helping finish inventory all day. I dragged my laptop along for the ride, and have spent the day checking the time. (This is also why I’m tired.) But I got it posted! So now I’m nervous because…well…what if my piece doesn’t sell?

What if mine is the only piece that doesn’t sell this whole weekend?

What if I over-priced my piece?

What if my description actually sucks, and that’s why no one wants to buy? (Well, aside from one of the other crafters who, like me, is low on funds. So as much as I’d love to buy at least half a dozen of the things on offer, I just can’t.)

It’s gotten a lot of nice comments, so that means the pictures aren’t totally wretched. I think. I hope. See? This is why my brain can’t be trusted.

Seriously, though. It’s been about two hours since I posted it. I can’t keep thinking this stuff. But I will, because my brain can’t help it.

Ugh. This is awful.